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How Contagious is Andrew Lipke's THE PLAGUE?

Barry Lively
Andrew Lipke

The Choral Arts Philadelphia concert series, Bach@7, has a new modern name on its May 4th concert program: Andrew Lipke — a singer/guitarist better known at local pop music clubs — in his new oratorio titled The Plague. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports how contagious it might be. 


DPS: The lush production values of Andrew Lipke's ambitious pop albums are not far away from those of classical music. But the sounds he creates in his basement recording studio in Fishtown aren't always enough. 

AL:  I could do it on my own, like, I could use midi strings or fake strings or whatever and get all those same sounds, but that's not satisfying to me. I want it to be with the players who can bring their energy to it.I want it to have these people bringing their soul into the music and playing it, owning in a such way that lifts the emotion of the notes up. 

DPS: It was Choral Arts artistic director Matthew Glandorf who heard Lipke's album, The Plague, about holy wars and end-of-the-world matters, and suggested he make a new version for Choral Arts to sing at St. Clement's Episcopal Church. Lipke ended up re-examining the piece at its core.

AL:  As opposed to, like, there's this thing exists already and now we're going to put some things on top of it - give it a fancier outfit. And now it's the same thing, but it's 2.0, you know? I didn't want that at all.

DPS: A charismatic vocalist, he'll be among the performers in a piece that's not doom and gloom, but looks at the apocalypse mentality, and how fearing the future colors the present. 

AL: The idea is that if this is happening, there's nothing you can do about it. 

DPS: He'll experience something similar when The Plague is heard outside the hermetically sealed recording studio. 

AL: In giving up control, you're also letting it have life.

Information about the concert