Professor, Students Participate in American Cantata

Posted: June 29, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Stanley Engebretson, Music, and members of the George Mason Choruses join a group of 2,000 singers July 1 to perform at the Lincoln Memorial. The 9 p.m. performance, sponsored by the Kennedy Center, features the world premiere of Maury Yeston’s An American Cantata, performed by singers from across the nation, and the National Symphony Orchestra, with conductor Leonard Slatkin.

An American Cantata is a composition for 2,000 voices and orchestra, commissioned by the Kennedy Center for performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as part of the millennium celebration. The three-movement piece celebrates the achievement of the idea of individual liberty and equality, along with our inherent and universal entitlement to it and the sanctity of each human life, as our civilization’s single greatest intellectual accomplishment of the past 1,000 years.

Sung by a mixed chorus, boys choir, and gospel choir, texts include excerpts from the Magna Carta, the writings of Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King Jr., and original lyrics by the composer.

Yeston, the composer/lyricist, moves easily between the worlds of theater and academia, writing hit Broadway shows and holding posts as a respected musicologist at Ivy League universities. In 1997, he was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album and won a second Tony Award for best score for Broadway’s Titanic–A New Musical.

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