Blog / Introducing the Shakers

Introducing the Shakers

Posted on 6 Jan 2017 by Cristina Maldonado

Sister Frances Carr and Brother Arnold Hadd of the Shaker Village in Sabbathday Lake, Maine, sing with the Boston Camerata during a rehearsal at the Warwick Hotel in New York on Sept. 13, 1995. (Adam Nadel/Associated Press)

Launching our 2017 Season, Pekka Kuusisto and American folk hero Sam Amidon take us on a captivating musical journey that features John Adams’ hypnotic Shaker Loops and Shaker Elder James Brackett’s Shaker hymn Simple Gifts.

The United Society of Believer’s in Christ’s Second Appearance was formed in 1747 in Manchester, England, moving to the US to escape religious persecution. Renowned for “their ecstatic and violent bodily agitation in worship”, they became known as the Shakers. The Shakers practiced pacifism, equality of the sexes, communal ownership of property, and celibacy – this last point leading, unsurprisingly, to their near extinction. This week one of the last three remaining Shakers, Sister Frances Carr, died at the age of 89.

In Murder and Redemption, we invite you to discover a little of this soon to be lost world. Pekka has crafted a musical narrative featuring much loved Shaker and Shaker-inspired works, intertwined with Janáček’s evocative Kreutzer Sonata and American folk ballads imaginatively arranged by Nico Muhly and brought to life by Sam, Pekka and the Orchestra. 

2 - 14 February 2017
Touring nationally to Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Newcastle and Sydney.

Pekka Kuusisto Director & Violin
Sam Amidon Voice & Banjo

TRAD. (arr. Nico Muhly) Selection of American folk songs
JANÁČEK (arr. strings) String Quartet No.1 Kreutzer Sonata
TRAD. (arr. Nico Muhly) More American folk songs
JOHN ADAMS Shaker Loops: I. Shaking and trembling
BRACKETT (arr. Pekka Kuusisto) Simple Gifts (Shaker hymn)
JOHN ADAMS Shaker Loops: II. Hymning slews, III. Loops and verses, IV. A final shaking