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More Than 120 Singers and 25 Dancers Will Perform in Carl Orff's Choral Masterpiece Carmina Burana at Queens College Dec. 19

-- Annual Winter Concert Will be a “Total Theater” Experience --

FLUSHING, NY, December 7, 2009—The Queens College Choral Society and the college’s Department of Drama, Theater and Dance will present Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana at the society’s 69th annual winter concert on Saturday, December 19, at 8 pm in Colden Auditorium. In keeping with the composer’s concept of the work as “total theater” combining music with movement and stage action, the production will feature choreography by QC Drama, Theater and Dance professor Yin Mei Critchell, an internationally renowned artist. Twenty-five dancers from her Asian performing arts class will take to the stage as a chorus of more than 120 voices sings the entire cycle from Orff’s powerful score.

Carmina Burana is Orff’s best-known composition and one of the most famous works for chorus and orchestra. It is regularly performed throughout the world, and excerpts are frequently heard in films, television, and advertisements. Orff based the work on poetry from a 13th-century manuscript, the Burana Codex, which traces fate’s impact on the rise and fall of human fortune. Attributed to itinerant clergymen and seminary students, the poems describe courtly love, lust, the joys of drinking, and the thrills of spring, while satirizing both vice and authority. Orff’s settings use primal rhythms, intense solos, and dramatic contrasts to paint vivid pictures. 

Yin Mei’s choreography has been hailed by critics as “theatrical magic” (New York Times) and as inhabiting “the tremulous space where dreams and memory reside” (Village Voice). She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography (2005) and was a Choreography Fellow of the New York Foundation for the Arts (2004).

The work will be presented in its chamber version for two pianos and percussion, featuring percussionists from Queens College’s Aaron Copland School of Music and pianists Max Midroit and Cathy Callis, both members of the college’s adjunct faculty. Soprano Sharon Cheng, tenor Gilad Paz, and baritone Robert Weintraub will perform the vocal solos. Cheng and Paz are currently students in the Aaron Copland School of Music; Weintraub is an accomplished young professional singer from the New York area. James A. John, associate professor and music director of the QCCS, will conduct.  Founded in 1941, the QCCS is "a singing organization of and for the public, and the students and staff of Queens College." The Society typically performs two concerts per year with orchestra (in December and May) devoted to the great masterpieces of choral literature such as Verdi’s Requiem, Bach’s Magnificat, and Handel’s Messiah. The QCCS has also performed multiple premieres of new works, including pieces composed by Queens College Music Department faculty members.
Tickets are $20 and $18, and are available through the Kupferberg Center Box office at (718) 793-8080 or online at Group discounts for high school students and teachers are also available. To take advantage of this offer, visit  For directions to Queens College, visit



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