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IU Jacobs School of Music presents Handel's 'Judas Maccabaeus' in Indianapolis and Bloomington

WHAT: George Frideric Handel's Judas Maccabaeus, HWV 63
WHEN: March 4 (Friday) at 7:30 p.m. in Indianapolis; March 5 (Saturday) at 8 p.m. and March 6 (Sunday) at 4 p.m. in Bloomington
WHERE: St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 6050 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis
Auer Hall, Indiana University Campus, Bloomington
TICKETS: All performances are free, and no tickets are necessary.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 18, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A formidable force of 60 musicians and singers from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music is set to present George Frideric Handel's oratorio Judas Maccabaeus, HWV 63. The ensemble will perform the work three times: on March 4 (Friday) at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Indianapolis, and on March 5 (Saturday) at 8 p.m. and March 6 (Sunday) at 4 p.m. in Bloomington's Auer Hall.

The production is a collaboration between the Jacobs School of Music Early Music Institute and Choral Department and is funded in part by the Georgina Joshi Foundation.

Under the direction of conductor William Jon Gray, chair of the Choral Department; Paul Elliott, chair of the Early Music Institute; and Stanley Ritchie, professor of baroque violin; the work will be performed by the school's Baroque Orchestra and the Pro Arte Singers, the school's celebrated chamber choir.

Tenor Jacob Williams will perform the role of the legendary warrior Judas Maccabaeus, and baritone Scott Hogsed will perform the role of Simon, his brother. A cast of 14 vocal soloists will perform the roles of various Israelite women and men.

"We're so grateful to the Joshi Foundation for providing an opportunity for the Choral Department and the Early Music Institute to come together to present an important Baroque work for the benefit of our students as well as for the music lovers in Bloomington and Indianapolis," Gray said. "It's also a unique privilege to be able to study and perform this piece using instruments from the era in which the work was written and for our students to be coached for the performance by such esteemed colleagues as Stanley Ritchie, Elisabeth Wright and Paul Elliott."

After Messiah, Judas Maccabaeus is Handel's most popular and frequently performed oratorio.

Following the success of British forces at the Battle of Culloden, Handel composed this grand oratorio in honor of England's victorious general, Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, addressed as "Truly Wise, Valiant and Virtuous Commander" in the libretto. The work premiered on April 1, 1747, at Covent Garden Theatre in London.

The production is the inaugural oratorio in a 10-year project underwritten by the Georgina Joshi Foundation to encourage and support the student performance of Handel's operas and oratorios. These major works will alternate every two years. In 2009, IU Opera Theater presented Handel's Giulio Cesare.

The Jacobs School's Baroque Orchestra is directed by renowned violinist Professor Stanley Ritchie. The large cast of solo singers has been coached by Professor Paul Elliott, director of the Early Music Institute and chair of the Early Music Department. Elisabeth Wright is a Jacobs professor of harpsichord and fortepiano.

For more information about the IU Jacobs School of Music, visit http://music.indiana.edu.

For more information about the Georgina Joshi Foundation, visit http://www.thegeorginajoshifoundation.org/handel-underwriting.