British Prof Is Coaching Harvard University Choir

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An Oxford University faculty member is coaching the Harvard University Choir group as it prepares to sing the American debut of French composer Mondonville's De Profondis.

Edward Higginbottom, a music director and faculty member of New College at Oxford, has come to Harvard for a week to guide the singers through the mid-eighteenth century piece.

Several years ago, Higginbottom discovered a facsimile edition of the original manuscript of De Profondis. That prompted him to prepare the orchestral scores and vocal parts for the first modern performance of the piece.

A recording one such performance caught the attention of Murray Forbes Somerville, director of the Choir, who decided to bring his British colleague overseas to help the Harvard Choir prepare to sing the piece at its spring concert on March 16.

"It's better for people to get information first-hand rather than second-hand," Somerville said. Higginbottom "can make things vivid for the choir," he added.


University Choir Secretary Margit Anna McGrath '91 said she has been impressed by Higginbottom's knowledge of French baroque music and said that the Choir is learning much from him.

"He is helping us to perfect [the music] and get the feel of what it is like," McGrath said.

In addition to coaching the Choir, Higginbottom will give a lecture and a lunch-time concert. The visit is Higginbottom's first trip to the U.S.