Gloriæ Dei Cantores and Elizabeth Patterson Receive the 2019 American Prize Ernst Bacon Memorial Award

The American Prize ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, COMMUNITY choral division, 2018-19

The American Prize winner:
Elizabeth Patterson, conductor emerita
Gloriae Dei Cantores Choir
Orleans, MA
American Psalmody: Neswick / Rorem / Adler  

Under the inspired leadership of Elizabeth Patterson, Gloriæ Dei Cantores has achieved its present status as a world-class choir internationally recognized for its exceptional artistry and compelling spirituality. Known for her interpretive vision and her commitment to performance authenticity, Ms. Patterson is considered one of America’s finest choral conductors.

As the founding director in 1988, Elizabeth Patterson transformed Gloriæ Dei Cantores from a small church choir to a world-class concert choir. She established an aggressive program of study for the choir including three extended study tours in England with choral masters Dr. George Guest of St. John’s College, Cambridge, and Dr. Stephen Cleobury of King’s College, Cambridge. She has garnered respect from colleagues around the world, including Margaret Hillis, Keith Lockhart, Craig Timberlake, Dorothy Richardson, and Gerre Hancock.

Ms. Patterson directed the choir on numerous national and international tours, from New York to San Francisco, from London to Venice, from Prague to Moscow to Siberia. Her dedication to international understanding and cultural integrity have won her critical acclaim in concert halls throughout Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, England, France, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Wales.

In addition to conducting the choir’s discography of over 50 recordings, Elizabeth Patterson has overseen the development of a repertoire incorporating over 2,400 works, seeking to preserve sacred choral gems worthy of being heard and performed. In addition, she oversaw the commissioning and world premiers of numerous works including Transfiguration Mass by Samuel Adler, The Vision by Dominick Argento, Resurrexi by Gerald Near, and Folk Mass and Let Us Move by Grammy award-winning artist Mark O’Connor.

Under Ms. Patterson’s direction, Gloriæ Dei Cantores collaborated in ten holiday tours with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops; performed at the annual Christmas Tree-Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center where Ms. Patterson directed the premiere of Bruce Saylor’s A Christmas Garland on a televised broadcast; sang with the Regimental Band of Her Majesty’s Coldstream Guards at Boston Garden; and opened the 900th Anniversary Celebration of the Basilica at San Marco in Venice.

“Ms. Patterson is a true choral alchemist, and never fails to draw truly golden sound and beautifully nuanced singing from her hard-working musicians. Sacred illumination is their mission, and they achieve it with spiritual sincerity and power.”

Gloriæ Dei Cantores (Singers to the Glory of God) holds a passionate dedication to illuminate truth and beauty through choral artistry, celebrating a rich tradition of Sacred choral music from Gregorian chant through the twenty-first century.

Founded in 1988, Gloriæ Dei Cantores from Orleans, MA, under the direction of Richard K. Pugsley, has touched the hearts of audiences in twenty-three countries in Europe, Russia, and North America, receiving extensive critical acclaim for its artistic elegance, performance authenticity, and compelling spirituality. Distributed in the United States and internationally by Naxos, the choir’s catalog of more than fifty recordings showcases their extensive repertoire, encompassing both masterpieces and rarely performed musical treasures from Gregorian chant to the twenty-first century. “Superb” BBC; “Lovely, pure and radiant” Gramophone; “Rapturous a capella passages” Chicago Tribune.

Highlights of the choir’s career include three invitational tours to Russia, opening the 900th anniversary of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy, live radio and television broadcasts with the BBC, film soundtracks, the tree-lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Plaza, and performances in some of the finest concert halls throughout Eastern and Western Europe and across the United States.

The choir’s collaborative ventures have included a sixteen-city US tour of Mozart’s Requiem with Philippe Entremont and the Munich Symphony Orchestra (Columbia Artists, CAMI, LLC), performances in the United States and the United Kingdom with Her Majesty’s Coldstream Guards, concerts of of Mozart’s Requiem with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic in Russia, numerous collaborations with Vox Cæli Symphonia, world premiere concerts and recordings with Grammy-award-winning artist Mark O’Connor, and ten Holiday Tours with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra. They have also appeared on the concert stage and in recordings with John Williams, Samuel Adler, Stephen Cleobury, Vladimir Minin, and the late George Guest, Dr. Mary Berry, and Margaret Hillis, among others.

Gloriæ Dei Cantores makes its home at the Church of the Transfiguration (Orleans, MA) where the choir sings weekly worship services, seasonal concerts, and records throughout the year. The members’ ongoing life of worship—Sunday Eucharist, Choral Evensong, and Liturgy of the Hours in Gregorian Chant—is the foundation of the choir’s artistry, enabling their extensive repertoire to become a vibrant form of prayer in any setting. Their music conveys “a kind of utter, rapt, spiritual intensity, that you simply can’t imagine unless you’ve experienced it for yourself.” (American Record Guide)