April 24, 2024

“Serenity of Soul” Marks a Milestone

SING OUT: Westminster Choir of Rider University is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a new recording on the GIA Masterworks label.

Serenity of Soul, a new recording by the Westminster Choir that celebrates its 100th year, will be released on May 3 on the GIA Masterworks label. The recording marks the recording debut of GRAMMY-nominated James Jordan as conductor of the choir, the seventh since the group’s founding in 1920 by John Finley Williamson.

The centerpiece of Serenity of Soul is the cantata Rejoice in the Lamb by Benjamin Britten, based on the poetry of Christopher Smart. It was recorded in Gill Memorial Chapel on Rider’s campus in Lawrenceville and Christ Church in New York City between May 4 and 11, 2023. Comprising 15 tracks, it features Gregory Stout on piano and Mary Dolch on organ.

“All the music on this recording reflects, in sound, that serenity (and, yes, beauty) is within all of us if we choose to go there,” said Jordan, who has been recognized throughout the music world as one of America’s preeminent conductors, recording artists, writers, music psychologists and innovators in choral music.

At Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Jordan is a professor of conducting and director of choral studies, as well as the co-director of The Choral Institute at Oxford. As a former student of Elaine Brown, who also taught Joseph Flummerfelt, Jordan has helped continue the legacy of John Finley Williamson by upholding the standards of performance, traditions and pedagogy of Williamson, Brown and Flummerfelt.

The choir is composed of students at Westminster Choir College of Rider University. For the 2023-24 season, the ensemble performed in New York, including at Carnegie Hall, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Washington, D.C., as well as local performances on campus and at the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville. The recent Carnegie Hall performance included the world premiere of James Whitbourn’s Requiem, orchestrated by John Rutter and commissioned by Westminster.

Serenity of Soul, produced on the GIA ChoralWorks label, will be distributed by Naxos on all major streaming outlets including Spotify and Apple Music.