Camerata Chamber Choir Concert – Saturday 22nd October 2016

Indra James

The gentle, hushed tones of Lauridsen’s Magnum Mysterium opened the Camerata Choir’s latest offering to us at All Saints Church in Ryde. The choir showed impeccable breath control and expressive dynamic contrast throughout the concert; wrapped in Jurgita Leistrumaite’s precise and warm conducting that enveloped the choir and the string orchestra after the interval. Jewels of contemporary choral writing were sung in the first half, from the enigmatic ‘Northern Lights’ by Gjeilo with soft Nordic inspired harmonies; contrasting with the complex dissonance, fugal entries and split choral parts of Miskinis’ ‘Night’ (which was composed for the Camerata).

After the interval, the choir were joined by a string orchestra, an oboe and cor anglais soloist, traditional middle eastern percussion and the children of the Priory School Choir to perform Karl Jenkins ‘The Healer’. Iain Alexander and Kirsten Barker provided the baritone and soprano solo roles, their voices blending beautifully and rising above the texture of the orchestra and choir. Although the Jenkins provided no real challenge to the choir, the contrast of the timbres to the first half were exciting; every element of the performance showed meticulous detail and preparation and complete confidence and connection with their director Jurgita. 

Camerata Chamber Choir Concert – Saturday 17th October 2015

Indra James

The beautifully resonant surroundings of Ryde All Saints Church was the fitting venue for an evening of some of the world’s best loved choral music by J.S. Bach and Mozart on Saturday night.

The Camerata Chamber Choir, under the precise and perfect direction of Jurgita Leistrumaite, enchanted the audience with a beautifully restrained performance of Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring accompanied unfalteringly by Victor Lawrence on the organ. This was followed by a poignant rendition of Bach’s ‘For love of me, my Lord is dying’ by soprano Kirsten Victoria Barker whose voice soared tenderly over a delicate, though complex, piano accompaniment. Jurgita Adamonyte who flew in from Italy to join the soloist group had the warmest mezzo tone to compliment ‘Contented peace, beloved delight of the soul’ before the choir concluded the first half with the intricately difficult but gorgeous ‘Jesu meine Freude’.

The Camerata Chamber Orchestra joined the choir for the second half in a suitably dramatic performance of Mozart’s Requiem. The orchestra led by Kirstie Robertson was well balanced and complimented the choir without over-powering it. Tenor Ben Thapa and baritone James Cleverton joined the two soloists from the first half, both with beautifully full, warm vocal tones and expressive communication.

The packed audience, who truly appreciated the fine quality of performances from all involved, had a fabulous evening and eagerly await the next concert in December.


Don’t miss Camerata Choir performing Karl Jenkins’ Motets


Exhilarating delivery of composer’s vision

Isle of Wight County Press - 17 April, 2014

By Pam Kenway

The Camerata Chamber Choir was founded by its conductor Jurgita Leistrumaite in February 2010. Her aim was to promote contemporary music through excellence in choral singing. Over the past three years, the choir’s public performances are evidence she has achieved her goal.

Their latest concert took place in St John’s Church, Newport, last Saturday, when the main work was Karl Jenkins’s The Peacemakers, a composition extolling world peace through diverse musical effects and expressions. This is no mean feat and the Camerata rose to the challenge with their usual expertise. The overall result was a powerful communication of the composer’s intentions, which was reflected in the listeners’ enthusiasm and expressions of enjoyment of the whole evening.

Jenkins’s aim was to convey the hopes for world peace of famous men and women over the centuries.

The differences of nationalities and approaches were illustrated in the music — orchestration, tempi and subtle dynamics — and all details were expertly communicated by the Camerata and the accompanying instrumentalists.

Great care for detail included employing professional musicians as soloists, which emphasised the cultural differences in each section, such as use of the bansuri (Indian flute), temple bells (Buddhism) and African percussion, to the delight of the audience. It was a truly exhilarating performance.

The concert would not have been possible without a great deal of organisation and help from many people. In particular, Camerata thanked Brighstone Village Shop for its sponsorship.

To add to the overall enjoyment, the concert included the performance of a short Paganini Caprice for solo violin, expertly played by Shoshanah Sievers, a 12-year-old violinist of remarkable ability, and a soprano solo by the Island’s Kirsten Victoria Barker, a gifted singer, who delighted the audience with an expressive performance of a Jenkins’s aria.

The choir’s next concert is on July 19, when they will present Faure’s Requiem in St Catherine’s Church, Ventnor.

Peacemakers concert attracts all-star line-up 

Isle of Wight County Press  - March 14, 2014

Child virtuoso violinist Shoshanah Sievers is to play on the Island in April.

Shoshanah, 12, a junior student at the Royal College of Music, will be playing the violin solo movement in Karl Jenkins’s The Peacemakers at St John’s Church, Newport, on Saturday, April 12.

Shoshanah has already worked with Yehudi Menuhin School graduate and leading international performer Tasmin Little and seems destined to achieve similar heights.

She will be joined in the orchestra by some leading musicians of the present.

Leading the percussion will be Zands Duggan, a youthful American hand percussionist, part-time rock star and pin-up. The essential bass flute solos will be handled by Andy Findon.

Karl Jenkins has never been afraid to include interesting instruments andThe Peacemakers is no exception — on fretless bass guitar will be Black Sabbath session musician Lawrence Cottle.

Along with all the professional individual musicians will be a selection of local talent, including soprano soloist Kirsten Victoria Barker, from Whitwell, and the Children’s Choir of the IW, a selection of children from the Priory School and elsewhere. The all-important chorus will be provided by the Camerata Chamber Choir which, according to the adjudicator at the IW Music, Dance and Drama Festival, are a 'stunning’ group of voices.

Choir's ancient and modern

Isle of Wight County Press  - July 27, 2013

Once again, we were treated to an extremely ambitious programme of beautiful choral music by the Camerata Chamber Choir at St Catherine’s Church, Ventnor, last Saturday under the leadership of Jurgita Leistrumaite.

Her choir performed with a professionalism which was way above their status as amateurs.

The concert started with the priest and Italian composer G. Allegri’sMiserere mei Deus — a classic piece of renaissance before the baroque period and during the rise of humanistic thought. This was beautifully sung with the very difficult overtone of the soprano in dominance.

Next, we were enthralled by the Spanish composer (and priest) Tomas Luis Victoria with his Ave Maria. These Gregorian chants were once the exclusive property of the Vatican.

There then followed the more modern works of the Swedish composers August Soderman and Olsson.

We were the treated to a perfect rendition of Ubi Caritas by French composer Durufle, some Mozart and finishing with Patrick Hawes and Karl Jenkins, old favourites of the choir and for whom there is a special relationship.

The choir was invited to sing Jenkins’s two most popular works at the Albert Hall in the spring, conducted by the composer himself. How very fortunate we are on the Island to be favoured with the talent of Jurgita and her choir.

Her wide range of music and her ambition for her choir are a real credit to her and an enormous benefit to all of us. They make every performance a lasting memory.

IW choir join massed voices at Albert Hall

By Jon Moreno


Isle of Wight County Press  - July 20, 2012


The Island-based Camerata Chamber Choir performed in a charity concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

The 18-strong ensemble took part in a concert alongside other invited choirs to perform the world premiere of the latest work by Karl Jenkins.

The rousing and complex work, inspired by the Olympic Games and commissioned for the concert by the Really Big Chorus, is called The Gods of Olympus, which portrays mythical gods.

At one point in the second movement, 1800 voices rhythmically hiss and sing in a mythical language. Another movement involved a capella chant by 500 male voices.

The Camerata Chamber Choir raised funds for the National Autistic Society. Although the total amount of money raised has not yet been announced, two audience members each bid £1200 to jointly conduct the orchestra in one of the opening orchestral movements, to much laughter.

The audience stood to applaud Jenkins, one of the world's most succesful living composers, as he appeared on stage to take his bow.

Camerata will again be working with the Welsh composer in a joint performance with a choir from Grayshott, Hampshire, in September.

This time, the music will be his recent acclaimed work, The Peacemakers, with the performance to be conducted by Jenkins himself.



Chamber concert delights audience

By Richard Morrison


Isle of Wight County Press - May 18, 2012


I was spellbound during the performance of the Camerata Chamber Choir concert on Saturday.

The choir performed some of the works of Patrick Hawes. Furthermore, he was there, at St John’s Church, Newport, to conduct them, and brought a real sense of strength and emotion to the singing.

For those who do not know of Patrick’s work, it is based on his impressions of his native Lincolnshire and during his time in Norfolk, where the vast skies and enormous light patterns manifest themselves in his music.

Mr Hawes was composer in residence at Classic FM for a while and his album Towards the Light was voted the highest new entry in the 2007 Hall of Fame.

The Camerata Choir performed to perfection. Their range of vocals was clear and precise and the outstanding soloist, Marian Jones, was a joy to listen to. The use of the harp in the string quartet alongside the choir was unique. The audience was captivated.

As a short interlude, we were also mesmerised by the harpist, Lucy Haslar, who played Patrick Hawes’s composition How Hill, inspired by his love of Norfolk and its windmills. How riveting it was.

The smoothness and dexterity of the harp was beautifully executed. It is difficult to imagine anyone playing it better.

A regular member of the audience said to me afterwards: "That was their best ever" and a real tribute to all the hard work the choir put in, under the able direction of Jurgita Leistrumaite.



Top composer for choir


Isle of Wight County Press - March 23, 2012


Renowned composer Patrick Hawes is to conduct the Island's Camerata Choir in a concert this summer. 

Patrick, who was nominated for a Classical Brit in 2004 for his debut Blue in Blue will lead the choir at St John's Church, Newport, on May 12.

In 2009 Patrick was commissioned by the Prince of Wales to compose the Highgrove Suite, while he was composer in residence at Classic FM in 2006/7.

The May concert will include his Song of Songs and Quanta Qualia, made famous by Hayley Westenra, and the choir will be accompanied by harpist Lucy Haslar and a small ensemble. 



Adjudicator full of praise for memorable choir


Isle of Wight County Press - March 16, 2012


A popular ensemble that was assembled just two years ago, the Camerata Chamber Choir, managed to achieve what only one other entrant could do in the vocal and choral section - earn a 90 score.

The choir, established and led by Jurgita Leistrumaite, repeated last year's success in the mixed voices class for 25 voices and under class, at All Saints' Church, Ryde, last Friday.

The acoustics in the church certainly suited their renditions of Cantate Domino, by Vytautas Miskinis, and Quanta Qualia, composed by Patrick Hawes.

Adjudicator Andrea Calladine described the performance as one of the most memorable she had seen in some time.




Choir produces moments of true elation

Isle of Wight County Press - October 21, 2011

By Mark Patterson 

They are a much-admired amateur choir brought together by their inspiring and talented musical director Jurgita Leistrumaite, who is not only their conductor but physically part of the dramatic impact of their music.

Their concert was essentially the same as the recently reviewed performance but they replaced Durufle with Bach and this was very special.
Their male numbers had been increased and this showed in balance and projection, particularly in the O Salutaris Hostia by Miskinis, and their enthusiastic approach to music by Bob Chilcott and Eric Whitacre was impressive.

I particularly liked the Hebrew Love Songs and wondered if the choir had any idea of the meaning, given they were written in Sephardic Hebrew, which is not a usual form, given the predominance of Ashkenazy Hebrew overall.

Their familiarity with the contemporary work of Karl Jenkins shows and, as a previous reviewer remarked, has moments of true elation in Now My Life is Only Weeping and Ave Verum along with Pie Jesu. But And the Mother did Weep was not rescued from the obscurity it deserves.
It was a very good evening indeed.
Leukaemia Research was helped again by the stirring concert given by the Camerata Chamber Choir at Wolverton Manor last Saturday.

Choir on song for 9/ 11

Isle of Wight County Press - September 23, 2011

By Edward Moore

Marking the tenth anniversary of the events of 9/11, the Camerata Chamber Choir joined ensembles the world over in presenting a concert of contemporary choral music as part of the Global Sing for Peace initiative. 

St Catherine’s Church, Ventnor, is becoming well known as a concert venue, and not without good reason; it was an ideal setting for a concert of this scale.
The 14-strong choir has been in existence for 19 months, and in that time they have developed a distinctive sound. At times, their general musicality and sympathetic phrasing was second-to-none. Admittedly, the concert opened with a somewhat unsure performance of Duruflé’s well-known motet Ubi Caritas, which did not bode especially well for the remaining pieces, but once on the rather more familiar territory of Bob Chilcott’s choral works, the performers relaxed and began to produce some excellent sounds. 

The slight numerical imbalance between the ladies and gentlemen was occasionally evident, particularly in the enormously complex O Salutaris Hostia by Vytautus Miskinis (a quick peek at the score during the interval revealed many split parts, a tall order with only three gentlemen on each part, and textural writing as dense as it was!), but director Jurgita Leistrumaite guided the ensemble through difficult passages with some of the most elegant, precise and effective conducting an amateur ensemble is ever likely to be lucky enough to receive; perhaps something the lower parts may like to bear in mind, as it felt a lack of watching very occasionally deprived good performances of the polish required to make them excellent.

The second half was exclusively music by the Welsh (and living) composer Karl Jenkins. His Mass for Peace — The Armed Man formed the centrepiece of the entire Global Sing for Peace initiative, and the movements from it were well sung, the gentlemen particularly demonstrating their innate musicality and potential. From his Stabat Mater came three movements, excellent examples of Jenkins at his best, and worst. The excellent 'Now My Life is Only Weeping’ was truly moving – the alto soloist captivating the audience with her chocolaty tone and genuinely pained musical expression. Conversely, Leistrumaite did her best to rescue the truly dreadful 'classical chillout’ favourite 'And the Mother did Weep’ from its fate as an instantly forgettable six minute indulgence, but, alas, failed – this was, crucially, the music’s fault, not the choir’s.

The final two pieces – 'Ave Verum’ and the 'Pie Jesu’ from Jenkins’ Requiem were excellently performed, and rounded off what was an enormously enjoyable concert. This choir shows a huge amount of potential, and under the inspired leadership of Jurgita Leistrumaite, there is little doubt that they will achieve it; if they exploit their distinctive sound and specialise in contemporary choral music, the Island will have an ensemble to get excited about.



Choir cross to Abbey Road

Isle of Wight County Press - July 1, 2011

By Matt White 


The iconic Abbey Road studios have played host to an Island choir, as the group recorded on the latest album by renowned composer Karl Jenkins.

Camerata Choir were invited to the famous studios to take part in the recording of The Peacemakers. It followed their successful performance of Mr Jenkins's composition, Stabat Mater, at All Saints Church, Ryde, earlier this year.

The choir had a meeting with the composer, where they spoke to him about their performance and admiration of his work. Choir member Nikki Wright described it as a tremendous experience.

The choir's next Island date is September 17 at St Catherine's Church, Ventnor, when they will perform music by Mr Jenkins, as well as other contemporary and classical composers. The choir plan to perform The Peacemakers to an Island audience in the near future.



Ovation for ancient and modern

Isle of Wight County Press - April 21, 2011

By Godfrey Bruce - Radcliffe


A standing ovation rewarded the Island's Camerata Chamber Choir and the Chamber Ensemble, formed from members of the IW Symphony Orchestra, on Saturday.

It followed their performance of Karl Jenkins' Stabat Mater, conducted by Jurgita Leistrumaite, at All Saints' Church, Ryde, featuring soloist mezzo-soprano Jurgita Adamonyte.

Camerata formed just over a year ago, and has played to growing acclaim, but this was  the first time  I had heard them.

The programme opened with Miskinis's O Salutaris Hostia, perhaps a brave choice for an opening piece but its complexity was precisely and sensitively executed.

Leistrumaite's authority over the performance was firmly established.

A particularly nice touch was individual members of the choir introducing each of the shorter pieces, which ended with J.S. Bach's motet Jesu, meine  Freude, thus reminding the audience that the choir's repertoire is not confined to modern music.

Jurgita Adamonyte then sang the aria Vergnunte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust  from Bach's cantata BWV 170, accompanied by Michele Brock.

And so to the main work of the evening, Stabat Mater, a 13th century poem about mother of Christ, standing at the cross, which has been  set  to music by many composers. Some of the ethnic material was sung at Ryde, sumptuosly and meticulously of course, by Adamonyte, but the Incantation was sung by choir member Bryony Rust. At first I assumed she was a planted professional, but not a bit of it. Bryony let her emotions run free and made the music her own.

Neither can the orchestra go without mention. Stabat Mater gives special prominence to the oboe, played at Ryde by Helen McQueen.

The performance was recorded and filmed and should become available in due course via the Camerata Chamber Choir website. 



Celebrated prayer

Isle of Wight County Press - March 25, 2011
By Ross Findon

One of the world’s leading classical singers is to perform alongside Island musicians in a performance of a celebrated modern composition of a 13th century work.
Royal Academy of Music-trained mezzo-soprano Jurgita Adamonyte, who had performed with the Chicago Opera Theatre, the Royal Opera and at the Salzburg Festival, will perform Karl Jenkins’s composition Stabat Mater, based on the Roman Catholic prayer.
Lithuanian-born Jurgita, who performed on the original recording of the piece released in 2007, will be joined by the IW Symphony Orchestra and Camerata Chamber Choir for the concert at All Saints’ Church, Ryde, on Saturday, April 16.
Stabat Mater, or the Sorrowful Mother was Standing, has previously been set to music by composers including Haydn, Dvorak, Verdi and Rossini.
Welsh composer Karl Jenkins’s version mixes traditional western orchestral and choir music with middle eastern elements, including Hebrew and Aramaic.
The concert programme will also include choral works by Busto, Chilcott, Miskinis and Rutter.




Postponed carol concert a success

Isle of Wight County Press - December 17, 2010

By Matt White

A rescheduled Christmas concert went according to plan in East Cowes on Sunday.

The Camerata Chamber Choir had just a week to find an alternative venue after the original concert at Newport Minster, due to be held a week before, was cancelled because of bad weather.

The event was transferred to East Cowes Methodist Church, where the choir performed traditional hymns and Christmas carols.
"It went very well considering we didn’t have much time so we were really pleased," said musical director Jurgita Leistrumaite.
The choir, which formed in March, has 14 members, both men and women, aged between 27 and 60. It is currently looking for a pianist and anyone interested can contact Jurgita on 299025. Rehearsals are held on Thursday evenings at St John’s Church, Newport.




Vibrant choir created from blend of voices  

Isle of Wight County Press - November 12, 2010

By Oswald Hoskyns


When I was told that the programme to be sung by the recently formed chamber choir Camerata was all contemporary music my heart sank.  But by the time they were singing the last item I was wanting more.

The group's Lithuanian leader, Jurgita Leistrumaite, had chosen material that was modern, varied and easy on the ear. Pieces by Karl Jenkins, John Rutter and ex-Kings Singer Bob Chilcott were thrillingly finished off by a couple of numbers by an American, Christopher Tin.

The programme was enhanced by a jazz trio, who supported the singers in various numbers.  The exciting (and complicated) international rhythms were confidently played.  I really was on the edge of my seat throughout the concert.

The decorous Ms Leistrumaite had her 12 singers in the palm of her hand.  The men's singing was crisp and accurate.  The voices of the girls in the creamy alto line were captivating.

The blending of voices in the quiet passages was a rare treat in these days of strident celebrity singers.

Unfortunately the  prominence of one of the sopranos in the louder bits distracted one from the overall balance but that same soprano sang a couple of solos that transported me at once to Andalucia and later to the plains of East Africa just by her clever timbre and exquisite diction.  Other solo voices were sweet and clear.

In an age  of declining numbers of young people joining choirs, this new group  bucks the trend and anyone fortunate enough to hear them will be invigorated by the experience, as I was.

Camerata are performing again at Newport Minster on Saturday 4 December at 7pm and I thoroughly recommend that you go to listen to a vibrant, disciplined choir that has the potential to be the best ensemble on the Island.




Rich harmonies show choir at its versatile best

Isle of Wight County Press - October 8, 2010

By Simon Dixey

The Camerata Chamber Choir, under the direction of Jurgita Leistrumaite, has been together since February this year.
This concert, given on a wet and windy evening at Wolverton Manor, is its second full programme. Accompanying the choir were Michele Brock on the piano, Alison Seal on double bass and Jamie Woodford on drums.

The choir’s first piece, Esurientes from John Rutter’s Magnificat, starts with an unaccompanied soprano line. Soloist Helen Pascoe took on this challenge, showing only the slightest trace of nerves. The whole choir gave Rutter’s flowing melody and rich harmonies a very pleasing performance.
Bob Chilcott’s A Little Jazz Mass brought a change of mood — four miniature arrangements from the traditional mass with styles ranging from the 'real groove’ of the Kyrie to the bluesy Agnus Dei.

A lilting, reflective setting by Karl Jenkins of the Ave Verum was followed by another Bob Chilcott piece, The Lily and the Rose. This last piece, a favourite of the choir, was beautifully sung to end the first half of the concert.
Jurgita Hayward has a flowing but precise style of conducting, which commands the close attention of her vocalists. It is clear the whole choir has put much thought into how to communicate music to the audience. 

After the interval, we heard Four Jazz Folk Songs, again Bob Chilcott arrangements followed by two sections from the song cycle Calling All Dawns by the American composer Christopher Tin. Baba Yetu, a setting of The Lord’s Prayer in Swahili, produced the only obvious unsteady moment, which was soon recovered. Kia Hora, a Maori blessing, concluded the evening.







 Camerata Chamber Choir

Isle of Wight


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