Geoffrey Boers, director of Choral Activites at the UW and conductor of the Tacoma Symphony Chorus, is lead organizer of a collaboration by several regional arts education and performance organizations this March presenting “Passion, Compassion, Empassion,” a celebration of the enduring influence of J.S. Bach’s Passions on modern-day scholars, performers, and composers. The celebration, running March 8 through 23, features lectures, public forums, and performances of three modern passions by Tacoma Symphony and Chorus, Pacific Lutheran University’s Department of Music, and the UW School of Music.
“Scheduled performances of two modern passions by Tacoma-area music groups led to the creation of a project designed to highlight these rare performances,” Boers says, “as well as give the audience an insight into the historical passions of J.S. Bach and the current popularity of the passion as an artistic work and expression of social justice.”
Central performances include a March 20 concert by the Tacoma Symphony and Chorus of Tan Dun’s Water Passion after St. Matthew; a March 23 concert by Pacific Lutheran University’s Choral Union and Choir of the West and the PLU Symphony Orchestra of Sven-David Sandström’s new St. Matthew Passion; and a March 13 performance of Arvo Pärt’s groundbreaking St. John Passion by the UW Chamber Singers.
In a second, earlier performance, the Chamber Singers, under Boers’ direction, debut their program at 7:30 pm March 9 at the UW’s Meany Theater in a joint concert with the UW Chorale, Giselle Wyers, conductor.