The Pro Arte Singers, the premiere chamber ensemble of the IU School of Music, will perform Wednesday evening with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, under the leadership of the choir's conductor Paul Hillier.\nThe concert is part of the Basically Baroque Series, sponsored by Barnes and Thornburg, and will be performed in Indianapolis at the Hilbert Circle Theatre.\nThis is the first collaboration of the Pro Arte Singers and the ISO. They will combine their talents along with four IU soloists -- graduate students in voice Jolaine Kerley, Andrew Hendricks, Kevin Skelton and Seth Keeton, and the ISO's Concert Master Hidetaro Suzuki and principal oboist Roger Roe.\n"This is really a new opportunity," Tim Northcutt, media relations director for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, said. "It not only gives us an opportunity to present a wider range of music, it gives our musicians an opportunity to grow artistically."\nThe ISO is currently searching for a new music director after Raymond Leppard, the music director for the last decade, has stepped down. Northcutt said the search for a new music director gives the orchestra a unique chance to play some music they would not usually have an opportunity to play, both with many of the world's up and coming conductors and some of the world's foremost musical interpreters such as Hillier.\nThe concert will include a chamber work by Stravinsky from the modern period: Concerto in E-flat Major, "Dumbarton Oaks." Two cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach (Nos. 131 and 140) and his Motet, "Jesu meine Freunde," BWV 227, will also be performed. Both cantatas are from Bach's religious music repertoire.\nBach wrote over 300 cantatas (works for one or more voices and instruments composed of duets, solos, recitatives and choruses) -- only one of which was published during his lifetime and only 190 of those remain today.\nAt times composing one cantata per week, Bach had liturgical music for every major holiday on the Christian calendar, as well as weekly mass music. He also wrote secular cantatas. Much of Bach's liturgical work was never meant for the concert stage but for congregational uplifting, Robert L. Marshall said in his work, "On Bach's Universality."\n"I just think that there's something in the music of Bach -- it doesn't always grab the audience, it's more subtle, that I think many people appreciate, both intelligent audiences and performers," Skelton, who will sing tenor solos in the cantatas, said. "It's like you can keep working on the same piece of music for a long period of time, but it will never become boring because there is always something new that can be found."\nThe other two works on the program will feature either the voice alone or the instruments alone. Bach's motet, for choir only, was written in 1723, possibly for the memorial service of Johanna Meria Kees. Stravinsky wrote his concerto for 16 wind instruments in 1938, during his neo-classic period.\nJan Harrington, the chair of the choral department in the IU School of Music, said the Pro Arte Singers were founded in the 1970s to sing early music. Thomas Binkley, the first director of the Early Music Institute, developed the group.\nThis concert will be Hillier's first conducting experience with the ISO. Hillier, originally from England, has earned international acclaim as a scholar, performer and conductor of early music and also founded the Hilliard Ensemble. He has headed the IU School of Music Early Music program since 1996.\n"[Hillier] just has a clear understanding of the music -- he knows it off the top of his head," Kerley, who is singing the soprano solos and duets, said. "We are always having to listen to every other part. There's always something interesting happening in every voice. I just love to sing it. The voice sings Bach so well"
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