Reviews and Awards
- "The Dessoff Symphonic Choir and the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York contributed gamely to the Prokofiev [Alexander Nevsky]".
James Oestreich, The New York Times, November 3, 2007
- "The Dessoff Choirs sang beautifully" [for Tan
Dun's Water Passion].
Anne Midgette, The New York Times, June 3, 2005
- "The Dessoff Choirs contributed shimmering, translucent timbres to the vocal movements" [of Terry
Riley's Sun Rings].
Daniel Schlosberg, The New York Sun, October
- "Kronos has a much-deserved
reputation for being among the few truly fearless
ensembles, and its ferocity, commitment, and comfort
with new music still make it the gold standard
by which every group devoted to the genre must
measure itself. The Dessoff Choirs —capably
conducted by Aaron Smith —matched the Kronos
in derring-do, taking the work as seriously, finding
the beauty in the simple (but not simplistic) score
[of Terry Riley's Sun
Daniel Felsenfeld, MusicalAmerica.com, October
- "....the performance
[of Prokofiev's Hail
to Stalin] featuring the combined forces of
the Dessoff Choirs and the Russian Chorus of New
York was superb. The high Cs from the sopranos
at the end were overwhelming."
Bill Zakariasen, The Westsider, February, 2003
- "...the onscreen ovations
for Stalin [Prokofiev's
Hail to Stalin] segued into live cheers from
the audience. Surely they were meant for Ashkenazy,
the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and the impressive
, The New York Times February 25, 2003
- "The choral singing [for Handel's
Acis and Galatea] was provided by the Dessoff
Choirs, and they were superb; their music director, Kent
Tritle, has achieved that perfect combination
of steely accuracy with apparent boundless ease
and enthusiasm, and the conductor clearly
relished working with them -- their attack at
'Oh, the pleasure of the plains,' the precise
yet mellifluous blending of the parts in 'Wretched
lovers!' and most of all their tender 'Mourn,
all ye Muses!' provided object lessons
in the singing of English choral music, 'neither
harsh nor grating, but of ample power to chasten
Melanie Eskenazi, Classical
Music on the Web, August, 2002
- "[Handel's L'Allegro,
il Penseroso ed il Moderato was] a
fine blending of music and dance, thanks to
Mark Morris's choreography for his Mark Morris
Dance Group and performances by the Philharmonia
Baroque Orchestra, conducted by Nicholas McGegan,
four vocal soloists and the Dessoff Choirs,
conducted by Kent Tritle ... a sense of joy
was communicated by dancers and singers alike.
Indeed, as the dancers swooped and scampered
about while the chorus sang its final
praise of mirth, it was easy to imagine Handel
smiling down from heaven."
Jack Anderson, The New York Times, August 17,
- "The score [of Handel's Acis
and Galatea as reorchestrated by Mozart]
abounds with joyous choruses for cavorting
nymphs and shepherd sand wondrous music that
conjures murmuring streams and wafting winds...and
a somberly beautiful chorus that warns the
happy couple of fate's decree: 'no joy shall
last'...The Dessoff Choirs (Kent Tritle,director)
sang with full-bodied sound and suppleness."
Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, August
- "The impressive combined
forces of the St. Petersburg Chamber Choir and
the Dessoff Choirs got a bigger workout in The
Bells, Rachmaninoff's settings of four
Edgar Allan Poe poems, as freely adapted into Russian
by Konstantin Balmont. Working with three fine
vocal soloists (the soprano Marina Shaguch, the
tenor Ilya Levinsky and the bass Sergei Koptchak)
Mr. Ashkenazy gave a radiant performance
of a striking work, which Rachmaninoff
considered among his best."
Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, January
- "Schwarz was back on
the Mostly Mozart podium on August 22 at Avery
Fisher Hall for a particularly affecting, dramatic
performance of Mozart's unfinished Requiem,
in Franz Süssmayr's standard edition and completion.
Of the soloists, mezzo Florence Quivar, tenor Michael
Schade and baritone Richard Zeller were strong,
soprano Ute Selbig less so. Kent Tritle's
Dessoff Symphonic Choir went from strength to strength,
then delicately abetted Schwarz's decision to cap
off the Requiem, as he had done in a previous festival,
with Mozart's sublime late motet, Ave Verum Corpus."
Leighton Kerner, Opera News Online, November,
- "Mr. Schwarz's work was
more rewarding after intermission when the Dessoff
Symphonic Choir (Kent Tritle, music director) and
four vocal soloists joined the orchestra for an
affecting performance of Mozart's
Requiem.The palpably involved choristers
raised the energy level of the music making,
while maintaining the serene and poignant overall
mood that Mr. Schwarz was after."
Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, August
Glass [was] the featured composer at this
year's Lincoln Center Festival. The opening work
on the choral/chamber program, 'Knee Play No.
3,' at least in this choral version, is almost
'Philip Glass for beginners,' pared down to the
barest essentials to outline many of Glass' common
techniques (tonal harmony, constantly shifting
meter, repetition of a single progression, blindingly
fast singing using numbers or solfège
syllables as text). It set the mood nicely,
and was expertly executed... The sleeper
hit was Three Songs for Chorus A Cappella,
which is Glass at his most refined. His understanding
of the chorus is excellent, and his technical
facility with tonal music borders on quirky wizardry.
These pieces, written for celebrations of the
450th anniversary of the founding of Quebec,
are an excellent addition to the choral repertoire,
performable by passionate and dedicated amateurs
(such as the Dessoff Choirs). Particularly moving
was 'There are Some Men' with beautiful words
by Leonard Cohen —words that were,sadly,
unavailable in the program book. The
choir handled these pieces adroitly and with
Daniel Felsenfeld, andante.com, July, 2001
Lewin's Light Footfall (1995) for
violin,marimba, and choir is a lovely folklike
setting of 'The Cap and Bells' by W. B. Yeats.
It is cast in the style of a jig. The violin
(fiddle) and marimba spin the tale while the
choir sets the swirling moods and charmed word
painting that was both evocative and effective,and
thankfully avoided the trappings of becoming
a mere crossover stunt. Lewin's music is unfamiliar
to me, and this was a thoroughly satisfying piece.
Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and the
Dessoff Choirs should be commended on their continued
presentations of new and recent American music."
George Boziwick, New Music Conoisseur, Summer
- "The Dessoff Choirs --
both the full 70-member group and the smaller Chamber
Choir --handle these four tonal but challenging
pieces with assurance and luster.
The 22-member orchestra, apparently a pick-up group,
plays like a well-integrated ensemble,and features
some excellent solo playing (particularly trumpeter
Scott McIntosh in the Moravec work and pianist
Steven Ryan in the Convery). Music Director Kent
Tritle and all the singers, instrumentalists, and
composers can be proud of this substantial
review of Dessoff's first
CD, Reflections:Four Contemporary American
Composers Look Back
Joshua Rosenblum, Opera News Online, February,
- "The Brooklyn Philharmonic
performed splendidly under former music director
Dennis Russell Davies, who has premiered all of
Glass's symphonies,including this one [Symphony
No. 5] in Salzburg ... The 80-member Dessoff
Choirs and the 50-member Brooklyn Youth Chorus
were robust and thrilling."
Philip Anson, Musical America.com, October
- "...the 'Coronation'
Mass, which ended the concert, was given
a striking performance. Not least among its charms
was the solidity of the collaboration between
Mr. Spivakov's ensemble and the Dessoff Choirs,
and the thoroughness with which they brought
out the music's grandeur."
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, March 29,
- "Mozart's rapturous Coronation
Mass, the final work on the program, was
given a vibrant performance...The beautifully
prepared Dessoff Choirs performed with
passion, responding completely to Spivakov's
Donald Westwood, Opera News Online, July 2000
- " In order to incorporate
the congregation, so important in these services,
Mr. McCreesh brought in the 100-voice Dessoff Symphonic
Choir to sing hymns [in
the Praetorius Mass], interspersing their full
sound and folklike simplicity...it was
the answer to a listener's prayer."
Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal, December1999
- "The performance [of
the Praetorius Mass]...was both polished
and at times thrilling in a visceral way: at
the end... the audience responded with
the kind of vocal standing ovation more typical
of rock concerts than of early-music performances."
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, December
- "With the fine Dessoff
Choirs and four excellent soloists, Schwarz
led a most impressive performance of the Requiem...
At the end, Schwarz went straight into the heavenly,
serene Ave Verum corpus, a wonderful
conclusion to Mostly Mozart."
Strings Magazine, November/December 1999
- "In this performance
[of the Mozart Requiem],Gerard
Schwarz was helped by the Dessoff Choir, finely
trained singers who intoned their lines
with particular tenderness."
Jerry Ben-Asher, New Jersey Jewish News, September
- "The Dessoff Choirs sang
with a suave, beautifully balanced sound,
particularly in the Lacrymosa... Mr. Schwarz ended
the concert, and the festival, with the serene
'Ave Verum Corpus.'
It was a lovely performance."
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, August 23,
- Winner of the Chorus
America / ASCAP Award
for Adventurous Programming.
- "One of the great
amateur choruses of our time."
Robert Hilferty, New York Today, December 5,
- "Mozart gives
the vocal soloists very little to do...The Dessoff
Choirs were the real show, and they sang with grace
Shirley Fleming, The New York Post, August
- "The Dessoff Choirs produced a
big, glowing sound, with solid and often
vigorous support from the Mostly
Mozart Festival Orchestra. The solo quartet
was as finely blended as the chorus..." Allan
Kozinn, The New York Times,August 26, 1998
- "The Dessoff Choirs,
well-drilled by its music director Kent Tritle,
provided a full and rhythmically precise
sound, with exactly the right balance
for the orchestra and proper focus on the text [of
the Coronation Mass]."
Ken Smith, The Star-Ledger, August 1998
[Songs of Love and War] concert led by Music
Director Kent Tritle was impressive...The Dessoff
Choirs continues a long history of making
excellent music and should be commended
and encouraged in its efforts to present good
new music as well as great old music."
George Boziwick, New Music Connoisseur, September1998
- "Mr. Botstein drew stylish
performances from the orchestra, and the
choir sang with admirable flexibility,
particularly in the changing dynamics of the closing
chorus [of Haydn's Il
Ritorno di Tobia]."
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, November