Korre Foster, assistant professor of music at APSU, will be conducting three choral performances in Paris from Thursday, July 9 through Saturday, July 11.
The performances have been funded by a grant from the Florence Gould Foundation supporting French-American exchange. The choral pieces will be performed by the Académie’s Chamber Choir, a group of students from various universities, colleges and conservatories all over France.
Colin Harris, a communications specialist for the public relations and marketing department at APSU, said Foster is friends with the head of the group and has conducted with the same choir before.
“Dr. Foster spent a decent bit of time in Paris in his 20s, and also conducted with this same group previously. He has a friendship with the person who runs that organization, and he is the one who asked Korre if he would like to return to France this July,” said Harris.
“I was approached by [Académie conductor] Jean-Philippe Sarcos last summer, and he brought up the idea of this series,” Foster said in a press release. “I was asked if I could put together a sort of chronological approach to sacred American choral music, so I’ve been working to put together a program that covers a number of styles.”
Paris has heard Foster’s conducting before.
Foster lived in Paris during his 20s, where he conducted Le Palais Royal and L’ Académie de Musique alongside Sarcos. The press release stated “while in Paris, he also sang with VOICES Chœur International and studied voice with Glenn Chambers, professor of voice at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et Dance de Paris.”
Foster said the goal of the performances was to portray the diversity of American spiritual music to other cultures who may have not heard it before.
“I really wanted to put together a well-rounded program, while still working under the very specific scope of ‘sacred American choral music,” Foster said.
Foster also said he wanted to break from the traditional and obvious forms of spiritual music.
“It would be easy, when you’re doing spiritual music, to put together a collection of slower songs, but I wanted to make sure that we also included powerful music and music from Judaic and other faiths that make up ‘American spiritual’ music,” said Foster.
The performances include works such as William Billings’s Early American pieces, Paul Christiansen’s Lutheran Traditional music and spiritual music by Stacey Gibbs. Other pieces include “The Conversion of Saul,” by Z. Randall Stroope, and “Alleluiah,” arranged by Ralph Manual.
Also included are pieces from APSU professor Jeffery Woods and Morten Lauridsen, a professor of composition at the University of Southern California.
During the event, Foster will conduct three performances at three locations, two of which are churches. On Thursday, July 9, he will conduct at the Church of Sainte-Elisabeth, on July 10 at Saint-Lambert de Vaugirard and on July 11 Hôpital Jean-Jaurès.
Foster has already left the U.S. to go to France, and will return to the States on Wednesday, July 22.