John Donald Robb’s Requiem to be Featured in Santa Fe Concert

A newly orchestrated version of John Donald Robb’s Requiem will be featured in a May 23 Santa Fe concert presented by the New Mexico Performing Arts Society (NMPAS). The rarely performed St. Cecilia Mass by Charles Gounod also will be featured on the program. The concert will begin at 7 p.m. in St. Francis Auditorium in the New Mexico Museum of Art.

Both performances will be conducted by Franz Vote, a founding member of the NMPAS who has been called one of the finest conductors of his era. He spent the 1990s as a conductor with the Metropolitan Opera and throughout his career has collaborated with many of the top names in opera. Both compositions will be performed by the New Mexico Bach Society, featuring a professional orchestra, choir and soloists.

Maxine Thevenot, organist and choral director at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Albuquerque, will be playing the nearly 100-year-old McNary pipe organ, which was donated to the museum in the 1930s. She is also a lecturer at the University of New Mexico. Additional featured performers will include Edmund Connolly, Andre Garcia-Nuthmann, Sarah Ihlefeld, Cecilia Leitner, Lina Ramos, Kathlene Ritch, and Tim Willson.

The Requiem was completed in 1985 when Robb, former dean of the UNM College of Fine Arts and a prolific composer, was 93. It was his last major composition and was written, “In Memory of Mother, Father, and Eight Brothers & Sisters”. It originally had been scored for a large orchestra and chorus, but for the Santa Fe concert has been re-scored for a smaller orchestra. Gounod, a French composer, completed the highly acclaimed St. Cecilia Mass in 1854, when he was 36. The piece established him as a noteworthy composer.

The UNM John Donald Robb Musical Trust is contributing partial underwriting to the Santa Fe concert. Support also is coming from friends of the NMPAS and a major donor, Richard Kurman. The Santa Fe Symphony has provided logistical support and equipment.

Ticket prices range from $55-$20 and may be purchased in advance at the Tickets Santa Fe Box Office in Santa Fe's Lensic Performing Arts Center or by calling 505.988.1234. Tickets may also be purchased on the night of the concert at St. Francis Auditorium. Doors will open at 6 p.m.

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