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Conspirares Considering Matthew Shepard

Multimedia Ontario, Ensemble

“Powerfully cathartic, it leads us from horror and grief to a higher understanding of the human condition.” – Washington Post

Established in Austin, Texas in 1991, Conspirare is a GRAMMY-winning and internationally recognized choir with a reputation for “expanding the boundaries of choral performance” (Wall Street Journal). Conspirare, which translates from Latin as “to breathe together,” is led by founder and Artistic Director Craig Hella Johnson, and is comprised of soloists from around the country.

A commitment to new music and willingness to showcase a broad context through diverse programming is evident from the first recording in 2004. Through the Green Fuse features a Gaelic hymn, African-American spirituals, and works by Sibelius, Stephen Foster, Eric Whitacre, among others. Green Fuse was followed in 2006 by Requiem (works by Howells, Whitacre, and Pizzetti) which received two GRAMMY Award nominations. In 2008, Threshold of Night (music by Tarik O’Regan) also received two nominations, including Best Classical Album. The 2009 PBS television special “A Company of Voices: Conspirare in Concert” received the GRAMMY Award nomination for Best Classical Crossover, and Pablo Neruda: The Poet Sings was nominated for Best Choral Performance in 2016. Most recently, the 2016 Olavsfestdagene festival, in Trondheim, Norway, presented the group in a collaboration with the internationally acclaimed ensemble Trondheimsolistene.

Conspirare’s current touring project, Considering Matthew Shepard, is a three-part oratorio composed by Craig Hella Johnson. The work, which debuted at number four on Billboard’s Traditional Classical Chart, is an evocative and compassionate musical response to the murder of Matthew Shepard. The Washington Post calls the impact “immediate, profound and, at times, overwhelming.” The album received a GRAMMY nomination. Conspirare debuted Considering Matthew Shepard in Austin in 2016, and presented the work at Boston Symphony Hall and Texas A&M in 2016-17. Conspirare is touring the work nationally in 2018 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death.

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Press

‘Considering Matthew Shepard’ performance illustrates themes of healing, forgiveness

The performance was vibrant and varied, featuring musical compositions in styles ranging from classical choral pieces to jazz songs and country ballads. The performance was visually impressive … READ MORE …

CD reviews: ‘Considering Matthew Shepard,’ 18 years later

Craig Hella Johnson, conductor of the acclaimed Austin-based choral group Conspirare, has composed an oratorio titled “Considering Matthew Shepard.” … READ MORE …