Young Peoples Chorus of New York City Introduces Vocal Currents New Music Series with Inaugural Concert at Merkin Concert Hall, Saturday, November 3rd at 8:00pm

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Young Peoples Chorus of New York City Introduces Vocal Currents, New Music Series with Inaugural Concert at Merkin Concert Hall, Saturday, November 3rd at 8:00pm

Hosted by WNYC’s John Schaefer, program features eight YPC commissions, including five world premieres, by Douglas J. Cuomo, Michael Gordon, Yuka Honda, Arturo O’Farrill, Francisco J. Núñez, Robert Xavier Rodriguez, Tim Sharp, and Nils Vigeland; and a New York premiere by Eve Beglarian

NEW YORK, NEW YORK (September 24, 2018) — Over its 30-year history, the Young People’s Chorus of New York City (YPC) has been at the forefront of commissioning today’s leading composers to explore the distinctive quality of children’s voices, and it continues this mission with the latest YPC concert and commissioning series, Vocal Currents: Music in our Changing World. The series’ inaugural concert, featuring YPC commissions and world premieres, takes place at Merkin Concert Hall on Saturday, November 3 at 8:00 p.m. and is hosted by radio personality John Schaefer, host of WNYC’s Soundcheck. YPC’s Vocal Currents series challenges composers to express in music for young people the currents of thought and feeling that animate our lives today, while challenging YPC choristers with new and innovative works that reflect the world they live in. YPC will also share these works, as well as future Vocal Currents commissions, with children’s choirs in communities and schools around the world, so that all can benefit from these important additions to the repertoire.

Tickets priced at $25 (students: $15) are on sale now at

“At YPC, we’ve always recognized the unique power of young people to join together as voices for our time, and to do so in a vibrant and electric way,” said YPC Founder and Artistic Director Francisco J. Núñez, who conducts the November 3 performance. “With Vocal Currents, we continue to bring our choristers together with talented composers who can realize their potential, through commissions sparked and energized by the sounds that surround us and ideas that inspire us today.”

The program comprises the following works:

  • Eve Beglarian: I am really a very simple person (New York premiere choral version), which was inspired by something the visual artist H. C. Porter said to the composer soon after they met; the piece uses solfège syllables as its lyrics, evoking the sound of shape-note singing
  • Douglas J. Cuomo: What You Can Do for the World (world premiere), a light-hearted, but meaningful, dialogue between two sections of the chorus, who are sometimes in agreement, sometimes slightly at odds
  • Michael Gordon: Tap Water (world premiere), a tribute to New York City’s tap water, widely considered “the champagne of drinking water.”
  • Yuka Honda: Every Time, Every Tide (world premiere), which draws its inspiration from Kojiki, the oldest existing chronicle in Japan, an 8th-century collection of myths concerning the origin of the Japanese archipelago and the Kami (diety, spirits)
  • Francisco J. Núñez: Liminality, a meditation on time, transcendence, and temporality, fusing various philosophical and religious ideas
  • Arturo O’Farrill: Borderless, which according to the composer “ was inspired by the idea that citizenship is not a national reality … our home is the earth and we are one people”; the piece features words from Eric Gamalinda’s poem “Dreamers” and vocal sounds based on the research of Luisa Muhr
  • Robert Xavier Rodriguez: Menasherie (world premiere), a set of nine musical settings of humorous poems about animals by the American poet Ogden Nash (1902-71), sung by SSA chorus and piano solo
  • Tim Sharp: I Don’t Need No Man (world premiere), a work for chorus and banjo that highlights the theme of social justice through an anonymous text once adapted by folk musician and activist Woody Guthrie; the banjo is played the composer, who grew up in Appalachia and now lives in Oklahoma
  • Nils Vigeland: No One is an Island, a gender-inclusive setting of John Donne’s famous poem

Vocal Currents builds upon YPC’s groundbreaking Transient Glory and Radio Radiance commissioning series, which both sought to grow the repertoire for youth choruses and generate awareness among composers of the child’s voice as a significant instrument for making music. In total, YPC has commissioned and premiered over 100 new works by such composers as Mark Adamo, Samuel Adler, Mason Bates, John Corigliano, David Del Tredici, Stephen Mackey, Missy Mazzoli, Meredith Monk, Michael Nyman, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Ned Rorem, Bright Sheng, John Tavener, Joan Tower, Rufus Wainwright, and Charles Wuorinen, among many others.

Additional premieres and commissions by YPC this season include works by composers Jessie Montgomery, Paola Prestini, and Julia Wolfe.

Major support for Vocal Currents: Music in our Changing World is provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation. Special thanks to The ASCAP Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, and Amphion Foundation for supporting new music commissions and performances, and the Witherspoon Fund of the New York Community Trust for supporting new work by female composers.

We would like to acknowledge major organizational support for the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, Inc. (YPC) from the following corporations and foundations: Aston Martin; Booth Ferris Foundation; The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation; Baisley Powell Elebash Fund; Charles A. Frueauff  Foundation; Goldman Sachs Gives; The Green Fund; Jaye Penny Gould Foundation; Korin Japanese Trading Company; Mastercard; The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation; DJ McManus Foundation; Millennium Partners; Nir Braufman Foundation; Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund and Charlotte Daniels Harris Memorial Fund of The New York Community Trust; Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula; Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation; The Pinkerton Foundation; PwC; PVH Corp.; Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund; and Beatrice Snyder Foundation.

YPC’s programs are made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and City Council Members Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Margaret S. Chin, Robert Holden, Helen Rosenthal and Eric Ulrich; the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development’s Council Discretionary Fund, and New York City Council Members Barry Grodenchik, Corey Johnson, Ben Kallos, Bill Perkins, Keith Powers, and Ydanis Rodriguez; the New York City Department of Education; the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Young People’s Chorus of New York City is a world-renowned youth chorus founded in 1988 on a mission of diversity, artistic excellence, and education by Artistic Director Francisco J. Núñez, a MacArthur Fellow and Musical America’s 2018 Educator of the Year. Under the leadership of Mr. Núñez and Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Núñez, the program harnesses the power of music to fulfill the potential of children, heightening an awareness of the ability of children to rise to unforeseen levels of artistry. Nearly 2,000 children from ages 8 to 18 participate annually in YPC through its after-school, in-school, and community programs. YPC is a recipient of the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, America’s highest honor for youth programs. 

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Saturday, November 3 at 8:00 p.m.
Merkin Concert Hall, Kaufman Music Center, New York

Young People’s Chorus of New York City
Francisco J. Núñez, Founder and Artistic Director
Elizabeth Núñez, Associate Artistic Director

Emma Hathaway, violin
Jon Holden, piano
Tim Sharp, banjo

John Schaefer, host


EVE BEGLARIAN  I am really a very simple person (New York premiere choral version)
DOUGLAS J. CUOMO  What You Can Do for the World (world premiere)*
MICHAEL GORDON  Tap Water (world premiere)*
YUKA HONDA  Every Time, Every Tide (world premiere)*
ROBERT XAVIER RODRIGUEZ  Menasherie (world premiere)*
TIM SHARP  I Don’t Need No Man (world premiere)*
NILS VIGELAND  No One is an Island*

*YPC commission

Tickets priced at $25 (students: $15) will be on sale shortly from

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