Bellarmine’s Richard Burchard makes Carnegie Hall debut

April 12, 2018

Carnegie Hall 2013
Image reproduced via Creative Commons license.

Bellarmine University executive composer in residence Richard Burchard can now confirm that a Carnegie Hall debut is magical.

burchard-headshotOn Monday evening, the associate professor of music heard his composition, “The Seven Last Words of Christ,” performed in New York’s Carnegie Hall for the first time.

The eight-part performance - part of the Manhattan Concert Productions Masterwork Series - featured Burchard’s composition as the major work performed that evening. It was conducted by Dr. Greg Fuller of the University of Southern Mississippi and performed by professional musicians from the New York City area.

“I’ve had my music performed in a number of fantastic spaces across the US and in Europe – cathedrals, concert halls, theaters,” said Burchard. “I figured Carnegie Hall would be just another venue on my list of great ones. But it really was magical. It’s not only beautiful, but the acoustics are sublime. Every subtle musical gesture could be heard. And the performers could tell too. There was an energy to this performance that I hadn’t felt in prior ones.” 

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Burchard noted that it’s rare for event’s like Monday’s performance to feature work by living composers. The next five Masterwork performances feature pieces by Louis Vierne, Wolfgang Mozart, Franz Joseph Schubert and Haydn.

The composition draws inspiration from the seven last expressions of Jesus Christ before Crucifixion, as recorded in scripture. A previous recording of the performance is available on Soundcloud.

In an interview with LEO Weekly about “The Seven Last Words of Christ,” Burchard said: “I saw the words that Christ spoke from the cross as taking us on an emotional journey. There is darkness in the story, but there is also light. There is confusion, pain, faith and Christ’s youthful own innocent spirit.”

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