Schola Cantorum de Venezuela to Perform Friday, October 28

The original schola cantorum (Latin for “singing school” or “choir”) was established centuries ago by Pope Gregory I to perform sacred music in the churches of medieval Rome. Today, the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela both honors and builds upon the legacy of its European predecessor, boasting a vast repertoire that includes religious music, classics by Baroque and Renaissance masters, traditional Latin American works, and contemporary masterpieces. The group’s versatility and distinctive style—characterized by rich timbres, high energy, and rhythmic complexity, and praised by Time Out New York as producing “sounds of delirious beauty”—have rightly earned the Schola Cantorum, de Venezuela the reputation of being Latin America’s finest touring choral ensemble.Founded in 1967 by Venezuelan composer and conductor Alberto Grau, the Schola Cantorum is credited with contributing to the growing choral movement in Venezuelan music. In particular, the choir is celebrated for its virtuosic performance of polyphonic music (music featuring counterpoint, or two competing but complementary lines of melody) and in 1974 was awarded first prize for polyphony at the prestigious Guido d'Arezzo Foundation’s International Polyphonic Competition in Corso, Italy. The Schola Cantorum de Venezuela has now grown into a global phenomenon led by award-winning chief conductor María Guinand, with multiple international tours, over two dozen recorded albums, and several world premieres under its belt. In fact, Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov wrote his La Pasión según San Marcos (The St. Mark Passion! ) specifically for the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela, who premiered this highly acclaimed masterwork at the 2000 European Music Festival in Stuttgart, Germany, and whose recording of the piece later earned them a Grammy nomination for best choral performance and a Latin Grammy nomination for best classical album. Known for putting on shows that are both musically stunning and rousingly fun—and often involving a degree of audience participation—the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela exudes an originality and exuberance that make its upcoming Cleveland performance an event not to be missed. The world-renowned choir will take the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gartner Auditorium stage on the evening of Friday, October 28, as part of the museum’s VIVA! & Gala Performing Arts series. Tickets are available through the museum website. -- Caroline Smith

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