“The members of EVUSA
do exquisite work...”
–The Huffington Post
Judith Clurman's Essential Voices USA (EVUSA), one of New York’s preeminent choral ensembles, brings together a roster of seasoned professionals and auditioned volunteers. With this unique choral model, created by Clurman, the size of the ensemble is constantly changing, dictated by the specific musical needs of each project.
The ensemble is completely at home in New York’s iconic performance venues. It performs at the Carnegie Hall and the DiMenna Center for Classical Music. EVUSA participated in the spirited Leonard Bernstein Celebration at Symphony Space and served as the chorus in residence with the The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall. EVUSA also produces its own classical choral, musical theater, and operatic readings, workshops, and recordings. The ensemble’s wide-ranging and adaptable musicality is evident from the variety of its activities.
EVUSA was in residence with National Public Radio the month of February 2011. That same year the ensemble launched The Composer Speaks, a series of concerts in workshop format moderated by Judith and designed to encourage dialogue with composers. Past events have included the music of established and up-and-coming composers such as Linsey Abrams, John Glover, Sheldon Harnick, Larry Hochman, Sally Lamb McCune, Shulamit Ran, Kelley Rourke, Bruce Ruben, Paul Schoenfield, Joshua Schmidt, and Roberto Sierra.
The group performed on the critically acclaimed CD Celebrating the American Spirit (Sono Luminus) featuring Kelli O’Hara and Ron Raines. The repertoire ranged from Milton Babbitt to Irving Berlin. The disc includes the exciting cycle, “Sing Out, Mr. President,” a collection of sixteen short pieces based on the words of sixteen American presidents.
Students were invite to join EVUSA and record the song “The Music in My Mind” for Marvin Hamlisch’s children’s book, Marvin Makes Music, and was honored to be invited to participate in Hamlisch’s stirring memorial at The Juilliard School.
In 2011 and 2012 EVUSA rocked ‘the rock’ on NBC’s national broadcasts of the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting.
A highlight of its 2012–2013 season was EVUSA’s participation in the Presidential Inaugural activities, including a sing-along of the “Sing Out, Mr. President” song cycle at the “Church of the Presidents” in Washington, D.C. The ensemble’s CD was featured on NPR on Inauguration Day 2013.
In 2012, EVUSA premiered the SATB arrangement of Stephen Schwartz’s important and deeply moving work, “Testimony,” at Carnegie Hall, under Judith’s direction.
On July 4, 2014 EVUSA was featured in numerous tracks for the Macy’s Fireworks Spectacular on NBC, along with Idina Menzel and the Diva Jazz Orchestra.
During the 2014-2015 season, EVUSA launched a new CD, Cherished Moments: Songs of the Jewish Spirit, participated in four sold out concerts at Carnegie Hall, recorded Christmas music, and performed in the book launch for Carol Oja’s book on Leonard Bernstein’s On The Town. Their Composer Speaks program, “Broadway Goes Choral,” was presented to a standing room only audience, at the DiMenna Space. Broadway luminaries with Sheldon Harnick, Larry Hochman, Andrew Lippa, Richard Maltby, Joshua Schmidt, Stephen Schwartz, David Shire, Georgia Stitt, Jonathan Tunick, and Maury Yeston joined in the fun.
During the 2015-2016 season, EVUSA participated in five concerts at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops, sang a Christmas Sing Along at Feinstein’s/ 54 Below, in New York City, and launced there recording Holiday Harmonies: Songs of Christmas for Sono Luminus. The recording featured EVUSA, mezzo soprano Jamie Barton, soprano Maureen McKay, and pianist Tedd Firth. It included premieres of Christmas songs by Jennifer Higdon and Nico Muhly, and carols arranged by David Chase, Ted Firth, and Ryan Nowlin. Their spring Composer Speaks program, at the DiMenna Space, “Austrian émigrés: Schoenberg, Von Trapp and the Power of Music,” featured EVUSA performing works by Arnold Schoenberg ( “A Survivor from Warsaw”) and Rodgers and Hammerstein (US Premiere of “The Sound of Music Suite”), with guests Larry Schoenberg, Elisabeth Von Trapp, Ted Chapin, David Chase, and Larry Hochman, moderated by Naomi Lewin.
During the 2016-2017 season, EVUSA will participate in programs at Carnegie Hall and the DiMenna Space for Classical Music. They will launch two CDs. The EVUSA Youth Workshop will be featured, with Ben Hutto at the organ, in a work called “Peace,” by Howard Shore (text by Eleanor Roosevelt) on Howe Records (October release). EVUSA will be featured, with pianist Lee Musiker on A Season of Light for Sono Luminus (digital November release).The repertoire includes a new piece called “Season of Light” by Jacob Narverud and music for Thanksgiving (“Grateful” by John Bucchino, arr. by Ryan Nowlin), Christmas (“God Rest You Merry Gentlemen, arranged by David Chase; “Carol of the Bells” arranged by Peter Wilhousky; Ave Maria by Jean Mouton); Chanukah (“The Chanukah Song - We are Lights” by Stephen Schwartz and Steve Young, arr. by Ryan Nowlin) and New Years (“New Year Carol” by Benjamin Britten; “Auld Lang Syne” arranged by Tedd Firth).
“Judith Clurman’s febrile brainchild Essential Voices USA is exactly that—they provide a gorgeous canvas on which contemporary classical composers paint scenes depicting our lives today, much as the Dutch Masters did a few hundred years ago...”
–Q on Stage
“With gorgeous harmonies and soaring vocal chorale sounds, Essential Voices USA, conducted by Judith Clurman, is a mixed group of skilled singers who bring thoughtful and rich performances. . . there are glorious sounds here. . . .”
“As a freelance professional singer in New York City, I look forward to opportunities to work with Judy Clurman and her Essential Voices USA. Judy has quite a knack for blending amateurs, professionals, and superstars together to produce top-notch concerts, workshops, and recordings.”
“When I was 18, I was at this point in life where I needed to decide whether music would be my professional or my personal life. I choose the latter. In Judith Clurman's Essential Voices USA I found a chorus that satisfies my ambitions, challenges my abilities and that nurtures my passion.”