Community Calendar -> Music

Counterpoint Sings Michael Isaacson Oct 11

Thu Oct 11th , 2012 6:45pm-9:00pm
Bethany Church
Venue: Bethany Church
115 Main St, Montpelier, VT 05602 (Map) (Set as Local)
Counterpoint Sings Michael Isaacson Oct 11 Montpelier Vermont

What: Concert of new Jewish choral music by Michael Isaacson, entitled "American Hallel: Sacred and Liturgical Music"

Who: Counterpoint Vocal Ensemble and pianist Diane Huling, directed by Robert De Cormier

Where: Bethany Church, 115 Main St, Montpelier VT 05602

When: October 11, 2012: pre-concert lecture at 6:45pm, concert at 7:30pm

Cost: $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, $5 for students and the financially challenged

Tickets: Available at the door. Reservations at 802-540-1784.


Four decades after teaching Michael Isaacson about music, Vermont's famed Robert De Cormier will be in Montpelier to conduct the New England premieres of several major choral works by Isaacson, who is known nationwide in the field of Jewish music.

"It is a rare celebration when a revered teacher and his devoted student can collaborate after forty years and join as old friends and colleagues in music making of the highest quality," said Isaacson. "At the Eastman School of Music, I was a teaching assistant to Robert De Cormier, who not only taught me choral conducting but how to be a kinder and more thoughtful music maker."

A Two-Score Relationship

The name Robert De Cormier is well known to Vermonters. Famous as a choral director and arranger, De Cormier has lived and worked in Vermont for years. In the 1970s, while serving as a faculty member at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester NY, he taught a young Jewish composer from New York City named Michael Isaacson. De Cormier returned to his illustrious career touring with the De Cormier Singers and as music director for Peter Paul and Mary. After settling permanently in Vermont, he founded the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus and then the twelve-voice professional vocal ensemble Counterpoint.

Isaacson settled in Los Angeles, successfully composed music for scores of films and television programs, and has been heralded as one of the most significant contemporary composers of Jewish liturgical music. Even as Isaacson's career soared to new heights, he stayed in touch with his former professor.

The concert marks the first time that De Cormier and Isaacson are collaborating since those classes in Rochester. Under De Cormier's direction, Counterpoint will present a concert of Isaacson's sacred and liturgical music at Bethany Church in Montpelier.

Musical Premieres

The program, for which Cabot-based pianist Diane Huling will join De Cormier and Counterpoint, includes three major new works by Isaacson: "Kohelet," a contemplative English-language setting of verses from the Book of Ecclesiastes, "The Seven Deadly Sins," a vibrant cantata on verses by New York poet Nicholas Gordon, and "American Hallel" for narrator, chorus, and piano, which interprets the traditional Psalms of Praise used in Jewish worship as a series of joyous dance songs and ballads in both Hebrew and English. None of these works has been heard before in the Northeast.

The concert, one night only, begins at 7:30pm on Oct. 11, 2012. Isaacson will answer questions in a free, pre-concert lecture on the music at 6:45pm. Tickets will be available at the door at $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $5 for students and those how are financially challenged. More information can be found at the Counterpoint website, or by calling (802) 540-1784.

"Please join Robert and myself as we reunite in Montpelier to renew our mutual admiration and present the outstanding choral ensemble Counterpoint in a wonderfully interesting program of my music," said Isaacson.

Founded by Robert De Cormier in 2000, Counterpoint ( is a nationally recognized, Vermont-based, professional vocal ensemble dedicated to performing choral chamber music and engaging with student musicians to enhance the cultural life of communities in Vermont and beyond.

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