educating, uniting, enriching, and inspiring through choral music
It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of Minnesota Chorale's fourth Artistic Director, Joel Revzen, who died Monday, May 25, as a result of secondary complications due to COVID-19.
Joel was hired as conductor of the Minnesota Chorale in 1983 and led the organization to new levels of prestige and professionalism through 1994. During his eleven years, the Chorale served as the official chorus of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra recording Haydn's Creation (1988) and The Seasons(1991) under Joel's baton, and Charles Wuorinen's Genesis with the Minnesota Orchestra under conductor Edo De Waart (1989). The Chorale also performed at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, Aspen Music Festival, and with the National Symphony Orchestra in Mexico City. After leaving the Chorale, Joel continued his illustrious national and international career with guest conducting of major orchestras around the world, tenures with the Arizona Opera and Berkshire Opera, service on the conducting staff of the Metropolitan Opera and his Met conducting debut in 2017, and recent appointments as artistic director/principal conductor of Classical Tahoe and as music director of the Mayshad Music Festival in Morocco. http://joelrevzen.com/biography/
Joel was an extraordinary musician and charismatic leader. His rehearsals were demanding, fast paced, and highly detailed leading to passionate and dramatic performances of choral masterworks with both the SPCO and the Minnesota Orchestra. During my four years as the Chorale's assistant conductor, he served as an important teacher and mentor, encouraging and challenging me to see beyond the page and connect more deeply with the true essence of the music. I am deeply grateful for this time with Joel, which so significantly shaped my career as a conductor and educator.
This week, we honor Joel's memory with a musical tribute, which features one of his favorite Mozart songs, Abendempfindung an Laura, K. 523 from a recording with his close friend, soprano Arleen Auger, accompanied by Joel at the piano. We encourage those who have a special reflection or memory of Joel to add this to our Tribute Page. Cynthia also requested on the CaringBridge site that "any gifts you would like to make should go to the Arts or to the so many suffering people in this country. It is what he would want."
We are deeply indebted to Joel for his incredible work both with the Minnesota Chorale and the greater Twin Cities arts community. Together, we join his wife Cynthia, his family, friends, and the countless musicians who loved and worked with Joel, to mourn his passing and express our deepest appreciation for all he shared with us.