Media Coverage/Reviews

"The group's newest recording reflects the authority with which these top-flight musicians handle whatever score they encounter," a review of Western Wind's Meredith Monk; Eric Salzman CD by Donald Rosenberg for Gramophone (Awards issue, 2014)

"Pomerium displays richly blended artistry at Music Before 1800," a review by Sophia Vastek for the New York Classical Review (10/28/13)

Kristina's May 18, 2011,  "Live and Local" willfm90.9 radio interview with Kevin Kelly about AMASONG's 20th anniversary concerts.
Vocal Area Network (VAN) feature article: "An Interview with Kristina Boerger," posted May 9, 2009.
Alceste - The Collegiate Chorale
for which Dr. Boerger prepared the chorus
During 28 years as music director of the estimable Collegiate Chorale, Robert Bass presented it in notable concert performances of operas with illustrious singers in major roles. The final such project he planned before his death last August, at 55, was a performance of Gluck’s Alceste, which took place in the Rose Theater on Tuesday night. The chorus, which sounded terrific, was joined by the New York City Opera Orchestra, conducted by George Manahan.

...In a way, the opera’s main character is the crowd, the subjects who revere their king and queen and react constantly to the turns in the story. The Collegiate Chorale sounded well prepared and consistently conveyed the sublimely tragic tone Gluck’s beautifully restrained score must have.

by Anthony Tommasini
New York Times

Verdi's  Requiem - The Collegiate Chorale
for which Dr. Boerger prepared the chorus
...There were plenty of spine-tingling moments in a Carnegie Hall performance of the Requiem on Monday by the Collegiate Chorale and the New York City Opera Orchestra, led by the dynamic conductor Daniele Callegari.

The concert was a tribute to Robert Bass, the Chorale’s longtime music director and conductor, who died in August at age 55 from complications of amyloidosis, a rare disease in which abnormal proteins accumulate in the body. Mr. Bass, who took up his position at the Chorale in 1980 at 26, had planned this concert to open the choir’s 67th season.

The Chorale sounded in fine form throughout the evening, the first “Dies irae” sung with shattering power after the mournful “Kyrie eleison.”...

by Vivien Schweitzer
New York Times


Randy Woolf’s review of Jukebox in the Tavern of Love
for New Music Connoisseur

Madrigal comedy by Valeria Vasilevski and Eric Salzman, Commissioned and performed by the Western Wind Vocal Ensemble, The Flea Theater, New York City, May-June 2008

The Western Wind production of Jukebox in the Tavern of Love by Valeria Vasilevski and Eric Salzman at The Flea Theatre in downtown Manhattan, May/June 2008 (Valeria Vasilevski directing) // Eliot Levine (the Rabbi), Richard Slade (the Utility Worker), William Zukof (the Bartender), Kristina Boerger (the Nun), Laura Christian (the Dancer) and Todd Frizzell (the Poet).

* * *

We are in a New York bar during a huge storm and a Con Ed blackout. The bartender, a classic New York type, sets the stage. "We're all in the dark, soaking wet, stranded, strangers in my bar on the worst night of the year. Then, something happened.

...Jukebox in the Tavern of Love is a melding of a modern life confessional scene and the form and manner of a Renaissance madrigal comedy, intricate and reflecting both contemporary sounds and the style's distant origins. 

...The work was commissioned by the Western Wind Vocal Ensemble to go with a 'real' 1605 madrigal comedy (La Barca di Venezia per Padova of Adriano Banchieri) and the two pieces were performed together at the downtown Flea Theater. Each of the six singers in the Western Wind portrays one of the characters, taking turns as soloist while the remaining singers in each piece function as a Greek chorus, creating an emotional backdrop for the individual stories. The first visitor to the bar is the nun who sings the "Dies Irae" -- "Day of Wrath" in honor of the storm -- which turns into a canon with the Italian-American bartender. The others enter one at a time, adding their voices to the mix which adds up to a madrigal of remarkable complexity which somehow never interferes with the simultaneous telling of each character's story. The Broadway dame's tale is next, set as a dance routine to old school Harlem jazz. It loses none of its rhythmic drive as the vocal lines overlap, augment and stretto against each other. When the sextet adds a hocketing handclap accompaniment, the combination suggests that Steve Reich and Cab Calloway have joined forces.

The most touching of the madrigals, "Do You Know What a D.P. Is?" is the rabbi's story of his experience as a displaced person. A Holocaust survivor, he was orphaned at age 3, moved from place to place with no idea of how he would get by without parents, family or home. To the simplest of guitar accompaniments, he sings of a childhood that "had no laughter, that tasted bitter, that had an enemy but not a God."

...The nun then takes her turn, gradually revealing the secret Lesbian inner life of her late aunt. Although the nun never identifies herself as gay, it seems very much implied. She has found letters in a jewel box addressed to her in which the aunt explains how she realized that she was gay from early youth but suffered through the trauma of keeping her feelings secret. Salzman has set this with a tense staccato melody, evoking the repressed inner emotional world of the aunt.

...Next is a paean to lost love, led by the poet. The setting is the closest to its madrigal roots. Each of the singers is given a turn at it, singing over sliding chromatic harmonies that suggest both a barbershop quartet and a Schumann song. This is a showpiece for both Salzman and Vasilevski and a marvel of clarity and contrapuntal reflection.

...The final solo, sun [sic] by the Con Ed worker, begins with a cadenza of melismas, wonderfully performed by Richard Slade. It leads to the finale, based on a philosophical love poem of Rumi, sung as the lights come up again and six strangers depart.

...Jukebox in the Tavern of Love is a brilliant entertainment in both the deepest and lightest sense of the word. It occurs to me that I have barely mentioned the visual elements, the moments of dance, and the thoroughly convincing theatrical direction of Ms Vasilevski. The singers of the Western Wind are fantastic, as convincing as actors as they are as singers. Bravo to all.

-Randy Woolf

Complete review © 2008 Eric Salzman  

...the [New York Early Music] celebration is offering a broad survey of early repertory, with focused explorations by groups that specialize in specific corners of it, as well as broader overviews by generalists like Amuse, a 17-voice choir founded in 2002, and directed by Kristina Boerger.

At its Sunday afternoon concert at the Church of St. Ignatius of Antioch, where it is a resident ensemble, Amuse traced the development of sacred music from the barely adorned piety of medieval English chant to the more florid settings of the German and Italian Baroque.

The program’s central structural elements were three Magnificat settings. The first, a Salisbury chant — an English recasting of Gregorian plainsong — was a picture of simplicity: much of the text is chanted on a single tone, with movement only at the beginning and end of a line. In this arrangement by Alexander Blachly (the director of the group Pomerium), part of the choir provided a drone beneath the chant. It was an ideal way to introduce this choir’s charms, which include a pure, transparent tone and solid ensemble.

The second Magnificat, by John Dunstable, is from the late end of the medieval English repertory, and represents an enormous leap forward: namely, triadic harmony. (The bridge between plainsong and Dunstable was the primitive polyphony of a 12th-century setting of “Stillat in Stellam Radium.”)

A late Renaissance Magnificat would have been in order, but Amuse devoted the Renaissance section of its program to other things: a lovely Agnus Dei by Hans Leo Hassler, a rhythmically complex “Pueri Concinite” by Jacob Handl and a harmonically rich “Duo Seraphim” by Tomás Luis Victoria. So its final Magnificat was an appealingly florid late Baroque version by Nicola Porpora.

Here, and in a handful of short Telemann works, Ms. Boerger and her Amuse singers brought clarity to the music’s comparatively thick textures. But this choir’s real magic is in its delicate balance of serenity and intensity.

by Allan Kozinn
New York Times


Tenebrae - Thomas Tallis
What ravishing music. What lovely voices. How easy it was to sigh with delight over the sonic splendor that filled St. Mark's Church when the Christopher Caines Dance Company presented Mr. Caines's new Tenebrae there on Thursday night.

Mr. Caines set this work to choruses by Thomas Tallis in honor of the 500th birthday of that great English composer of liturgical music. The contrapuntally complex scores swelled through the space with remarkable clarity and luminosity, thanks to the performance by the Tenebrae 2005 Chorus, conducted by Kristina Boerger, which was stationed at the sides of the space and on the steps of the church's altar....

by Jack Anderson
New York Times


* * *

The very bright lighting design for Tenebrae seemed at odds with its title. Adding to the challenge of achieving balance between the music and the visual elements of this interdisciplinary creation was the captivating performance of the 40 singers assembled by Robb Moss for the "Spem in alium." With expert direction by conductor Kristina Boerger, the ensemble delivered crystal-clear and glorious singing...

by Douglas Frank
The Dance Insider

...These two plays ["The Expense of Spirit" and "With What Does the Cockroach Sit?"] ... make us want to question ourselves and make deeper sense of what binds the everyday to the cataclysmic.

These days the more adventuresome singers and choirs are taking up the same challenge. They arrange programs that give us food for thought as well as for love or for faith. They move easily across periods and continents. We start to think about history as we listen. It is a form of aural and emotional time travel.

The choral ensemble Cerddorion ("cerddorion" is Welsh for "music") celebrated its 10th anniversary last month with just this kind of program at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields. Under the fine artistic direction of Kristina Boerger, the 28-member group moved from 16th-century Spain to 21st-century North America with passion and discipline....

by Margo Jefferson
New York Times

To open the Music Before 1800 series at Corpus Christi on Sunday, and as its contribution to the New York Early Music Celebration, the superb vocal ensemble Pomerium offered a program based on the musical ties between Spain and Burgundy during the 15th and 16th centuries.

...Slow-moving and spare in texture, this Mass [Ockeghem's Missa au Travail Suis] nevertheless thrives on its deeply emotional text setting, and it showed the 13-voice Pomerium at its polished and beautifully blended best.... 

by Allan Kozinn
New York Times


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Updated 10.13.14