Saint Martin’s University community and others to perform Britten’s Canticles

Nov, 8 2013

Britten Canticles

Musicians from within Saint Martin’s Abbey, Saint Martin’s University and surrounding communities will perform the five Canticles of Edward Benjamin Britten Saturday, Nov. 23, at 7:30 p.m., in the Abbey Church, located on the University campus, 5000 Abbey Way. The concert is free and open to the public.

The concert, organized by Br. Aelred Woodard, O.S.B., a tenor and one of the performers, is among many worldwide celebrations being held to honor the 100th anniversary of Britten’s birth. He was born on the Feast of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music, on Nov. 22, 1913. Britten was an English composer, conductor and pianist who was considered a central figure of 20th-century British classical music. His works range from orchestral to choral, solo vocal, chamber, instrumental and film music.

“The Canticles are vivid, dramatic works. Although they were not designed to be performed together, they span virtually Britten’s entire career, from the early 1940s to the mid-1970s, and were composed for a variety of forces and singers. They form a remarkably effective sequence,” says Woodard. “Each is in some way inspired by religion and takes the form of an extended song, scena, miniature cantata or, even in the case of the piece Abraham and Isaac, virtually a mini opera.”

In addition to Woodard, the other performers include faculty of Saint Martin’s; Art Peterson, a well-known musician in the Northwest who teaches piano and music theory at Saint Martin’s; Andrew Moyer, associate treasurer of Saint Martin’s Abbey; Christopher Poulakidas, a Saint Martin’s music graduate; Jocelyn Preston, who performs frequently in the South Sound area as a mezzo soloist; Gina Gillie, Ph.D., associate professor of music at Pacific Lutheran University and Margaret Shelton, harpist and recent winner of the Watson Fellowship. The fellowship sponsored Shelton’s year-long world tour to research, perform and build harps.

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 23 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,100 undergraduate students and 400 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 300 more undergraduate students to its extension campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Centralia College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at

For additional information:

Meg Nugent Dwyer
Media relations manager