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Capitol Hill Chorale to perform in Republic of Georgia; Pre-departure concert set for June 1 and 2 in DC

Capitol Hill ChoraleWith grant support from the US Embassy in Tbilisi, the Capitol Hill Chorale will travel to the Republic of Georgia for a 10-day concert tour in June. PDAA members are invited to the Chorale’s pre-departure concert in DC on June 1 and 2, featuring works that will be performed on the tour: early American music, contemporary pieces by the Chorale’s resident composer, Dr. Kevin Siegfried, Georgian folk songs, and the Georgian Sacred Chants on the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom by Zakaria Paliashvili (1871-1933), the “father of Georgian classical music.”

The Capitol Hill Chorale is a 100-voice, auditioned ensemble with members from throughout the metro area led by Frederick Binkholder, who is on the music faculty at Georgetown University. Under his leadership, and in the presence of the Georgian Ambassador, the Chorale gave the American premiere of Paliashvili’s Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in 2010 on Capitol Hill. The stunningly beautiful work is rarely heard and before the Chorale’s performance, there was no record of it ever being sung publicly since it premiered in Tbilisi in 1909. It represents a musical tradition that was suppressed during the Soviet domination of Georgia for most of the twentieth century. The Chorale created its own performing edition of the work, with advice from Georgian traditional music experts in the U.S. and at the Tbilisi State Conservatory, based on a microfilm version of the original score found in the Lenin Library in Moscow. The Chorale’s American premiere was followed in 2014 by the ensemble making the first-ever recording of the work sung in the Georgian language; the only known earlier recording was done in Church Slavonic.

This concert tour marks a major 2019 public diplomacy project for our embassy in Tbilisi. The Chorale will rehearse and perform with Georgian choirs and traditional music groups in concert halls and cathedrals across the country, with coverage in the Georgian media. PDAA member Katherine Wood is a member of the Chorale.

The DC performances take place on June 1 at 7:30 pm and June 2 at 4 pm at Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church, 4th and Independence Ave. SE. Advance ticket purchases are recommended and are available online at https://capitolhillchorale.org/events/return-to-paliashvili-2019.

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