Duruflé in Paris Choral Festival
May 6-8, 2018
Festival Chorus, Orchestre de l’académie de l’ile Saint-Louis,
Mitchell Covington, Artistic Director; Laurel Covington, Assistant Director
ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
On May 6, 2018, 80 select singers from around the US, Canada and Taiwan met in Paris to rehearse and perform Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem, Op. 9 and Quatre Motets, Op. 10 with a local orchestra and organist, Thomas Kientz.
Rehearsals were held in Duruflé's church, St. Etienne-du-Mont in Paris. The festival included 3 public performances with a combined audience of over 2,200 attending in Chartres Cathedral, Norte-Dame and in Durufle’s own church, St. Etienne.
The singers were selected from over 100 applicants who went through an online audition process. Each musician prepared the music on their own and arrived in Paris with a good command of their part.
Our first performance was a Sunday morning Mass participation at Norte-Dame Cathedral where the chorus sang two of the Op. 10 motets along with two movements of Hassler’s Missa Secunda and the Sanctus from Gabriel Fauré’s Messe basse.
The first performance of the Requiem with orchestra and the Quatre Motets took place at Chartres Cathedral, about a 90-minute bus ride northwest of Paris. Chartres is an inspiring architectural marvel which is widely considered to be the most beautiful example of medieval cathedral design.
Our culminating event was a second performance of the Requiem back in Paris in Durufle’s church, with the orchestra and Mr. Kientz playing Durufle’s organ. This was an emotional experience for musicians and audience alike. Durufle’s nephew, Jean-Martin, attended the concert along with his wife, Katja and Jean-Martin's mother, Ingrid. They stayed to congratulate the choir after the performance and expressed their profound happiness that Duruflé's music is still being performed in the US and elsewhere.
Mitchell Covington is a conductor, composer and teacher who lives in Northern California, near San Francisco.
Mitchell received his Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting at the University of Southern California, where he studied choral conducting with Rodney Eichenberger, orchestral conducting with Hans Beer and graduated with honors.
Mr. Covington's choirs have performed throughout Europe. He is the founding director of VOCI Women's Vocal Ensemble (Berkeley, CA), former director of the Bay Choral Guild (Palo Alto, CA) and led a 9-choir music program at the First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley for over 20 years.
Mitchell is an adjunct professor at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He frequently serves as a choral clinician and as an adjudicator at choir festivals and competitions. He serves on the Board of the American Choral Director's Association (Western Division) representing church and community choirs.