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PMC offers “Listen, then Pay” in Oct. 12 Britten tribute

Britten concert received funding through YSM's alumniVentures program
September 12, 2013

By Timothy Rutt

BrittenThe Pasadena Master Chorale will perform “A Portrait of Benjamin Britten” at the Altadena Community Church on Oct. 12, with a novel concept: “Listen first, then pay.”

Get your ticket online or from a chorale member for zero —  yes, zero — dollars.

“Yes, you can actually ‘purchase’ a ticket for zero dollars,” says Artistic Director Jeffrey Bernstein. “Then, after the performance, we will ask audience members to pay what they feel the concert was worth. All of us at PMC are very excited about the idea of giving music to people first and, only then, afterwards asking for payment.”

The gimmick will kick off the chorale’s fifth anniversary season, as well as the 100th birthday of British composer Britten. The program will include such works as Jubilate Deo, three choral dances from Britten’s opera GlorianaHymn to St. CeciliaFestival Te Deum, and Rejoice in the Lamb, among others. Guest artist James Walker will accompany the choir on the church’s newly rebuilt organ.

“Britten is beloved by choirs,” says Bernstein. “He sprang from the rich British choral tradition and wrote beautifully and voluminously for human voices. His music is fresh and modern without sounding harsh or gratuitously dissonant. Plus, it’s a pleasure for us to sing in our native language because the pronunciation and the meaning are so immediate. Our hope, of course, is that the audience share in this joy and immediacy.” 

Thanks to a grant from the Yale University School of Music, the chorale has expanded its educational outreach program and will include as part of the concert two Britten arrangements — The Salley Gardens and Oliver Cromwell — performed by the PMC Choristers.  The choristers are an ensemble of middle school-aged singers representing schools from throughtout the community.  The choristers are also to perform in other concerts in the season, including the holiday concert, newly commissioned work by California composers in March, and selections by Carl Orff when the chorale performs Carmina Burana in May.