Internationally acclaimed Vermont world music choir "Northern
Harmony" presents workshops and concerts in Oregon:
Wednesday, April 10, at Lost Valley Educational Center in Dexter (81868 Lost
Valley Lane): Singing workshop 7-8 pm, concert at 8:30 pm. Dinner available. Contact:
Thursday, April 11, in Corvallis, concert at 7:30 pm at First Congregational
Church (5745 SW West Hills Rd). Contact: 541-753-2043. Friday, April 12, in Eugene,
concert at 7:30 pm at Eugene Mennonite Church (3590 W. 18th Ave.). Contact: 541-344-7396
Northern Harmony's fourteen singers and instrumentalists specialize in music from
vital community singing traditions throughout the world and through the centuries.
The Vermont-based ensemble is especially known for its vocal power and agility, its
sure command of widely varied singing styles and techniques, its unerring ear for
compelling harmonies and arrangements, and its winning and informal stage presence.
The concert program includes: ancient work and sacred songs from Caucasus Georgia
with unusual dissonant harmonies and dark sonorous vocal quality; village songs from
Bulgaria with the bright, hard-edged Balkan vocal sound and a lively instrumental
band; traditional harmony singing from Corsica and Sardinia; traditional and contemporary
songs from the American shape-note tradition; Italian medieval music, and music from
Corsica; and contemporary choral settings of the poetry of Sufi mystic Rumi by Colorado
composer Toby Tenenbaum.
Northern Harmony has traveled widely throughout America and Europe. Reviewing their
recent concert of Georgian and early American music at the prestigious London Lufthansa
Festival of Early Music, the Festival Artistic Director wrote, "it was certainly
the most moving concert of the entire festival." Their Oregon appearances are
part of a six week cross-country tour.
Co-directors Larry Gordon and Patty Cuyler are educators as well as performers. They
also direct a larger umbrella organization which includes the widely known teenage
ensemble Village Harmony and an extensive program of traveling music camps which
each year involve hundreds of singers from all over the world. Gordon's strong and
flexible bass voice and rhythmic drive anchor the Northern Harmony sound. Cuyler
is also a powerful singer, as well as an accordionist and brass player, and she has
compiled an enormous library of transcriptions of traditional Georgian, Balkan and
South African songs. So far she has published three volumes of an ongoing series
of these editions.
Northern Harmony also features two singers from Caucasus Georgia. Carl Linich, an
American now residing in Tbilisi, is a brilliant tenor who has devoted his life to
studying, preserving, teaching and performing Georgian traditional music. He has
worked and performed with many renowned traditional singers there and has an immense
repertoire of traditional songs from all parts of the country. Teah Pirstkhelani,
a young singer from a large family of traditional musicians in the remote mountain
province of Svaneti, performs widely, both with her family and with the mixed ensemble
The remaining members of the group are likewise accomplished singers, and also include
a number of fine instrumentalists, clarinet, fiddle, trombone, viola da gamba, tambura
and percussion, who are featured in the Bulgarian and medieval numbers. The group1s
many CDs, as well as their songbooks of shape-note, Balkan, Georgian and South African
music will be available at the workshop and concerts. For more information, check
out the Northern Harmony's website.