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PLU to present US premiere of St. Matthew Passion as part of larger “Passion Week” event

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PLU Christmas 2015, "A Christmas Invitation" at Benaroya Hall, Home of the Seattle Symphony, Seattle, on Monday, Dec. 7, 2015. (Photo: John Froschauer/PLU)

Image: PLU Christmas 2015, “A Christmas Invitation” at Benaroya Hall, Home of the Seattle Symphony, Seattle, on Monday, Dec. 7, 2015. (Photo: John Froschauer/PLU)

January 14, 2016
By Mandi LeCompte
Outreach Manager

Save the date for Tacoma Passion Week, March 13-23

PLU’s Choral Union, Choir of the West and University Symphony Orchestra will join forces to present the United States premiere of Sven-David Sandström’s St. Matthew Passion (Matthäuspassion) on Tuesday, March 22 and Wednesday, March 23 at 8pm in Lagerquist Concert Hall. The ensembles will be joined by a group of notable alumni soloists, including Metropolitan Opera soprano Angela Meade ’01, New-York based tenor Anthony Webb ’05, Bass-Baritone Benjamin Harris ‘09, as well as recent graduates Annie Herzog ’15 (Mezzo-soprano) and Eric Olson ‘15 (Baritone). Renowned Swedish conductor Stefan Parkman will lead the performances.

Sven-David Sandström (born in 1942) is one of Sweden’s foremost composers, with a large catalog of opera, oratorio, ballet, choral and symphonic works to his credit. This new Passion is patterned after the famous settings of the texts by Johann Sebastian Bach. Sandström uses an Evangelist, sung by a quartet of PLU students, to narrate the story, and soloists portray the various major characters. The chorus provides commentary on the action, and at times is used to portray certain characters. The musical drama is set in the form of a large oratorio, spanning over two hours in length, with numerous arias, choruses and chorales, all accompanied by symphony orchestra.

PLU’s concerts are part of a larger Puget Sound “Passion Week,” entitled Passion: Compassion: Empassion (March 13 – 23). Join the community discussion on Facebook at

Sunday, March 13, at 5pm | Christ Episcopal Church in Tacoma

The University of Washington Chamber Singers (conducted by Geoffrey Boers) will present Passio, a large-scale unaccompanied choral work by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt at 5:00 pm on Sunday, March 13 at Christ Episcopal Church in Tacoma. The concert will be preceded by a lecture at 4 pm featuring University of Oregon composer Robert Kyr.

Sunday, March 20 at 2:30 pm | Pantages Theater

On Sunday, March 20 at 7:30 pm (Pantages Theater) the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (conducted by Sarah Ioannides) will perform the Water Passion, by Chinese contemporary composer Tan Dun. Commemorating the 250th Anniversary of J.S. Bach, the work features soloists, chorus, and water percussion:  bowls and basins filled with water, manipulated by hand and amplified by contact microphones. Tan Dun’s music is a fascinating, refreshing blend of Western classical music and traditional Chinese ritual.

PLU’s School of Arts and Communication is an associate level sponsor of the concert.

Tuesday, March 22 & Wednesday, March 23, 8 pm | Lagerquist Concert Hall

PLU presents the US premiere of Sven-David Sandström’s St. Matthew Passion Tuesday, March 22 and Wednesday, March 23, 8 pm in Lagerquist Concert Hall.

Join us for a pre-concert Q&A with Sven-David Sandström on Monday, March 21, noon in Lagerquist Concert Hall. The Q&A will be livestreamed at

A video interview with the Sandstrom:
Streaming Concerts

Music performances in Lagerquist Concert Hall and Eastvold Auditorium are streamed on our website. (Some exceptions apply.)

Tune in March 23