P r e s s  /  R e v i e w s

REGIONAL SPOTLIGHT

Four Quartets, op. 92 - Johannes Brahms

(March 2012)

AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE
In Paradisum: The Healing Power of Heaven
Lindsay Koob
(March/April 2013)

 

GRAMOPHONE MAGAZINE

In Paradisum: The Healing Power of Heaven

Donald Rosenberg

(October 2012)

INDEPENDENT REVIEW

In Paradisum: The Healing Power of Heaven

Steve Kennedy

(June 2012)

REGIONAL SPOTLIGHT

Jesu Meine Freude, BWV 225 - Johann Sebastian Bach

(March 2012)

"The South Dakota Chorale led by Brian Schmidt is a first-rate ensemble that sings with understanding and beauty and captures the heart with their performance of the Bach motet, Jesu, Meine Freude."

"Bach at its best! Sung with understanding and joy."

                                                                                                             - Steve Staruch (Minnesota Public Radio)



“To say the album is an impressive debut is an understatement." 

"Having thoroughly overwhelmed the listener with the opening of the program, the sheer beauty of Durufle’s Requiem becomes icing on the cake. The results are simply amazing in what is likely to be one of the best performances of this work one is likely to hear."

 


 

​                   Read the full review HERE

"[The South Dakota Chorale] introduces their kaleidoscopic sense of choral sonority…The ‘power of heaven’ noted in the title is depicted through rich and impassioned lines that are distinctive in shape, shading and personality.”



 

"The Chorale and their conductor Brian A. Schmidt provide the writing with cohesive and expressive definition…Schmidt presides over a luminous account of the Duruflé [Requiem]."
                                                      

 

"The choir brings its entire range of sonic qualities to bear here, ranging from transparently pure and tender straight tones to robust and full-throated choral glory."


"Few American choirs (or, for that matter, any others) have made this kind of open-mouthed, soul-satisfying first impression on me."
                                                     

                                    

Read the full review HERE

Read the full review HERE

The South Dakota Chorale was cited in the body of works that contributed to Blanton Alspaugh's 2013 GRAMMY® award for "Best Classical Producer". 



Congrats Blanton and congrats singers!

DUKE VESPERS ENSEMBLE
The Leipzig Legacy: Bach and His Predecessors
Geoffrey Simon
Classical Voice of North Carolina
(October 2013)

 

Read the full review HERE

"The singers blended their voices well, waking the reverberant acoustic of Duke Chapel with their floating sounds...sung elegantly and movingly."


"Bach likely never heard it played and sung any better...In short, an evening of music beautifully sung and played and, as befits a major university, also serving to enlighten its audience by providing the historical context of this significant music."
                                                     

 

CHORAL JOURNAL
In Paradisum: The Healing Power of Heaven
Alan Denney
(October 2013)
Read the full review HERE
DUKE VESPERS ENSEMBLE
Lasso: The Tears of St. Peter
Geoffrey Simon
Classical Voice of North Carolina
(March 2014)

 

Read the full review HERE

"The performance was, in a word, exquisite. In the darkened chapel, the setting sun illuminated the brilliant colors of the chancel window's many-hued stained glass, including the golden representation of Peter himself; the Gothic acoustics carried the ensemble's sound to the farthest reaches of the nave, providing an extended peroration for each concluding chord. The choral blend and balance were superb, the solo voices secure and musical."

 

"The Vespers Ensemble is a credit to Duke University; while it does not command the following of the justly-well-known athletic programs, it sets a standard of performance to which all should aspire."

 

GRAMOPHONE
Sacred Songs of Life and Love
Caroline Gill
(April 2015)

 

"The South Dakota Chorale started their recording career relatively recently but they are more than well suited to this full-bodied repertoire."


"They address the common lyricism of the music through a warmth of sound and sonority that is not only notably varied in tone and colour but which is all but perfect in blend, ensemble and intonation."
                                                     

                                    

Read the full review HERE
DUKE VESPERS ENSEMBLE
Bach Vespers
Geoffrey Simon
Classical Voice of North Carolina
(October 2015)

 

Read the full review HERE

"The Vespers Ensemble is one of the finest non-professional vocal groups I've had the opportunity to hear. Schmidt's clear, non-histrionic conducting shapes phrases with regard for their musical and textual construction; his singers [28 in the current roster], using minimal vibrato, blend beautifully, but also number some fine solo voices in their midst."

 

"Pastoral leadership was given by German Lutheran Pastor Anne Gidion, currently a Guest Lecturer at Duke Divinity School.In addition to reading the Gospel in German and offering a prayer by Martin Luther, she gave a brief meditation in which she mentioned several topics on which she might have expounded but did not, because, in her words, "Tonight, the music is everything." Together with its texts, it was, indeed, everything, and everything well done!"

See and hear a recap HERE
2015 National ACDA Performances
Sacred Songs of Life and Love
Paul Carey, composer/critic
(February 2015)

 

Read the full review HERE

"For many...this may have seemed to be very strange music, but I loved how so many of them stayed fully engaged in the music and the absolutely riveting performance by the Chorale. This was one of the highlight reel performances of ACDA's four days. In fact, I don't think I heard a more amazingly flawless program from any other choir in the four days at SLC."


"The programming and pacing was perfect on many levels, the singing was incredibly rich and highly professional without ever sounding like a group of pros phoning in a performance, and Schmidt's conducting was what you hope for; wherein a conductor allows a piece and a choir to create magic in real time--the conductor functioning as a superbly talented facilitator in service to the performers, music, and audience--without ever succumbing to the messed-up ego of the uber-conductor. Hey, Lennie Bernstein, are you listenin'?"
                                                   

"If there is a better vocal/instrumental chamber group in the Triangle area of NC, I have yet to hear it; Schmidt's group sets a standard worthy to be emulated." 

 

"It was refreshing to hear so much glorious music from the Lutheran and Roman Catholic traditions in our time when many parishes are rarely exposed to it. Congratulations to the NC HIP Music Festival for including this Lenten musical journey in its offerings, and to Schmidt and his musical forces for sharing their musical gifts with a large and appreciative audience."

 

DUKE VESPERS ENSEMBLE
Miserere: Lenten Baroque Music
Geoffrey Simon
Classical Voice of North Carolina
(February 2016)

 

Read the full review HERE

"Subtly bathed in soft blue light, Duke Chapel was filled with ethereal and magical sounds."

"After the final Kyrie, the audience sat in perfect silence for several moments; perhaps no one wanted to break the spell of the awesome music. And then, as one, applause filled the chapel with gratitude and appreciation."

"All of this added up to one of those memorable, magical, special experiences in Duke Chapel...This performance will go down in the book of treasured memories."

DUKE VESPERS ENSEMBLE
Victoria Requiem a6
Ken Hoover
Classical Voice of North Carolina
(November 2016)

 

DUKE CHAPEL BACH CANTATA SERIES
Bach Cantata #211 - The Coffee Cantata
Cynthia R. Greenlee
Bon Appétit
(June 14, 2017)

 

"On a gray afternoon, in Durham, North Carolina, the Duke University Bach Chorale was performing the 20-minute piece in Fullsteam Brewery, an ideal place because, as chorale director Brian Schmidt put it, "we know that Bach loved his family, God and sacred music. And we also know he loved beer, brandy, and coffee."

Reviews of the GRAMMY-nominated TYBERG MASSES
The South Dakota Chorale is honored to receive 2018 GRAMMY© nominations in the following categories: 
   • Best Choral Performance
   • Best Engineered—Classical
   • Best Surround Sound