Conspirare ‘House of Belonging’ featuring Miro Quartet violist: John Largess

Crossover Media
3 min readSep 20, 2023

As they begin their 30th Season, the GRAMMY® Award-winning choral ensemble from Austin, Texas, Conspirare, presents an emotionally rich and wide-ranging program in their new Delos recording: ‘House of Belonging.’ Known worldwide for expanding the boundaries of choral performance, Conspirare has teamed up with the superb Miró Quartet to present a tapestry of intriguing new works by dynamic American composers: Kevin Puts, Derrick Skye, Alex Berko, Moira Smiley, Ross Lee Finney, Share-a Nova, Michael Schachter and Margaret Bonds.

Conspirare founder and leader, Craig Hella Johnson, commissioned many of the pieces on House of Belonging and composed the opening track himself. The album’s thoughtful texts explore themes about spirituality, philosophy, the natural world, and the human need for deep connection with verses by Ewen Tait, John Muir, William Stafford, Wendell Berry, Ru-bin-druh-nath Tu-gore, David Whyte, Langston Hughes, Ludwig van Beethoven and Hildegard of Bingen.

The Miró Quartet is one of America’s most celebrated and dedicated string quartets. Described by ‘The New Yorker’ magazine as “furiously committed” and the ‘Cleveland Plain Dealer’ as having an “exceptional tonal focus and interpretive intensity,”, Miro is the Quartet-in-residence at the University of Texas’ Butler School of Music, and for over twenty-five years, has performed on the world’s most prestigious concert stages.

Miró violist: John Largess is a Curtis Institute and Yale University graduate. In 1995 he toured the United States and Canada with the Colorado String Quartet. Appointed principal violist of the Charleston Symphony the following year, in 1997 Mr. Largess joined the Miró Quartet and has been a vital fixture ever since. An active speaker and writer about all things chamber‐music, the violist also holds a degree in Classical Archeology which has led to his participation in excavations in Greece, Israel, and Jordan. John Largess is here with us to discuss Conspirare, new Delos recording: ‘House of Belonging,’ as well as give us his unique musical perspective.

Conspirare’s new recording: ‘House of Belonging’ is a dynamic and timely collection of American music for voices and with instruments. Curated and conducted by Craig Hella Johnson, the album showcases the unique combination of choral virtuosity and extraordinarily beautiful human expression in works by composers and poets diverse in age, geography, and ethnicity who speak to our internal and external sense of home and belonging. Each composer, in their unique voice, offers a reflection point for listeners.

Conspirare’s ongoing commitment to commissioning and performing music of today’s most vibrant living composers is reflected in these world premiere recordings. Conspirare’s nationwide roster of vocal artists Simon Barrad, Meg Dudley, Haitham Haidar, Chelsea Helm, Michael Jones, Lauren McAllister, Savannah Porter, Kathlene Ritch, and David Kurtenbach Rivera are featured as soloists on the album.

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