New England Classical Singers
Under the masterful direction of Artistic Director David Hodgkins, New England Classical Singers is an auditioned choral chamber ensemble of 35 voices. Founded in 1968 as the North Reading Choral Society, NECS is now based in Andover, MA, drawing its members from communities of the Merrimack Valley and beyond.
NECS opens the concert season with its annual December Concert, performed with chamber orchestra and guest soloists. Concerts in late winter and early spring, respectively, consist of repertoire that spans the Renaissance to the present and ranges from a cappella madrigals, partsongs, and American spirituals to major choral works.
In celebration of the 350th anniversary of the Andovers in 1996, NECS commissioned and premiered Voices of Rememberance by Kenneth Seitz whose text is derived from poems by local poets Anne Bradstreet, Henry Henderson Clark, and John Greenleaf Whittier. NECS released its first CD, entitled A New England Classical Christmas, in 2009 .
Collaboration and educational outreach have been cornerstones of NECS’ mission since its inception. Its most notable outreach program is its joint collaboration with the Lawrence High School Girls Ensemble under the direction Nancy McGhee, and the Catherine McCarthy Memorial Trust, which has provided major funding for the outreach program. New England Classical Singers is proud to be a member of the Greater Boston Choral Consortium.
David Hodgkins has served as Artistic Director of the New England Classical Singers since his appointment in 1999. During his more than 20 years as an integral part of the greater Boston music scene, he has delighted audiences with “creative programs, sung with enthusiasm and tonal beauty” (Ed Tapper, Bay Windows). Mr. Hodgkins is also the Artistic Director of Coro Allegro in Boston, which Boston Globe critic Michael Manning deemed “one of Boston’s most accomplished choruses”. Among his many appointments, Mr. Hodgkins serves as Director of Music at The Commonwealth School in Boston, teaches advanced conducting at the New England Conservatory of Music through the Kodaly Music Institute, and is the conductor in residence of the Kodaly Music Institutes at NEC and Wichita State University in Kansas. He has also served on the faculties of UMass/Amherst, Temple University, and Clark University.
Mr. Hodgkins has conducted groups at the ACDA and GALA Music Festivals, performed as guest conductor with such Boston area groups as Chorus Pro Musica, Masterworks Chorale and Emmanuel Music, and made numerous festival appearances as guest conductor and conducting clinician. His ensembles have collaborated with the Boston Celebrity Series, Boston Cecilia, Handel and Haydn Society, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, The New England String Ensemble, and the Boston Landmarks Orchestra.
Mr. Hodgkins has been featured in Choral Director Magazine, been the producer for three award-winning CD’s by La Donna Musicale, Laury Gutiérrez, Artistic Director, and produced a CD of 20th century works for Terry Everson, trumpet, and Shiela Kibbe, piano, which was released on Albany Records in 2009. He currently serves on the Advisory Boards of The Boston City Singers, Jane Money, Artistic Director, and the UMASS/Amherst Music Department.
A champion of contemporary music, Mr. Hodgkins has conducted world premiere performances of works by David Brunner, Alan Fletcher, Kenneth Fuchs, Charles Fussell, Ruth Lomon, Daniel Pinkham, Aaron Rosenthal, Robert Stern, Richard St. Clair, and Patricia Van Ness, as well as Boston premieres of works by Rebecca Clarke, James MacMillan, Marianne Martinez, Arvo Pärt, Ronald Perera, and William Grant Still.
With Coro Allegro, Mr. Hodgkins has created the annual Pinkham Award in honor and memory of composer Daniel Pinkham, and has released two critically acclaimed compact discs entitled In the Clearing and somewhere i have never traveled.
David Hodgkins received his Bachelor of Music degree in voice, piano and harpsichord from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, a Master of Music in choral conducting from Temple University in Philadelphia, and Fellowships in choral and orchestral conducting at both the Aspen and Sandpoint Music Festivals. His mentors include Wayne Abercrombie, Fiora Contino, Alan Harler, James Roth, Gunther Schuller and Paul Vermel.
Uzbekistanian-born Yulia Yun is a graduate of the Uspensky Special Music School for Gifted Children in Tashkent where she majored in music theory, composition and piano performance. She has given numerous solo and chamber music concerts in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Korea and has made appearances as a guest soloist with Uzbekistan Philharmonic Orchestra, Tashkent Symphony Orchestra, Tashkent Chamber Orchestra and Uzbekistan Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Yun’s concert repertoire includes Rachmaninoff Concerti No. 2 and No. 4, Shostakovich Concerto No. 1, Grieg Concerto in A, Saint-Saëns Concerto No. 2 in G, Chopin Concerto No. 2, Shumann Concerto in A minor, Beethoven Concerto No. 4, and Mozart Concerti No. 20 and No. 23.
A third prize winner at the Youth International Piano Competition in Turkmenistan, and first prize winner at the Uzbekistan National Piano Competition, Ms. Yun was awarded a full scholarship at Northern Kentucky University in January 2005, where she studied with Professor Sergei Polusmiak and was granted degrees in Piano Performance and French. She holds a Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance and Graduate Performance Diploma from the Longy Conservatory of Bard College, where she studied with Mrs. Eda Mazo-Shlyam and Mrs. Ludmilla Lifson. She has been a piano accompanist for Boston ballet school and company since 2012. In August of 2015, she was granted an Artist visa to continue her career as a professional musician in the United States.
New England Classical Singers is a highly accomplished choral ensemble of 30+ voices that performs significant choral works from a variety of centuries and styles. Auditions for prospective members are held twice a year–early September and mid-December–or by appointment.