A chamber choir of “seamless ensemble perfection” (The Boston Musical Intelligencer), ENSEMBLE ALTERA was founded to be the beating heart of professional choral music in the United States. Led by internationally celebrated countertenor Christopher Lowrey, the group has quickly become known for thoughtful programming, passionate performances, and tireless advocacy for the importance of ensemble singing in the broader music culture.
Recent programs include Dazzling Light, an exploration of illumination in the physical and metaphysical worlds, Sure on this Shining Night, featuring American choral music of the last century, a boldly reimagined chamber version of Handel’s Messiah, co-presented with Newport Classical, The Lamb’s Journey, drawing on many periods and styles to depict the Christ narrative, We Watch & Welcome: Feminine Voices at Christmas, featuring works by seven female composers for treble voices arrayed around Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, and We Remember, a musical journey of healing and reflection in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout its short history, Altera has received universally rave reviews, creating “some of the best choral singing by an American choir”. Upcoming projects include A Christmas Present, a sumptuous collection of seasonal music written in the new millennium, and A New Song: Psalms for the Soul, charting a survey of the Psalms of David, in all their dizzying variety. Additionally, in 2024 Altera undertakes their first tour, to Texas, and makes their debut at Carnegie Hall in Brahms’ Requiem, with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.
Deeply committed to championing new works and lifting up new voices, over the past few seasons Altera has premiered works by Motshwane Pege, Toby Young, Joanna Marsh, Daniel Gledhill, Zuzanna Koziej, and Michael Garrepy. In addition to performing, Ensemble Altera undertakes an extensive education and outreach program. Such activities include clinics and interactive presentations with school students in a variety of settings, with a particular focus on opening musical horizons to those from underserved backgrounds. Additionally, Altera has a profound faith in the healing power of music both in and out of the concert hall, and is proud to offer its complete recorded music library free of charge in collaboration with select partners in music therapy.