Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity Welcomes New Artistic Director Donald R. Meineke
The board of Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity is delighted to announce the appointment of Donald R. Meineke as the 4th Artistic Director in its 47-year history. Donald will succeed outgoing Cantor Rick Erickson who held the post for 22 years.
At 34 years old, Donald Meineke will become the youngest music director in the organization's venerable history, bringing to the position both a youthful energy and a wealth of experience in sacred and early music. At 24, he was Founder and Artistic Director of Vox Triniti, a professional early music ensemble in Worcester, Massachusetts; at 29 he co-founded Ensemble VIII in Austin, Texas; he is co-director of the critically acclaimed Early Music Festival: NYC whose inaugural season was this past June; and he has served as Assistant Chorus Master for legendary German conductor and Bach scholar, Helmuth Rilling. He is known for his invigorating organ playing and improvisation, maintains an active career as a free-lance singer in ensembles across the country, and is in demand as a choral technician and conductor. A native of Texas, Mr. Meineke holds degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and University of Texas at Austin.
"With his impressive musicianship and commitment to musical excellence, Donald is an exceptional choice to carry on Holy Trinity's Bach Vespers traditions and to expand its leadership position in the American early music scene," said Timothy Cage, President of the Bach Vespers Board.
Called "New York's temple to Bach" by the New York Times and named "a Cultural Landmark" by the New York Landmarks Conservancy, Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity was the first organization in the Western Hemisphere to present the cantatas and other works of Johann Sebastian Bach and his contemporaries within their intended sacred context. Bach Vespers offers performances open to all through a free-will offering every Sunday evening at 5:00 PM from October to May and features the renown Bach Choir and Players on period instruments within the most authentic setting to hear the music of Bach outside of Leipzig, Germany.
"We live in a culture where rational thought competes with our human need for mystery and wonder," explained Meineke, "but the music of Bach surrounded by ancient ritual, silence, meditation, and communal song, invites the listener into a profound conversation about life. Bach's music challenges us to look beyond our individual selves and see a larger world view."
For his inaugural season as Artistic Director, Meineke has planned the largest and most ambitious season in Bach Vespers' nearly 50-year history. 28 presentations of cantatas include two North American premiers of works by lesser-known composers Johann Rosenmüller (1617-1684) and Johann David Heinichen (1683-1729). He is joining forces with NYC early music ensembles The Sebastians, Diderot String Quartet, House of Time, and Parthenia throughout the year and hosts an extensive chamber music series at Holy Trinity featuring Juilliard 415 in addition to the before mentioned ensembles.
"Legend has it that back in the 60's and 70's, John Lennon and Leonard Bernstein were regulars at Bach Vespers (originally known then as "Evenings with Johann S") along with many of the musicians and artists that called the then recently built Lincoln Center 'home'," noted Meineke. "I believe that speaks to the universal draw of Bach's music. It's a daunting responsibility to carry on this tradition, to be a messenger of sorts; but it is matched with equal passion and excitement to share the story."
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church is located on the corner of Central Park West and 65th Street. For further details on Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity and the full season schedule, visit www.bachvespersnyc.org.