Stephen Mager: Composer -- Conductor

Upcoming performances and lectures

February 28, 2015 – Broadway Pops concert: Masterworks Chorale performs music of Hoagy Carmichael, Stephen Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Cole Porter. Hettenhausen Center for the Arts, Lebanon, Illinois. Saturday, February 28, 7:30 p.m.

April 20, 2015 – Lecture-Demonstration: “Taking the mystery out of composing.” Sponsored by the American Guild of Organists, Saint Louis chapter. Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Saint Louis. The presentation will include a discussion of keyboard improvisation as an entrée to written musical invention. The event is free.

May 2 – 3, 2015 – Concert: Springtime Serenade, by the Masterworks Chorale, and the Chamber Singers of Southwestern Illinois College. Major works: Poulenc Gloria, Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music. Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis  and  St. Paul UCC, Belleville / Saturday – Sunday, May 2 – 3,  7:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Recent events

December 14, 2014 – A Masterworks Christmas: Concert performance by the Masterworks Chorale and Orchestra of Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit. Also featured: works by Herbert Howells, Francis Poulenc, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and favorite carols.

October 19, 2014 – The Promise of Living – The Masterworks Chorale presented a joint concert with the Choirs of Southwestern Illinois College, Dr. Andrew Jensen, conductor. Music of recent and contemporary American composers, including selections by Leonard Bernstein, Morton Lauridsen, Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, Stephen Paulus, Alice Parker and Moses Hogan.

August, 2014 – Recording project underway. Dr. Mager has re-convened the Arcangeli Chamber Chorus for a new recording of Christmas carol settings. The project is currently in the editing process. The new CD recording will be available in time for Christmas, 2015.

May 18, 2014 – Premiere of Serenade – The Equinox Chamber Players of Saint Louis gave the world premiere of the Serenade for woodwind quintet. The performance was given at Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Saint Louis. The performance included an introductory lecture demonstration by the composer, of the musical subject matter of the work, with the participation of Equinox.

August 10, 2013 – Performance of excerpts from Illuminations at the National Flute Association convention in New Orleans. The performance will be given by piccolo soloist Jan Gippo, together with guest harp and soprano soloists. Mr. Gippo commissioned the work and gave the first performance in 2003.

April, 2012 – Premieres of several works, including a major work performed by the Bach Society of Saint Louis. [See Composer for more details.]

March 24/25, 2012 – Conducted the Masterworks Chorale in two performances of a cappella sacred masterpieces by Bruckner, Duruflé, Rachmaninoff, and others. Performances were at the Saint Louis Abbey Church (March 24), and Saint Clare Catholic Church, O’Fallon, Illinois (March 25). Soloists included Susan Niederer, soprano; John Missel, tenor; and Kevin Koontz, baritone.

March 6, 2012 – Presented a seminar lecture for the Choral Department at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University. The topic centered on Christian liturgies and related musical forms.

December 11, 2011 – Conducted the Masterworks Chorale and Orchestra in the annual Masterworks Christmas, featuring Vivaldi’s Gloria and Respighi’s Adoration of the Magi, and selected carols. The program, at St. Clare Catholic Church, O’Fallon, Illinois, also featured soprano Gina Malone and mezzo-soprano Debra Hillabrand.

October 16, 2011 – Conducted the Masterworks Chorale and Orchestra in a performance of sacred music of Mozart, including the Coronation Mass, K. 317. The program, at St. Paul United Church of Christ, Belleville, Illinois, also included a performance of Exsultate jubilate, K. 165, with soprano Stella Markou.

June, 2011 – Received a number of commissions for new works, including a major work for the Bach Society of Saint Louis. [See Composer for more details].

June 12, 2011 – Directed Pentecost Sunday performances of choral masterworks by Palestrina, Tallis, and Aichinger, as well as an excerpt from Bach’s motet, Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf. The service music also included Pentecost organ selections by Maurice Duruflé and Marcel Dupré. The performances were given in worship at Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Saint Louis.

April 24, 2011 – Directed Easter Sunday performances of Bach’s Cantata BWV 4, Christ lag in Todesbanden. Soloists were Gina Malone, soprano, Matt Bear, tenor, and Andrew Schmidt, baritone. The performances were given in worship services at Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Saint Louis.

March 20, 2011 – Conducted the Masterworks Chorale and Children’s Chorus in a performance of the Requiem, Opus 48, by Gabriel Fauré. The program, at St. Clare Catholic Church, O’Fallon, Illinois, also included several works by Franz Schubert. Soloists included Stella Markou, soprano, and Thomas Florio, baritone.

February 6, 2011 – Performed an evensong organ recital at Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church, Ladue, Part of the monthly Choral Evensong at Saint Peter’s series. Program included the complete Suite du Deuxième Ton by Louis-Nicolas Clérambault and the Choral in A minor by César Franck, given on the 2001 N. P. Mander organ. The program was repeated on March 3, 2011 on the Aeolian-Skinner organ at Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Saint Louis. The March performance of Franck’s Chorale in A minor may be heard here.

January, 2011 – Lecture series presentation: Sacred Music in Crisis: Musical Style and the Crossfade of Cultures. An exploration of the relative values and characteristics of “classical” music, folk music, jazz, and rock, and discussion of their potential for application to a Christian worship context. Delivered at Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church, January 16, 23, & 30.

December, 2010 – Many choruses throughout the United States performed carols by Stephen Mager in their annual holiday concerts. Canto Deo Festival Chorus, Denver, Colorado, conducted by Jonathan Brown, performed several Mager carol settings. Click here to hear their performances of Long, Long Ago; Come, All Ye Shepherds; and Shepherds, Shake Off Your Drowsy Sleep. The Greater South Jersey Chorus performed another Mager carol, Ding-Dong, Merrily on High.

December 12, 2010 – Conducted the Masterworks Chorale and Children’s Chorus in a performance of L’Enfance du Christ, parts I and II, by Hector Berlioz. Soloists included mezzo-soprano Jacquelyn Matava, baritone Thomas Florio, and bass Andrew Kroes. The performance took place at St. Clare Catholic Church, O’Fallon, Illinois.

October 17, 2010 – Led a performance by the Masterworks Chorale of Carissimi’s biblical oratorio, Jephte. Featured in the title role was soprano Gina Malone. The program also included other Italian and English music of the early seventeenth century, including music of Claudio Monteverdi. The performance featured projected images of artwork contemporaneous with the musical repertoire. The concert was given at the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts, Lebanon, Illinois.

September/October, 2010 – Presented a series of lectures for the Choral Department at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University. The topic centered on principles of orchestration manifest in the choral repertoire.

July, 2010 – Presented a four-week course entitled, Music in the Church: Discovering our foundations, expanding our horizons. The course, intended for non-musicians, gave an overview of Christian worship history (particularly in the West) and speculated on the crisis of contemporary sacred music. Sponsored by the Lutheran School of Theology, Saint Louis.