FUSEBOX BIG SING, Fusebox 2014
The word “conspirare” is from the Latin “con” and “spirare,” meaning “to breathe together.”
Founded in 1991 to present a summer classical music festival in Austin, Texas, Conspirare has become an internationally recognized, professional choral organization now in its twenty-first season. Led by founder and artistic director Craig Hella Johnson, Conspirare is comprised of two performing ensembles and an educational program. A professional chamber choir (“Conspirare” or “Company of Voices”) of extraordinarily talented singers from around the country is presented in an annual concert series in Austin, other Texas communities, and locations in the U.S. and abroad. The Conspirare Symphonic Choir of both professional and volunteer singers performs large choral/instrumental works, often in collaboration with other organizations such as the Austin Symphony. The Conspirare Youth Choirs is an educational program for singers ages 8-17, who learn and perform in two separate ensembles, Kantorei and Allegro (formerly Conspirare Children’s Choir).
Conspirare made its first commercial recording through the green fuse in 2004 on the Clarion Records label. A second CD, Requiem, also on Clarion and since reissued by Harmonia Mundi, was released in 2006 and received two Grammy® nominations. Harmonia Mundi released Requiem internationally in 2009, and it received the Netherlands’ prestigious 2010 Edison Award in the choral music category. The Edison is the Dutch equivalent of the U.S. Grammy.
Threshold of Night was released worldwide in 2008 on the Harmonia Mundi label, Conspirare’s first title for the distinguished recording company, and received two Grammy nominations. In 2008, in cooperation with Austin’s public television station KLRU, Conspirare filmed the PBS television special “A Company of Voices: Conspirare in Concert,” which was broadcast nationally in 2009, is available on both DVD and CD, and received a Grammy nomination. Conspirare’s next recordings were Sing Freedom! African American Spirituals and Samuel Barber: An American Romantic, released in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Its latest CD in September 2013 features two world premiere works by Pulitzer-winning composer Kevin Puts.
In 2005 Conspirare received the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence from national service organization Chorus America. In 2007, as one of the select choruses to receive a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts under its American Masterpieces initiative, Conspirare presented a four-day festival with a distinguished gathering of composers and conductors, performances of three world premieres, and a gala closing concert with a 600-voice choir.
In July 2008 Conspirare represented the U.S. at the Eighth World Symposium on Choral Music in Copenhagen, joining invited choirs from nearly forty countries. The choir has performed at the American Choral Directors Association annual convention and for several regional ACDA conventions. Conspirare received the 2010 Dale Warland Singers Commission Award from Chorus America to support the commission of a new work by Seattle composer Eric Banks. In February 2011 Conspirare gave three invited performances in New York City under auspices of the Weill Music Institute of Carnegie Hall. In March 2012 the ensemble toured several Midwestern states, and in fall 2012 traveled to France for six invited performances at the Polyfollia Festival and a public concert in Paris. Conspirare became a Resident Company of the Long Center for the Performing Arts in 2013.