Oratorio Society of New York Coming to Carnegie Hall, 5/20

Oratorio Society of New York Coming to Carnegie Hall, 5/20

Johann Sebastian Bach's St. Matthew Passion was written to be performed at Good Friday services at Leipzig's St. Thomas Church around 1727-29. "The work transferred from church to concert hall by way of Felix Mendelssohn, who virtually broke the piece out of its grave," said OSNY Music Director Kent Tritle. "From then on, the incredible and expansive emotional appeal of Bach's writing carried the work from choral society to choral society, and today it is a concert touchstone that we cannot do without."

To conclude the OSNY's 2013-14 Carnegie Hall season, Tritle will lead the Oratorio Society in their first performance together of Bach's choral masterpiece on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, at 8:00 PM. The vocal soloists joining the OSNY are tenor Nicholas Phan as the Evangelist, bass-baritone Kevin Deas as Jesus, and soprano Leslie Fagan, mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer, tenor Matthew Plenk, and baritone Mischa Bouvier.

When the Oratorio Society of New York, the city's standard for grand choral performance, offered Handel's Messiah in its annual presentation in December 2013, Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim wrote in The New York Times, "when the entire chorus belted out the word 'wonderful' in 'For unto us a child is born' the effect was exactly that. So was the 'hallelujah.'" The OSNY has lately been collaborating with other major New York music organizations, having participated in the New York Philharmonic's "Philharmonic 360" extravaganza at the Park Avenue Armory in 2012, and a performance of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, led by Sir Roger Norrington, at Carnegie Hall in March 2014, about which Harry Rolnick of ConcertoNet said, "The chorus responded with electrifying alacrity."

Kent Tritle, one of America's leading choral conductors, is in his ninth season as Music Director of the Oratorio Society of New York. Called "the brightest star in New York's choral music world" by The New York Times, he is also Director of Cathedral Music and Organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Music Director of Musica Sacra, the longest continuously performing professional chorus in New York. In addition, Tritle is Director of Choral Activities at the Manhattan School of Music and is a member of the graduate faculty of The Juilliard School. He is the host of the weekly radio show "The Choral Mix with Kent Tritle," an hour-long radio program on New York's Classical 105.9 WQXR and www.wqxr.org. An acclaimed organ virtuoso, he is also the organist of the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra. www.kenttritle.com

Named one of National Public Radio's Favorite New Artists of 2011, Nicholas Phan continues to distinguish himself as one of today's most compelling young tenors. In the Benjamin Britten centennial year, Phan garnered praise for his focus on and affinity for the composer's music, and for his most recent recordings, Winter Words, and Still Falls the Rain, both all-Britten discs. www.nicholas-phan.com

Kevin Deas has gained international acclaim as one of America's leading bass-baritones. He is perhaps most acclaimed for his signature portrayal of the title role in Porgy and Bess, having performed it with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras, National Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the symphonies of Atlanta, Baltimore, Calgary, Houston, Milwaukee, , Montreal, San Diego, San Francisco, Utah, and Vancouver, and at the Ravinia, Vail, and Saratoga festivals. He repeated the role in concert to open the Seattle Symphony's 2013-14 Pops Season. Kevin Deas biography