Series Debuts With Free Performance of Verdi's 'Requiem'

Cambridge Symphony Orchestra Conductor Cynthia Wood Image by Sam Brewer

Cambridge Symphony Orchestra Music Director Cynthia Woods leads the ensemble in this file photo.

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Contacts for media: Emily Gowdey-Backus, director of media relations, and Nancy Cicco, assistant director of media relations,

Uniting two Massachusetts communities through one of the most breathtaking pieces of classical music ever written, the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra (CSO) kicks off its 48th season with back-to-back performances of Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem at UMass Lowell and venues in Cambridge this November.

Under the direction of CSO Music Director Cynthia Woods, performances will feature more than 60 students and alumni of the UMass Lowell University Choir and Chamber Singers, where the two-concert series begins Friday, Nov. 4. The concerts mark the largest on-stage performances for UMass Lowell music students since the start of the pandemic. 

The concert series convenes diverse and multigenerational communities from the Merrimack Valley to Greater Boston to celebrate a shared love of music. Through the power of the human voice and exquisite orchestration, Verdi’s Requiem takes listeners on an enthralling journey from profound loss to the terror of judgment day to the hope of eternal life. 

UMass Lowell lecturer Jonathan Richter prepared the choral groups for the performances. 

"For music students at UMass Lowell, sharing the stage with the CSO and Nashoba Valley Chorale will be a powerful experience," said Richter, director of the University Choir and Chamber Singers at UMass Lowell. "The Verdi Requiem is a bucket-list piece for anyone who loves to sing choral music, but this event carries special significance. Together on stage, professionals, amateurs and student musicians from many diverse backgrounds will join as one, representing not just a musical achievement but a beautiful collaboration between members of different local communities, generations and artistic institutions." 

Concerts will also feature acclaimed soloists Indra Thomas, Joanna Porackova, Giovanni Formisano, Ron Loyd and members of the celebrated Nashua Valley Chorale, which is directed by Anne Watson Born. 

"As a forward-facing orchestra, we're committed to growing deep roots in our community as we work to keep music accessible to all," said CSO music director Cynthia Woods. "We're delighted to collaborate with the fantastic choral singers at UMass Lowell, the members of the Nashua Valley Chorale, a cast of internationally acclaimed vocalists, and audiences throughout Massachusetts who are in for a stunning set of concerts."

As part of its mission to forge strong community ties through music, the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra highlights a local nonprofit as a Spotlight Partner during each concert series. The Spotlight Partner for this series is House of Hope, a Lowell-based nonprofit dedicated to helping homeless families gain stable housing through a service model based on respect, dignity and compassion. Learn more at

The first performance of Verdi’s Requiem takes place at UMass Lowell’s Durgin Hall on Friday, Nov. 4 at 8 pm. Tickets are free and open to the public. The program repeats at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium on Sunday, Nov. 6 at 4 pm. The CSO continues to abide by pandemic protocols in adherence to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Masks will be optional during this performance and proof of vaccination will not be required for admittance.

Concert Listing for Verdi’s Requiem

  • Friday, Nov. 4 at 8 p.m., UMass Lowell’s Durgin Hall, Tickets: FREE
  • Sunday, Nov. 6 at 4 p.m., Kresge Auditorium at MIT, Tickets: $15-25

Verdi 'Requiem,' Cambridge Symphony Orchestra

  • Cynthia Woods, music director
  • Indra Thomas, soprano
  • Joanna Porackova, mezzo soprano
  • Giovanni Formisano, tenor
  • Ron Loyd, baritone
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell Choir and Chamber Singers, Jonathan Richter, director
  • Members of the Nashoba Valley Chorale, Anne Watson Born, director

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be leaders in their communities and around the globe.

Established in 1975, the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, Inc. (CSO) is a 501(c)(3) community music organization presenting classical music to diverse audiences who value great music in an accessible environment. Our volunteer musicians hail from Cambridge, Somerville and other parts of Greater Boston. As the only community orchestra in Cambridge and Somerville, the CSO creates outstanding programming through the combined energy of dozens of dedicated and talented individuals who believe in the importance of classical music and expanding our community’s access to it. Visit the CSO’s website for more information and follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. The CSO 2022-23 season is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.