New York Polyphony

New York Polyphony, a celebrated classical vocal ensemble, will perform at the University of Montana.

Jiyang Chen, courtesy photo

If it's Christmas music you're after, next Thursday offers one of the most promising concerts of the season.

Vocal quartet New York Polyphony, who the New Yorker described as "singers of superb musicianship and vocal allure," will sing at the University of Montana.

The group comprises countertenor Geoffrey Williams; tenor Steven Caldicott; baritone Christopher Dylan Herbert; and bass Craig Phillips.

They've billed the concert as "an intimate meditation on Christmas" with a "sequence of unaccompanied music spanning seven centuries [that] offers a unique, diverse and spellbinding musical experience."

Listeners can expect chants from the 1500s alongside contemporary arrangements from composers born in 1970.

That's a format that the group has refined through their career. They've released two full albums of seasonal music: 2007's "I sing the birth" and 2015's "Sing thee Nowell," which WQXR called "a quiet seasonal treasure."

In its review of "Sing Thee," the Allmusic Guide wrote, "For many, though, the chief attraction will be the impeccably close harmonies of New York Polyphony, and that kind of sheer skill rarely coexists with such programming sophistication." Both "Sing Thee Nowell" and another album, "Times go by turns" were nominated for Grammy awards. 

The concert is the group's second appearance in Missoula this year, brought here courtesy of the John Ellis Endowment for Liturgical Music, which presents concerts and supports future organists.

The concert is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, at the Music Recital Hall at the University of Montana. Tickets are $30 general, $25 for seniors and $15 for students. To purchase, go to griztix.com or any GrizTix outlet.

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