James Bennett II is a staff writer for WQXR.
Watch this Unique 360 Video of Dessoff Choirs
Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 10:45 AM
New York City’s near century-old Dessoff Choirs recently stopped by for an in-studio performance, captured in 360-degree video. In perfect step with their mission “to present music that would not otherwise be heard in the ordinary course of musical events,” the ensemble performed French composer Lili Boulanger’s “Hymne au Soleil.”
The Dessoff Choirs was officially formed in 1930. It was a result of the union of two choirs (hence the plural “choirs”) under the direction of Margarete Dessoff. Today, “choirs” refers to Dessoff Symphonic Choir and Dessoff Chamber Choir. As noted above, the Dessoff Choirs have, since their inception, been dedicated to sharing great — but often underperformed — music.
Lili Boulanger was a creative genius born into a colorful and musical family. The Boulanger household counted Gabriel Fauré among family friends, and it was he who realized that two-year-old Lili had perfect pitch. Lili began to learn organ and music theory, and was proficient in piano, violin, cello and voice. When she was just 19 years old she became the first woman to win the Prix de Rome, with her composition Faust et Hélène.