Prima Vocal Ensemble to perform Luminous Night of Scandinavian and American music at NCEM on May 19

Ewa Salecka: Prima Vocal Ensemble’s artistic director, producer, conductor and percussionist

YORK contemporary choir Prima Vocal Ensemble presents Luminous Night at the National Centre for Early Music, York, on May 19.

Over the past few years, artistic director and producer Ewa Salecka has been the creative mind behind a series of intimate choral and instrumental concerts with the choir and an array of guest musicians.

Now comes a 7.30pm programme of modern choral music for voices, strings, piano and percussion under Salecka’s baton at the NCEM, St Margaret’s Church, Walmgate.

The evening features pieces with a Scandinavian and American theme accompanied by professional musicians Beatriz Carbonell and Chloe Fletcher on violins, Katie Jarvis on viola, Rachel Gray on cello, Greg Birch on piano and Salecka herself on percussion instruments.

Selected by Salecka, Luminous Night showcases two pieces for voices, piano and string quartet by Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo: Dark Night Of The Soul and Luminous Night Of The Soul.

Prima Vocal Ensemble in concert

“These works, with their meditative, cinematic sound, are raised to new levels by the use of poetry and lyrics by Charles Anthony Silvestri and St John of the Cross,” says Ewa.

The programme also features Arvo Pärt’s Fratres for string quartet, music by Dan Forrest and Elaine Hagenberg, Nordic folk tunes arranged by Frode Fjellheim and “breathtakingly beautiful” pieces by Ivo Antognini and Eugene Butler.

“Our recent sell-out concert series have proved very popular and there will be something for everyone in this event, which coincides with Prima’s 14th anniversary of providing memorable concert opportunities for singers and their audiences: the only choir to perform to this high standard without the need to audition,” says Ewa.

Throughout the first half of 2024, the choir is in parallel preparations for two noteworthy concerts in “Old” York and New York. “In June, we’ll return to New York City and Carnegie Hall for We Sing! We Rise! We Soar!, The Music of Christopher Tin & Greg Gilpin, produced by Distinguished Concerts International New York,” says Ewa.

“No strangers to the iconic venue, Prima will join international performers in a programme that will include multi-lingual music from Christopher Tin’s Grammy award-winning albums. So, if you happen to be in New York on June 9, come and hear Prima in this collaborative performance.”

Prima Vocal Ensemble’s poster for Luminous Night

Reflecting on Prima’s progress, Ewa says: “We’ve covered so much musical ground since our first rehearsal in May 2010. When I think back, I’m amazed by the variety and complexity of music we’ve performed, the amount of programme covered and the individuality of each and every event.

“There are some singers who have been there from the very beginning and I am extremely grateful to still be in this position after 14 years, promoting new music and new concerts in York.

“If anyone is looking for a unique creative outlet, then now really is the perfect time to join us. Rehearsals offer a warm and welcoming atmosphere with an emphasis on a positive, engaging learning experience. We are always welcoming singers who are team players, want to improve their vocal technique and expand their musical palette.”

For tickets for Luminous Night, go to “Limited spaces are available, so early booking is highly recommended,” advises Ewa.

“To find out more about Prima and the opportunities you can enjoy, please visit”