Where should I take my music-major girlfriend for her birthday this year?
January 30, 2006 7:23 PM   Subscribe

My girlfriend's birthday is coming up. She's into choral music. I'd like to take her on a trip or special experience somewhere.

My girlfriend is an early-twenties vocal performance graduate with an interest in choral and solo vocal performance. She's done several performances at large concert halls, and while not well known, she's really quite good. I'd like to take her somewhere in the US or Europe as a surprise for her birthday, except i'm having a lot of trouble planning out this kind of trip. So I ask you, askmefi reader: How can I drop-dead impress my girl? Her birthday is right around Valentine's.
posted by arimathea to Human Relations (13 answers total)
MusicCelebrations.com lists several choral music festivals taking place across the world (including the Mozart Youth Choral Festival and the Mozart Choral Festival which will be held in Salzburg and Vienna from June 20-26 and June 27-July 3, respectively.)
posted by Felicity Rilke at 7:57 PM on January 30, 2006

I don't know how spectacular she'd find the rest of the city, but going to Salt Lake and hearing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearse was pretty fun (I'm not Mormom, FWIW). I had the opportunity to see then a couple of years ago when I was with a music group that was playing in Salt Lake. Check to see that they do open rehearsals, of course.
posted by rossination at 8:00 PM on January 30, 2006

The Belle'Arte Singers and Jing Ting-Lam will be performing in Ontario on February 18. She's a famous choral conductor. The Bach Choir at Westminster Cathedral on February 15.
posted by fionab at 8:08 PM on January 30, 2006

The Voices of Light at the World Financial Center in NYC looks amazing and has rave reviews from all over the world. At least read the description to see if it's something she'd be into - multidisciplinary and looks gorgeous, but it's not 'traditional' in some senses.
posted by fionab at 8:20 PM on January 30, 2006

Sorry, I forgot this link for the Voices of Light for background info. Looks cool to me.
posted by fionab at 8:21 PM on January 30, 2006

I see you live in Atlanta, which is the home of the wonderful ASO Chorus. Support the home team: Get tickets for their next concert with the Atlanta Symphony, on March 2/3/4, of Verdi's "Requiem."

Perhaps you'd like to sweeten the deal, and spring for a trip with your music? Catch them at Carnegie Hall, doing the Requiem on March 11. Or — a bit later, but no less enticing — how about a recital by the Chamber Chorus (and ASO) playing music by Golijov at the Ojai Festival in June?
posted by rob511 at 8:27 PM on January 30, 2006

Hey! I sang Voices of Light a couple years ago. I'll second that rec. It's a beautiful, chilling score if you're into the lush post-Minimalism thing. I didn't get to see the film, though, which I gather is pretty intense, so maybe check it out first and see if it would match both your tastes.
posted by zadermatermorts at 8:29 PM on January 30, 2006

Oh, you can also listen to clips on Amazon from the Voices of Light oratorio.
posted by zadermatermorts at 8:33 PM on January 30, 2006

Come to Cleveland. Listen to the "most beautiful music on the planet" in this gorgeous church. March 19. Seriously, that church is beautiful. I promise not to butt into your special night but I'll be the one sneaking pictures of the church.
With musical roots dating back to the ancient Thracians, the Bulgarian women's chorus continues to create a vocal music that is unlike any other. Combining elements of Byzantine liturgy, laments, and folk music sumptuously sung in six-part harmony by pure, vibrato-free voices, the 20-voice Grammy Award-winning choir is in demand the world over. Perfectly matched to the acoustics of St. Stanislaus, this concert is destined to be one of the year's musical highlights.
March 19th. As an extra bonus, you won't have to spend a precious askme question scouting restaurants. My extensive knowledge of Cleveland's dining scene is at your disposal.
posted by stuart_s at 9:00 PM on January 30, 2006

I don't know how spectacular she'd find the rest of the city, but going to Salt Lake and hearing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearse was pretty fun (I'm not Mormom, FWIW).

If you do this, you may want to consider also catching a performance of the BYU Concert Choir or BYU Singers. Absolutely first rate (IMHO, better than the MoTab).

Too bad the ACDA apparently only has national conventions in odd years. They're usually right around your target time, and I'm given to understand the performances associated with them are phenomenal. There are regional conventions (and in fact, the Western Conference is in SLC the first weekend in March, and the MidWest and East conferences are in Chicago and New York respectively Feb 15-18), but I'm not sure of their relative quality as events.
posted by weston at 10:42 PM on January 30, 2006

Are you planning to do the trip for her birthday, or just have it organised by then?

As far as Europe is concerned, Vienna would be my first choice normally. (The Mozart 250 celebrations make me hesitate somewhat as I guess prices and availability will be affected.) Make sure you go to mass on Sunday sung by the Vienna Boys' Choir and walk the Musical Mile (and use the Opera Toilet!).

Alternatively come to the UK. For song recitals, have a look at the Wigmore Hall. The Jette Parker Young Artists at the Royal Opera House give free lunchtime recitals. Chamber choirs of note in the UK include the BBC Singers and The Sixteen. Go to evensong at an Oxford or Cambridge college chapel, in particular Kings or Clare.

What about opera? (I know all the cool kids favour oratorio, but still.) A summer trip to the Italian lakes with a couple of performances at the arena in Verona would be fantastic.
posted by boudicca at 9:49 AM on January 31, 2006

Vienna is one of those "must visit" spots for musicians. Particularly find out about the graveyards to visit.
posted by jxpx777 at 1:12 PM on January 31, 2006

In reading whether you want to take the trip or just have it planned, you might check out the Sitka music festival that takes place in June. Sitka is in southeast Alaska on an island. This early, you could probably get lodging at the Rockwell Lighthouse.
posted by jxpx777 at 1:15 PM on January 31, 2006

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