Skylark Ensemble swoops through the area this week
Skylark, a professional a cappella vocal ensemble that shares members with some of Boston’s most esteemed institutions, is swooping through the area this week for a trio of concerts in Falmouth, Winchester, and Marblehead anticipating the group’s new album, “Crossing Over.” Each event will feature a program drawn from the new album, a mix of pieces by established composers (William Schuman, John Tavener, Jón Leifs) and substantial emerging voices (Anna Thorvaldsdóttir, Daniel Elder, Robert Vuichard).
Formed in 2011 by artistic director and conductor Matthew Guard, a Harvard graduate, Skylark claims both Boston and Atlanta as home bases. Among the group’s members are singers familiar for their work in such prominent local institutions as the Handel and Haydn Society, Blue Heron, Boston Baroque, and Lorelei Ensemble. Devoted to promoting music education, Skylark makes a practice of donating up to 40 percent of its proceeds to charities funding educational programs.
“Crossing Over,” Skylark’s second album, is due March 25 on Sono Luminus, an innovative young label making waves for its distinctive repertoire choices and audiophile recordings. Cited already as “Album of the Week” by the contemporary-classical Web radio station Q2 Music (which is streaming the set in its entirety for a limited time), “Crossing Over” ponders death and what might lie beyond, including perspectives derived from poetry by Walt Whitman and John Donne, in music that ranges from somber and contemplative to reassuring and ecstatic. The album presents the program on two discs: a conventional CD and a high-definition Blu-ray audio disc offering 9.1 surround sound.
The concerts will be held at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Falmouth on March 16, Parish of the Epiphany in Winchester on March 17, and St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Marblehead on March 18. Admission to the concerts is free, with donations accepted. For more information, see www.skylarkensemble.org.