INTERVIEW: Four years after our initial interview for Washington Life Magazine upon his arrival to DC, Choral Arts Society of Washington Artistic Director Scott Tucker sat down for a ‘mini-reunion interview’ to talk about his time in DC, the upcoming performance of Mozart’s beloved Requiem and the musical juxtaposition of both grief and joy.
by Patrick D. McCoy
PDM: It’s been four years-What runs through your mind since landing here in the musical tapestry of Washington, succeeding the late Norman Scribner?
Scott Tucker: Four years! Time has flown. I am very happy in this very choral city, and it seems there is more to do than time to do it. My only regret is that there are more performances to attend than evenings I have free! I miss Norman, of course and Reilly (the late J. Reilly Lewis, founder of the Washington Bach Consort). Things have changed a lot here already. So there will be a new colleague at The Washington Chorus, and I am looking forward to welcoming him/her to the city.
PDM: There are so many settings of the Requiem. What makes the performances of the work popular this time of year? Talk about your choice to program Mozart’s setting this Spring.
ST: Since the late 1400s, the Requiem text is one of the “meatiest” that composers have tackled, and we choral conductors gravitate toward these settings as they tend to bring out the best in a composer. In Mozart’s case, it is not just the text itself which spurred his creativity, but the fact that he was facing his own mortality while writing it.
PDM: There is an element of completion when it comes to Mozart’s Requiem-it has been done so by a few others. What are some of the significant highlights of the version you have chosen to use?
ST: I have chosen the version completed by Franz Süssmayr, Mozart’s student/assistant, because despite the brilliance of some of the modern completions, Süssmayr was there at Mozart’s side in the last weeks of his life, and while the completion may not be perfect, it is still extraordinary, and the most likely to reflect Mozart’s intent.
Maestro Scott Tucker will conduct The Choral Arts Society of Washington in the Mozart Requiem performed from memory on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 5:00 pm in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall with soprano Yuanming Song, mezzo-soprano Allegra De Vita, tenor Matthew Loyal Smith and bass Wei Wu.
Also featured on the program is Mozart’s timeless motet “Ave Verum Corpus” paired alongside a world premiere setting of the same text by the young composer Jake Runestad (b. 1986)
For more information and tickets, CLICK HERE.
—A native of Petersburg, Virginia, Patrick D. McCoy is a graduate of Virginia State University and Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Virginia. He has been an arts contributor for Examiner.com, CBS Washington, The Afro American Newspaper and most recently was the Performing Arts Columnist at Washington Life Magazine for four years. As a church musician, he currently serves as Organist/Choirmaster at Saint John’s Episcopal Church (Zion Parish) in Beltsville, Maryland. Visit www.patrickdmccoy.com for all of your arts news and send press releases and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.