Kira Zeeman Rugan

The Phoenix Chorale – Out of the Ash

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The Art in the 48 Podcast explores the Phoenix Chorale’s 2022 debut: “Rebirth, Reflection and Renewal,” and the premiere of Kira Rugen’s “Out of the Ash.”

The image of the Phoenix rising from the ashes has inspired artists for centuries and generations. The concepts of renewal and rebirth follow the mythical Phoenix tale, even finding itself as the inspiration behind the name of the Arizona capital city.

Much like the being, Arizona’s Phoenix Chorale aims to reinvent itself with each performance, continuing to do so after its founding in the 1980’s. The group evolved into how we know it today after many name changes, structural shifts and more. In the present day, the chorale has become one of the premiere chorale groups in North America, with several awards and recognitions for their artistry and performances.

However, even the most up-and-coming performers were not immune to the COVID-19 pandemic. After all performances were halted for two years, the chorale made their triumphant return with their performance, “Rebirth, Reflection and Renewal” in 2022.

This performance was also the debut of Kira Rugen’s piece, “Out of the Ash.” Rugen is a soprano in the Phoenix Chorale and has performed all over the world.

But her talents as a vocalist are but one facet of her career. She is also a faculty member at Scottsdale Community College and the artistic director of Solis, (Choir of the Sun). She’s a conductor and composer.

Out of the Ash retells the myth of the Phoenix, using texts from City of Phoenix Poet Laureate, Rosemarie Dombrowski. The piece weaves together different Phoenix tales from different cultures, inspired by nature and Arizona’s desert beauty.

Dr. Rugen said every step of the way for this project was absolutely collaborative, and a perfect fit for the March 2022 performance surrounding renewal.

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