Frederick A. Binkholder, Artistic Director

Capitol Hill Chorale Heads to Tbilisi and Kutaisi

This June, members of the Chorale will embark on an international music tour to Georgia, under the direction of Artistic Director Frederick Binkholder. This tour offers unique opportunities to build musical partnerships with the artistic community in Georgia. There, the Chorale will share Zakaria Paliashvili’s Georgian Sacred Chants on the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom along with selections from America’s early musical traditions, spirituals, jazz, and modern interpretations of Shaker music.

From June 19-30, members of the Chorale will travel through Georgia and perform several concerts in Tbilisi and Kutaisi, in partnership and with the generous support of the United States Embassy in Georgia. The tour is the first of its kind, showcasing the Chorale’s unique musical repertoire and building on the relationship between the Chorale and Georgia. The Chorale will perform alongside the Georgian State Choir at the Kakhidze Tbilisi Center for Music and Culture, at the Kutaisi Opera House with the Kutaisi Opera Choir, with additional appearances at the Paliashvili House Museum, Samtavisi Cathedral and Gelati Monastery.

The Chorale’s work with Zakaria Paliashvili’s composition dates back to 2009, when Chorale member Thea Austen and Chorale founder Parker Jayne started transliterating the lost musical masterpiece. According to Director Binkholder, “It has been my joy to live with this profound work since July of 2009. Thea Austen, knowing my zeal for the orthodox setting of the Liturgy, gave me a copy of the original published score to consider for performance. I am so grateful that she did. From that moment on, I was transfixed by it and the ‘Paliashvili project’ began.” Since then, the Chorale has performed the work twice and released a professional recording available on CD and through streaming services. “The majesty of the Georgian chant and the beauty of Paliashvili’s score emerge fully for the entire world to hear for the first time, and for that the Capitol Hill Chorale should be thanked,” Vladimir Morosan of Musica Russia wrote of the recording.

The Chorale will perform the work in its home country, as part of a program built on musical diplomacy. In addition to celebrating the masterwork, the Chorale will showcase early American shape note music, spirituals, jazz, and works by its composer-in-residence, Kevin Siegfried, based on the musical traditions of the Shaker community. Siegfried has worked with the Chorale since 2007 and served as composer in residence since 2014.

“Over these past years, the Chorale has premiered and performed more than a dozen compositions of mine,” said Mr. Siegfried. “Many of these new works have subsequently been published following their original premiere, and have entered the repertoires of choirs across the country. I will be forever thankful for the bold and committed voices of the Capitol Hill Chorale that brought them first to life.”

The Chorale is celebrating its 26th anniversary this season. Founded in 1993, it has covered a wide repertoire ever since. Under Binkholder’s direction, music programs have ranged from Eastern Orthodox to featuring jazz ensembles. The Chorale is an independent 501(c)(3) organization with strong ties to Washington’s Capitol Hill neighborhood and its musical community.