Maxine Thévenot is a regular at P’tit Louis Bistro, and we frequently share conversation over the food. Thévenot is founder and artistic director of Polyphony: Voices of New Mexico, a professional chamber vocal ensemble. Albuquerque is lucky to have lured her from her native Saskatchewan. In addition to being in demand worldwide as a solo organist, she’s on the faculty at the University of New Mexico—where, in addition to her classes, she directs the Cantantes women’s choral ensemble. She’s also the director of cathedral music and organist at Cathedral Church of St. John.
Thévenot says she has some excellent support. Christophe Descarpentries is a perfect example of the old saw “If you need something done, ask a busy person to do it.” Along with P’tit Louis co-owner John Phinizy, Chef Descarpentries has his hands full. He spends most of his time these days doing construction on a second location set to open this summer in Nob Hill—that is, when he’s not running tournaments and playing pétanque (a game similar to bocce ball).
In their spare time, these two dynamos do more—a lot more.
Thévenot met L.A.-based composer Henry Mollicone three years ago, when Polyphony’s reputation had already crossed his radar. He showed her his score of The Beatitudes: Mass for the Homeless, based on biblical texts drawn from the Beatitudes interwoven with interviews done with homeless people who live on the streets of Los Angeles. The seed was planted for a performance.
P'tit Louis Bistro lined up to provide a five-course, prix fixe meal the night before the concert. The menu will include an appetizer, a fish and meat course, dessert, and house wines. Knowing Descarpentries’ penchant for surprises, guests are in for a treat. Chef de Cuisine Chris Griego will be working his magic in the kitchen. If this is your cup of tea, don’t hesitate. Reservations are limited to 25—first come, first served. ($200 per person, tip not included, includes the meal, wine and one ticket to the concert the following evening. Reservations must be made through Polyphony: 821-1956.)
The P’tit Louis Bistro dinner and Polyphony’s New Mexico premiere of this 40-minute choral and orchestral work will benefit Barrett House, an esteemed Albuquerque shelter for women and children. Friends of Cathedral Music at the Cathedral of St. John and KHFM are on board as sponsors.
The concert will also premiere Andrew Ager's Concerto for Organ, written for and dedicated to Thévenot. Mollicone’s Beatitudes will be performed by members of the orchestral community and sung by Polyphony. Soloists are being flown in from London as well as Washington, D.C. Thévenot will conduct a performance not to be missed.