Ensemble Altera is dedicated to fostering a greater awareness of and engagement with all forms of choral and group singing within local and global communities. In fulfillment of this mission, the ensemble will present physical and virtual concerts; record audio and video albums; conduct educational outreach in schools, at conferences and through broadcasts; and will tour nationally and globally. The guiding principles informing each of these endeavors are a commitment to the highest artistic and pedagogical standards of performance and teaching, the healing power of music, and the essential and enduring role the arts play in representing and understanding the human condition.
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.
"The Lamb’s Journey' was sublime. Impeccable blending, perfectly in tune, and a rich and diverse repertoire featuring a great mix of composers both ancient and contemporary. This choir is going places. I’ll never miss a concert!"
- Audience Member
Director / Countertenor
Director Christopher Lowrey was born and raised in Johnston, RI, and trained at Brown University, the University of Cambridge, where he sang under Stephen Layton with Trinity College Choir, and the Royal College of Music. In addition to conducting, he enjoys a dynamic international solo career as a countertenor, working at some of the world’s leading opera houses and concert platforms, including the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, the Philharmonie de Paris, The London Symphony Orchestra, and this season he will be making his debuts with Theater an der Wien, The National Symphony Orchestra, Opera Australia, and The Grange Festival in the UK.
Agnes Coakley Cox
Katelyn Grace Jackson
Alissa Ruth Suver
Andrew Leslie Cooper
Andrew Bearden Brown
Michael Garrepy, Warwick, RI, Artistic Advisor
Tim Harbold, Boston, MA
Simon Holt, Stonington, CT, Chair
Phyllis Hoffman, Boston, MA
Gregory J. King, Baltimore, MD
Jared Kornblatt, Boston, MA
Christopher Lowrey, Johnston, RI, Artistic Director
Donna Lowrey, Johnston, RI, Secretary
Mark Meyer, Dallas, TX
Trevor S. Neal, Newport, RI
Reverend Janet Cooper Nelson, Providence, RI
Charles Oliver, Attleboro, MA, Treasurer
Dwight E. Porter, Stoneham, MA
Camilla de Rochambeau, North Kingstown, RI
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