Blue Heron Vocal Ensemble in Residence January 2023

Blue Heron group photo

Blue Heron visits the University of Chicago for a residency hosted by the Department of Music this winter. From January 23 through 27, the vocal ensemble presents a series of public performances, events, and open rehearsals, in addition to hosting workshops and interactive presentations with Department of Music performance ensembles and students.

Acclaimed by The Boston Globe as “one of the Boston music community’s indispensables” and hailed by Alex Ross in The New Yorker for the “expressive intensity” of its interpretations, Blue Heron combines a commitment to vivid live performance with the study of original source materials and historical performance practices.

Founded in 1999, Blue Heron is a 21st-century vocal ensemble that mostly sings music composed between 1400 and 1600. The ensemble’s expansive repertoire includes 15th-century English and Franco-Flemish polyphony, Spanish music between 1500 and 1600, and neglected early 16th-century English music. Blue Heron also regularly performs earlier and later music, from a concert version of Guillaume de Machaut’s Remede de Fortune to a collaboration with A Far Cry featuring Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem, Le Cantique des Cantiques for twelve voices by Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur (1952), Devran (2017) by Boston’s Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol, and a new setting of Puer nobis nascitur by Chicago’s Kevin Allen, commissioned by the ensemble in 2020.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to be returning to Chicago to spend a week in residence working with the University’s exceptional faculty and students. The opportunity to participate in classes, coach singers and ensembles, rehearse for several days, and perform two programs is a rare one, and one we relish,” said Scott Metcalfe, Artistic Director of Blue Heron. “The ensemble has the fondest memories of our concert in Rockefeller Chapel in 2015 and we look forward to singing there again. And what could be lovelier than Chicago in January! This Vermonter, at least, will enjoy the cold winter weather and all of us will be grateful for the warm Chicago welcome.”

Blue Heron’s residency week includes several public events. The group hosts a series of open rehearsals in preparation for a performance of Ockeghem’s Requiem with UChicago Presents on Friday, January 27, at 7:30 p.m. The ensemble presents a lecture and recital titled Riches d’amour featuring French and Italian poetry and music from the 14th through 16th centuries at the International House on Thursday, January 26, at 5:30 p.m., followed by a reception with the artists. The public is also invited to attend and observe workshops and master classes with musicians from the Department of Music’s Vocal Studies Program, Early Music Ensemble, and Motet Choir.

In addition to the public events, Blue Heron offers interactive performances and discussions for the Department of Music’s Harmony and Voice Leading courses and the Uniting Voices Hyde Park Children’s Choir.

Continue reading for a list of all public residency events.

Master Class: Blue Heron with the Vocal Studies Program and Motet Choir

January 23 | 4:00PM
Logan Center Penthouse, 901

Open Rehearsal with Blue Heron

January 24 | 1:00PM
Fulton Recital Hall, Goodspeed Hall

Workshop: Blue Heron with the Early Music Ensemble

January 24 | 7:00PM
Fulton Recital Hall, Goodspeed Hall

Open Rehearsal with Blue Heron

January 25 | 1:30PM
Goodspeed Hall, 402

Master Class: Vocal Studies Program with Blue Heron

January 25 | 5:30PM
Fulton Recital Hall, Goodspeed Hall

Open Rehearsal with Blue Heron

January 26 | 10:00AM
Fulton Recital Hall, Goodspeed Hall

Blue Heron — Riches d’amour: French & Italian poetry & music from the 14th through 16th centuries

January 26 | 5:30PM
International House

UChicago Presents: Blue Heron

January 27 | 7:30PM
Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

$30 | $20 under 35 | $10 Students
UChicago Students: request a free ticket (limit 25)