FLUSHING, NY, November 20, 2012—Premiered in 1895, Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”) has never been heard live in the Borough of Queens. That will change on Saturday, December 8, at 8 pm, when the Queens College Choral Society and Orchestra will join forces with the Queens College Choir—forming a chorus of over 200 singers—to perform the work in Colden Center Auditorium, under the baton of distinguished Guest Conductor Maurice Peress. Written in the glorious tradition of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 is an extraordinarily life-affirming, powerful and popular work, and its local presentation is long overdue.
Maestro Peress has had an illustrious international career. He was selected by Leonard Bernstein to serve as assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic in 1961 and went on to lead symphony orchestras in Corpus Christi, Austin, and Kansas City. After joining the Aaron Copland School of Music faculty in 1989, Peress established a master’s of arts program for conductors. He has appeared with the Vienna State Opera and in London with Jessye Norman and the Barbican Center Orchestra in a tribute to Duke Ellington. Internationally, he has performed in Rome, Melbourne, Shanghai, Korea, and Hong Kong. Maestro Peress has toured China four times and is currently Principal Guest Conductor of the Shenzhen Symphony.
Soloists for the performance are Eleni Calenos, soprano, and Melisa Bonetti, mezzo-soprano, both accomplished alumnae from the Aaron Copland School of Music’s vocal performance program.
Founded in 1941, the Queens College Choral Society is "a singing organization of and for the public, students and staff of Queens College," says its Music Director, James John. Accompanied by orchestra, the Society typically performs two concerts per year—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 premiered many new works, including pieces composed by ACSM’s faculty, and is open to singers of all backgrounds and skill levels, from high school students to adult community members.