Fuma Sacra

About Fuma Sacra

Fuma Sacra is recognized as one of the country's most exciting and important chamber choirs specializing in early music. Founded in 1989, the ensemble has been consistently acclaimed by critics and audiences for the passionate and virtuosic performances which have consistently "left the audience gasping in amazement." (Classical NJ). 

Although the ensemble is committed to historically informed performance, Fuma Sacra's concerts are even more widely known for their innovative programming, passionate performance, and depth of artistry. This reflects Fuma Sacra's belief that every great work of art, from any time, not only reveals the cultural world of the composer, but teaches us what it means to be fully human and fully alive.

Andrew Megill and Fuma Sacra have a special love for the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, frequently sharing his choral masterworks with Princeton audiences. For the Westminster Bach Festival each summer and the Princeton Bach Festival each January, Fuma Sacra has presented performances of the St John Passion, the St Matthew Passion, the Magnificat, and the B Minor Mass, as well as over forty cantatas. Fuma Sacra’s interest in Bach has led the ensemble to discover and resurrect music of earlier Baroque composers, such as Monteverdi, Carissimi, Caldara, Schein, Schütz, Pachelbel, and Buxtehude, as well as Bach’s contemporaries, including Handel, Telemann and Zelenka.

Fuma Sacra’s repertoire extends well beyond the Baroque. The ensemble regularly performs music ranging from Renaissance polyphony to newly-written works by composers such as Andrew Bleckner, Peter Maxwell Davies, Jon Magnussen, Joanne Metcalf, Arvo Pärt, Augusta Read Thomas, and Stephen Stuckey.

Highlights of past seasons include collaborations with leading period instrument ensembles and soloists, including Piffaro, Tempesta di Mare, and Brandywine Baroque, Nancy Wilson, John Hollaway, and Julianne Baird. Fuma Sacra has also sung with Dalton Baldwin in an evening of Schubert and with Paul Salamunovich in a performance of Vaughan Williams’ Mass in G Minor, and made their European debut at the Festival dei Dui Mondi in Spoleto, Italy.

Andrew Megill, Artistic Director

Andrew Megill is recognized as one of the leading choral conductors of his generation, known for his passionate artistry and unusually wide-ranging repertoire, extending from early music to newly-composed works.

Dr. Megill has prepared choruses for many of the world's leading orchestras and conductors. He has collaborated with the American Composers Orchestra, the American Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, National Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, and New York Philharmonic, as well as with the Mark Morris Dance Company for such noted conductors as Dennis Russell Davies, Leon Botstein, Pierre Boulez, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, Zdenek Macal, Neemi Jaarvi, Charles Dutoit, Alan Gilbert, Joseph Flummerfelt, Emmanuel Villaume, Craig Smith, Julius Rudel, and Jane Glover.  

Since 1989, Dr. Megill has served as Artistic Director of Fuma Sacra, recognized as "one of America's leading professional ensembles specializing in Renaissance and Baroque vocal music" whose performances leave the audience "gasping in amazement" (Classical New Jersey). He has led Fuma Sacra in the American premiere of many forgotten masterworks of the choral repertory, including Antonio Caldara's Maddalena ai piedi di Cristo, Francisco Guerrero's Missa puer natus est nobis, Messe Solenelle of Heinrich Isaac, cantatas by Johann Pachelbel, Georg Philipp Telemannan, and the Missa Dei Filii of Jan Dismas Zelenka. Dr. Megill's frequent performances of the music of J. S. Bach have been particularly admired; he has conducted all the major Bach choral works and over fifty of the cantatas with Fuma Sacra and the Westminster and Dublin Bach Festivals.

Dr. Megill is also Music Director of the Masterwork Chorus, one of metropolitan New York's finest volunteer choirs. With Masterwork, Dr. Megill has conducted the major choral-orchestral repertoire in the regions finest halls, including Avery Fisher and Carnegie halls.  For the past thirteen years, Dr. Megill has served as chorusmaster for the Spoleto Festival USA, where his work has been praised for producing "the finest opera chorus in the world" (Charleston Post and Courier).  Dr. Megill has also prepared opera choruses for the Berkshire Opera, conducted by Joel Revzen and the Juilliard Opera Center, conducted by Julius Rudel.

As a member of the faculty of Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Dr. Megill conducts the Westminster Kantorei, a chamber choir specializing in music of the Renaissance and Baroque.  Highlights of the coming season include a collaboration with the New York Philharmonic and Westminster Choir of Bach’s St Matthew Passion, conducted by Kurt Masur, as well as concerts in Princeton and New York.  Dr. Megill has also been the conductor of the Westminster Singers, Schola Cantorum and the Westminster Chapel Choir.  He served as Associate Conductor of the Westminster Symphonic Choir for eleven years, and was its Interim Conductor in 2004 - 2005.  In this capacity, he collaborated with many of the world's leading orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, and Philadelphia Orchestra, under such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Chailly, Colin Davis, Loren Maazel, Zdenek Macal, Kurt Masur, Wolfgang Sawallisch, and Robert Shaw.

Dr. Megill's passion for the choral art extends to works by living composers. He has conducted world and regional premieres of works by Richard Rodney Bennett, Andrew Bleckner, Paul Chihara, Peter Maxwell Davies, Jon Magnussen, Arvo Part, Stephen Paulus, Lewis Spratlan, Stephen Stuckey, and Augusta Read Thomas.

Dr. Megill has also had the pleasure of collaborating with folk singer Judy Collins and film director Ridley Scott.