This preview has been provided by St. Stephen’s Concert Series and VOANR.

On April 2, the St. Stephen’s Concert Series will present Voices of a New Renaissance in a dynamic program titled Song and the Bard, celebrating the writings of the great William Shakespeare. The program, ranging from traditional songs referenced by the Bard in his plays to modern settings of his greatest poetry, returns VOANR to its original mission of performing music both old and new. It will include music by Shakespeare’s contemporaries, Thomas Morley and Robert Johnson, by Thomas Arne and Henry Purcell, who kept interest in Shakespeare alive in the 17th and 18th centuries, by later masters including Vaughan Williams and Finzi, as well as composers living today. Featured works will include Vaughan Williams’ lush Serenade to Music – an ode to the power of music with text from The Merchant of Venice, selections from the musical setting of The Tempest which had long been attributed to Purcell but may in fact be by another composer, and Sven-Eric Johanson’s delightful first set of miniatures, Fancies I.

Acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, Voices of a New Renaissance is a consort of 11 professional singers plus instrumental collaborators. Now in its 4th season, all VOANR concerts present a mix of choral, solo, and chamber vocal works. Song and the Bard will include a cappella singing, as well as music with harpsichord and baroque cello, piano, and modern violin.

When: April 2, 2017; concert at 4:00
            preconcert discussion at 3:00

Where: St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
             82 Kimberly Drive, Durham

Tickets: $25 at the door; 18 and under-free

More information:


Voices of a New Renaissance was founded by Dr. Nathan Leaf in 2012 with the goal of bringing choral music of the highest quality to Triangle audiences. The group is composed of the area’s finest choral musicians and instrumental collaborators. After a critically acclaimed debut concert on Durham’s St. Stephen’s Concert Series, the ensemble launches their first full season in 2013-2014.

The group explores the full spectrum of choral music, from Gregorian chant to newly composed works, with an emphasis on music of the Renaissance and Baroque eras. The group’s name celebrates the “new renaissance” of innovation and culture in the Triangle region. Voices of a New Renaissance add their talents to that thriving scene by presenting engaging and inspiring performances, and experimenting with new concert formats and locations to bring new audiences to classical choral music.

About Artistic Director Nathan Leaf

Artistic Director Nathan Leaf is the Director of Choral Activities at North Carolina State University, where he conducts three choirs and teaches voice. He is also the Choir Director at St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Durham and was for several seasons the Chorus Master for North Carolina Opera. A versatile musician, he has garnered critical praise for his work as a conductor and teacher, and he performs as singer with some of the top vocal ensembles in the country. As a guest conductor and clinician, his work with young singers emphasizes thoughtful musicality and healthy vocal production. A tenor, he is a member of the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus, and has also performed with Conspirare-Company of Voices in Austin, Texas, the Tucson Chamber Artists in Arizona, the Carnegie Hall Festival Chorus in New York City, and in the Triangle area with the North Carolina Master Chorale Chamber Choir and the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Durham. Dr. Leaf earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Valparaiso University (Indiana) and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in choral conducting from the Butler School of Music at The University of Texas at Austin. His research on Swedish choral music has earned several publications, including in a feature article in Choral Journal.