The Dessoff Choirs to Open its Season with ‘Considering Matthew Shepard’

By Francisco Salazar

On Oct. 28, 2021, The Dessoff Choirs begins its 97th season with the New York premiere of “Considering Matthew Shepard” by Craig Hella Johnson.

The performance, which will take place at the New York Society for Ethical Culture Concert Hall, will be conducted by Dessoff’s Music Director Malcolm J. Merriweather and co-directed by WQXR Radio’s Elliott Forrest and Rod Caspers. The 100-minute, three-part oratorio is a musical response to the tragic death of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man who has become an American icon and a symbol of hope and empowerment.

The performance will feature The Dessoff Choirs and Orchestra, Brooklyn College’s Conservatory Singers, soloists Matthew Cahill in the part of Matthew Shepard, soprano Tami Petty, and baritone Markel Reed.

“Considering Matthew Shepard” premiered in 2018 in Austin, Texas and was broadcast on PBS and received a Grammy nomination for its 2016 recording.

Matthew Shephard was a gay man who was kidnapped on Oct. 6, 1998 and was beaten and left to die in what became an infamous act of brutality and one of America’s most notorious anti-gay hate crimes.