Sir Roger Norrington to Conduct OSL in Beethoven's MISSA SOLEMNIS at Carnegie Hall, 3/6
Declared "one of the great innovators of our musical life" (The Telegraph), Sir Roger Norrington, a revolutionary conductor and leading figure in historically informed performance, will conduct Orchestra of St. Luke's in its final Carnegie Hall Orchestra Series concert of the season, featuring Beethoven's Missa Solemnis. This marks a rare U.S. appearance for the British conductor, who turns 80 years old just days after the concert. OSL is one of the few American orchestras Norrington continues to conduct on a regular basis.
"It is always a thrill to conduct the Beethoven Missa Solemnis. It is not only far from 'solemn,' but is perhaps the world's greatest musical masterpiece," says Norrington. "And to perform it with one of my favorite orchestras is an extra treat."
OSL and Sir Roger Norrington have a special relationship and history. He became the orchestra's first music director in 1990-the overwhelming first choice of OSL's musicians. Norrington held the position until 1994 and has led OSL as a guest conductor on numerous occasions over the past 20 years. He typically returns every two to three years, and the orchestra's musicians are always delighted to perform with him.
"Roger Norrington is an intelligent and articulate conductor and leader," says Marianne Lockwood, OSL's co-founder and president emeritus, who brought Norrington on as music director. "OSL musicians resonate with his approach and are fascinated to hear his unique perspective on the repertoire. Rehearsals contain much dialogue and there is a great mutual respect on both sides."
For this landmark celebration and return to OSL, Norrington will lead an appropriately monumental piece-Beethoven's Missa Solemnis is considered by many to be the most extraordinary setting of the mass text. As Beethoven approached age 50 and faced increasing deafness, he became socially withdrawn and began to ponder spiritual questions. He carefully studied each line of the mass text and showed great concern for how to best express the messages through music. The result is a profound setting, requiring extraordinary artistic commitment; it is not often performed due to its extreme technical demands.
The outstanding Oratorio Society of New York, who gave the Carnegie Hall premiere of Missa Solemnis in 1905, joins OSL for this dramatic work. The soloists are soprano Susan Gritton, mezzo-soprano Julie Boulianne, tenor Michael Schade, and bass-baritone Nathan Berg. Missa Solemnis will be performed without an intermission.