Welcome to an era of re-emergence, creativity, and re-focus.
2021 was a year of transformation.
Traditional institutions changed course to sail into more diverse waters; the Metropolitan Opera premiered its first opera by a black composer, for example, and Gianandrea Noseda led the National Symphony Orchestra in its premiere performance of Louise Farrenc’s Third Symphony.
Unlikely partnerships bloomed.
The obscure became famous.
Here are five innovative videos from 2021 you may have missed.
1. A Tiny Dream
The artist-led Rochester NY-based ensemble fivebyfive formed in 2015. Musicians used the pandemic to push boundaries and to experiment, releasing a new album in December 2021 and ‘a tiny dream,’ with music by Anthony R. Green, performed by fivebyfive, with animation by Sally Jay Sparrow.
2. A Tiny Choir
Four voices. The funeral for Britain’s Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, was held April 17, 2021 and limited to only 30 guests. Millions of people watching online might have been surprised to see that the choir that filled St George’s Chapel consisted of only four singers, including an obscure Australian chorister named Miriam Allan.
The quartet dazzled in “Jubilate Deo” by Benjamin Britten, a setting of Psalm 100 in the English version from the Book of Common Prayer. Prince Philip planned the music for his own funeral service at Windsor Castle.
3. The Panther & The Rose
Few ensembles have been as nimble and creative as Rochester-based Pegasus Early Music, which reached new audiences and fans with Zoom lectures and video releases throughout 2020-21.
The musicians are Andrew Rader, countertenor; Jonas Budris, tenor; Dongmyung Ahn, vielle; Christa Patton, harp, recorders, bagpipes; Deborah Fox, lute.
4. Singers in the woods
Donald Nally conducted the Philadelphia-based choir The Crossing in three concerts in the summer of 2021. Singers used a new speaker system developed to enable distanced performances. They also partnered with animators to produce some of the funkiest projects of 2021.
“A Native Hill” was composed as a gift for The Crossing with animation by Will Kim with album artwork and dog by Steven Bradshaw. Video produced by Kevin Vondrak.
The conductor said, “I decided that we were going to focus on isolation and make projects about what it felt like to be a part of all of this and particularly to be a singer.”
5. Jesus Christ the Apple Tree
Rochester pianist Levi Gangi created a contemplative interpretation of a Christmas carol by Elizabeth Poston.
Gangi also released a new CD in 2021. He appears regularly at venues such as the Little Theatre cafe.