To recognise the forthcoming anniversaries of Shakespeare’s birth and death, in 2014 and 2016 respectively, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is launching a new three-year project Singing Shakespeare, encouraging participants to perform new and existing musical settings of Shakespeare.
Marion Morgan, events officer for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust says: ‘With Singing Shakespeare, we hope to encourage singers of all abilities, from anywhere and of any age to sing settings of Shakespeare, old and new.
‘The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is passionate about engaging with people and sharing the legacy of our greatest poet. Building relationships between the Trust and choirs (and also helping to nurture relationships between singers across the globe) through music is a wonderfully accessible way of fulfilling our commitment, highlighting Shakespeare’s works and maybe introducing them to new audiences.’
Pianist and composer David Wordsworth has been appointed artistic director of Singing Shakespeare. Wordsworth says of the project: ‘The two great loves of my life have always been words and choral music, so to bring these two passions together to celebrate perhaps the greatest of all writers seemed too good a chance to miss, and I am enormously grateful to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust for supporting this project from the very beginning.’
The project will officially launch with a concert on 24 April at Holy Trinity (pictured), Stratford-upon-Avon, the church in which the Bard was both baptised and buried. There will be performances of a collection of Shakespeare settings from the Stratford-upon-Avon Chamber Choir, Holy Trinity Church Choir and chamber choir Cantare. The concert will feature the world premieres of a new work by a composer Gary Carpenter and a new arrangement of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Fear No More’ (Cymbeline Act 4 Scene 2).