Ferry me across the water

Phillip Cheah headshot 1

You never know where you may run into someone with a personal tie to Singapore. One of the least expected places must be at a concert of French sacred music. Not in the audience but in the conductor’s hot spot. Currently in his third season as the Music Director of Central City Chorus, Phillip Cheah was born in the United States, but grew up in Singapore.  He has been hailed by the New York Times for the “warm tone and carefully calibrated blend” elicited from his choirs.

Cheah is not only a conductor but also a singer with a unique three-and-a-half octave vocal range. He has sung with major American orchestras, such as the New York Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and under the batons of such music eminences as Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti, and Kurt Masur. You can find out more at his website.

If you are quick, you can catch that voice at a special concert on November 1. Cheah describes the program:

“In celebration of Ned Rorem’s 90th birthday . . . I will be singing an all-Rorem programme . . . Friday evening, November 1, 8:00 pm at the Church of Saint Luke in the Fields (487 Hudson in the West Village). Pieces will include familiar favourites like Early in the morning, Ferry me across the water, Now sleeps the crimson petal, and Look down, fair moon, as well as less well-known but equally beautiful songs like Three Calamus Poems and Visits to St. Elizabeths. The poetry being set is just as ravishing with texts by Whitman, Rossetti, Roethke, O’Hara, and more.”

Tickets are $20 at the door or you may purchase them in advance for $15 here.

To mark the centennial of Benjamin Britten’s birth, the Central City Chorus will be presenting in December a rarely performed early work The Company of Heaven. You can check out the rest of their season here.

About Jee Leong Koh

My book of poems Steep Tea (Carcanet) was named a Best Book of 2015 by UK's Financial Times, and a Finalist by Lambda Literary. I also wrote three other books of poems and a book of zuihitsu. My work has been shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize, and translated into Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian and Latvian. Originally from Singapore, I live in New York City, where I edit the arts blog Singapore Poetry, and run the Second Saturdays Reading Series and the Singapore Literature Festival in NYC.

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