Performances & Recordings Reviews


Critical Review Highlights

HJB-Hands


A vibrant musician and dynamic pedagogue, choirs under Dr. Heather J. Buchanan’s direction have consistently received glowing reviews for their performances. Her work with the opera chorus for Elmer Gantry (January 2008), a major ‘role’ in the production, received outstanding recognition in the New York Times and New Jersey Star-Ledger reviews: “The well-rehearsed student chorus sang with heartfelt conviction,” and “the student chorus was a marvel of diction, tuning and rhythm, but it also offered something else that’s harder to find in professionals; new-minted enthusiasm, vibrancy.” Music critic Don Delaney of The Times of Trenton wrote: “the hushed effect she achieved in the final words, ‘Dona nobis pacem,’ (Give us peace) was breathtaking.” The Berkshire Eagle review described her performance as “stunning… exceptional… mesmerizing. Conductor Heather J. Buchanan…with a wave of her expressive hands loosed an unbelievable palette of sound that coaxed tears from people’s eyes and then rattled their teeth!” In his review of Westminster Schola Cantorum’s World Premiere performance of O God, Why Have You Forsaken Us?, a commission by New jersey composer Joel Phillips, Paul Somers of Classical New Jersey stated: “One cannot imagine a better premier performance as the Schola sang with utter conviction and technical sureness.” On the same program, Mr. Somers’ assessment of the choir’s Finzi and Barber was clear: “…they are both downright gorgeous and were sung that way.”

 

In masterwork collaborations with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO), both the symphonic choir MSU Chorale and 60-voice MSU Singers have been praised for their professionalism, precision and nuanced singing. Of the Chorale’s 2014 Verdi Requiem under the baton of Mastro Jacques Lacombe, Ronni Reich (The New Jersey Star-Ledger) wrote: “The chorus’ rhythmic precision and clear articulation were especially valuable assets in the dynamic “Rex tremendae” leading into the pure-toned, beseeching words “salva me.” Also under Lacombe’s baton, Richard Carter (Examiner.com, April 2013) praised the MSU Singers for their ability to deliver “crisp attacks” immediately contrasting with “subtle” singing in softer passages of the Mozart Requiem. He further lauded “the entire ensemble including orchestra” for their capacity to present a “united whole in delivering the power and subtlety of Mozart’s sublime score.” In their 2010 Messa da Requiem (Verdi) with Maestro Neeme Järvi leading the NJSO, critic Ronni Reich of The New Jersey Star-Ledger astutely and succinctly acknowledged the relief and torment conveyed in Verdi’s epic score: “…in both, choral director Heather J. Buchanan drew performances of amazing clarity and control from the fresh-voiced Montclair State University Chorale… Their plaintive call of ‘Salva me’ – ‘Save me’ – which rose with ethereal grace and weightlessness, was especially affecting.”



 


Listing AY 1999 – AY 2015

As of May 16, 2015


January 2015 Richard Alston Dance Company & MSU Vocal Accord

Rejoice in the Lamb (Benjamin Britten)

  1. Clement Crisp, Financial Times (London), January 27, 2015
  2. Debra Craine, The Times (London), January 28, 2015
  3. Judith Mackrell, The Guardian (London), January 28, 2015


December 2014 New Jersey Symphony Orchestra & MSU Singers

Messiah (George Fredric Handel)

  1. Ronni Reich, The New Jersey Star-Ledger, December 23, 2014
  2. Anthony Stoeckert, The Princeton Packet, December 12, 2014

 

Oct-Nov  2014  Richard Alston Dance Company & MSU Vocal Accord

Rejoice in the Lamb (Benjamin Britten)

  1. Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times, October 31, 2014


April 2014 New Jersey Symphony Orchestra & MSU Singers

Requiem (Giuseppe Verdi)

  1. Ronni Reich, The New Jersey Star-Ledger, April 8, 2014
  2. Paul J. Pelkonen, Superconductor.blog-spot.com, April 4, 2014


March 2013 New Jersey Symphony Orchestra & MSU Singers

Requiem (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

  1. Ronni Reich, The New Jersey Star-Ledger, March 23, 2013
  2. Richard Carter, Examiner.com, March 24, 2013
  3. Nancy Plum, Princeton Town Topics, March 28, 2013


December 2012 Richard Alson Dance Company & MSU Prima Voce

A Ceremony of Carols (Benjamin Britten)

  1. Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times, Dec 14, 2012
  2. Marina Harss, DanceTabs, December 17, 2012
  3. Robert Gottlieb, Observer, December 24-31, 2012


May 2011 New Jersey Symphony Orchestra & MSU Women’s Choir

Symphony No. 3 (Gustav Mahler)

  1. Ronni Reich, The New Jersey Star-Ledger, May 22, 2011
  2. Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times, May 22, 2011


May 2011 Meredith Monk & MSU Singers

Songs of Ascension, ECM Records [CD]

  1. Anne Midgette, The Washington Post, May 29, 2011
  2. Thomas May, The Classical Review, June 22, 2011
  3. Andy Gill, The Independent (UK), May 13, 2011

Awards:

  1. 2012 Grammy Nomination in Category 69 – Best Producer Classical
  2. Nominated #1 on John Schaefer’s Top 10 of 2011 for WYNC Broadcast (Jan 11, 2012)


February 2011 New Jersey Symphony Orchestra & MSU Chorale

Carmina Burana (Orff) [CD]

  1. Robert Levine, Classics Today, February 26, 2011


January 2010 New Jersey Symphony Orchestra & MSU Chorale

Messa Da Requiem (Giuseppe Verdi)

  1. Ronni Reich, The New Jersey Star-Ledger, February 1, 2010


March 2009 Meredith Monk & MSU Singers

Songs of Ascension (Ascension Variations)

at Guggenheim Museum

  1. Robert Johnson, The New Jersey Star-Ledger, March 6, 2009
  2. Gia Kourlas, The New York Times, March 6, 2009
  3. Deborah Jowitt, The Village Voice, March 4, 2009


November 2008 New Jersey Symphony Orchestra & MSU Chorale

Carmina Burana (Carl Orff)

  1. C.H. Jackson, The New Jersey Star-Ledger, November 20, 2008


February 2010 New Jersey Symphony Orchestra & MSU Chorale

Messa da Requiem (Giuseppe Verdi)

  1. Ronni Reich, The New Jersey Star-Ledger, February 2, 2010


March 2009 Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensembles, Todd Reynolds String Quartet, MSU Singers,

Heather J Buchanan conductor

Songs of Ascension (Meredith Monk)

  1. Deborah Jowitt, The Village Voice, March 9, 2009
  2. Robert Johnson, The New Jersey Star-Ledger, March 6, 2009
  3. Gia Kourlas, The New York Times, March 6, 2009


November 2008 New Jersey Symphony Orchestra & MSU Chorale

Carmina Burana (Carl Orff)

  1. C.H. Jackson, The New Jersey Star-Ledger, November 11, 2008


January 2008 MSU Opera Workshop/Nashville Opera

Elmer Gantry (Robert Livingston Aldridge)

  1. Bradley Bambarger, The Jersey Star-Ledger, January 26, 2008
  2. Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times, January 25, 2008


October 2006 New Jersey Symphony Orchestra & MSU Chorale

Symphony No. 9 – Choral (Ludwig van Beethoven)

  1. Bradley Bambarger, The New Jersey Star-Ledger, October 23, 2006
  2. Victoria McCabe, Scotch Plains-Fanwood Times, October 25, 2006


May 2006 MSU Singers & Heather J Buchanan, conductor

Madison’s Descent (Mícheál ÓSúílleabháin)

  1. Earle Hitchner, Irish Echo Newspaper (NYC), May 24, 2006


December 2002 Westminster Choir College Choirs

An Evening of Readings & Carols

Westminster Schola Cantorum (Heather J. Buchanan conductor) Westminster Chapel Choir (James Jordan conductor) & Westminster Symphonic Choir (Joseph Flummerfelt conductor)

  1. Willa J. Conrad, The New Jersey Star-Ledger, December 16, 2002


April 2002 Westminster Schola Cantorum - Spring Tour Concert

Heather J Buchanan conductor

  1. Mik Jacobs, The Berkshire Eagle (Stockbridge, Mass.), April 24, 2002


April 2000 Westminster Schola Cantorum - Sing a New Song Concert

Heather J Buchanan conductor

  1. Paul Somers, Classical New Jersey, April 12, 2000


March 1999 Greater Trenton Symphony Orchestra, Westminster Schola Cantorum &

Heather J Buchanan, conductor

Trenton War Memorial Re-opening & Dedication

  1. Donald P. Delaney, The Times of Trenton, March 9, 1999
  2. Paul Somers, Classical New JerseyMarch 7, 1999