Conspirare is committed to the repertoire of the choral canon and to engaging in musical performances which represent both the voices of today and voices that have been silenced or under-represented. We actively seek to commission works to achieve this goal, firmly believing in the integrity and power of new music's place in a vast choral repertoire.
The Russian Orthodox tradition is one that has greatly shaped the American choral sound. Many listener’s first encounter with this musical tradition comes from the cherished masterwork All Night Vigil (Vespers) by Sergei Rachmaninov. It's music that creates a space that points to the great Mystery of our being.
Matthew Shepard was a young, gay college student at the University of Wyoming who in October 1998 was kidnapped, severely beaten, tied to a fence and left to die in a lonely field under a blanket of stars. When Shepard passed away, five days later, an offended world looked on. Since that mournful month, Craig Hella Johnson has had a strong inner desire to respond musically. The result is Considering Matthew Shepard.
This ongoing project will call into focus the source of the text: the poems and poets who write the poems. Composers have set poems spanning from ancient to contemporary times, and composers find continual inspiration in this so-called playground. It is a place where words, meter, and sound all converge.