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Kent Tritle to Lead World Premiere of Organ Transcription of Mahler's Symphony No. 8, 4/7

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, in collaboration with the Manhattan School of Music and Oratorio Society of New York, presents the world premiere of a transcription for organ, vocal soloists, and choruses, of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 8, on Thursday, April 7th, at 7:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue (at 112th Street), Manhattan. This event follows the two performances of the symphony in its original orchestration at the Cathedral on February 24th and 25th.

Kent Tritle, Director of Cathedral Music, will lead the work, which, since its 1910 premiere with 1,030 musicians, has been referred to as "The Symphony of a Thousand." In a dramatic instrumental shift, this new transcription by virtuoso David Briggs has the organ take the place of a full orchestra. "Without doubt, Mahler included some of the most beautiful music he had ever written. For me, it represents his never-ending quest for faith and completeness. The final apotheosis is completely overwhelming-even more so on the organ than the orchestra," says Briggs, who will himself play the Cathedral's magnificent Great Organ. For Kent Tritle, the performance expresses the culmination of a similar aspiration-from the moment Tritle first visited the Cathedral with the idea of serving there, he dreamed of conducting musical creations on the scale befitting the world's largest neo-Gothic space.

The collaborative performance also features the Manhattan School of Music Symphonic Chorus; Oratorio Society of New York; The Cathedral Choristers of St. John the Divine; the Manhattan School of Music Women's Chorus; and eight soloists: Rachel Rosales, soprano; Bryn Holdsworth, soprano; Jana McIntyre, soprano; Noragh Devlin, mezzo-soprano; Sara Murphy, mezzo-soprano; John Tiranno, tenor; Tim Murray, baritone; and Adam Lau, bass.

Mahler's Symphony No. 8, weaving together the text of a medieval hymn and the closing scene of Goethe's Faust, draws together essential redemptive themes of Western culture in one of the most ambitious and thrilling of such works, and was described by the composer as his most groundbreaking symphony and the grandest thing he had ever done. "My profound hope is that people will enjoy playing and hearing these recastings of Mahler's originals, rather like seeing great paintings in a new art gallery, in a different frame under completely new lighting conditions," says Briggs. "This is highly charged, emotional music that shows Mahler's complete genius for creating a highly original soundscape, which is instantly recognizable and completely inimitable."

Tickets for this performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 8 start at $25. To purchase tickets for the performance, visit this page. For more information on future performances throughout the 2015-2016 season, please visit the Great Music in a Great Space homepage.

About Kent Tritle

Kent Tritle is one of America's leading choral conductors. Called "the brightest star in New York's choral music world" by The New York Times, Tritle is in his fifth season as Director of Cathedral Music and organist at New York's Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. He is also Music Director of the Oratorio Society of New York and of Musica Sacra. He is Director of Choral Activities and Chair of the Organ Department at the Manhattan School of Music and on the graduate faculty of the Juilliard School. He is organist of the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra.

Tritle holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from the Juilliard School in organ performance and choral conducting. He has been featured on ABC World News Tonight, National Public Radio, and Minnesota Public Radio, as well as in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

About David Briggs

David Briggs is an internationally renowned organist whose performances are acclaimed for their musicality, virtuosity, and ability to excite and engage audiences of all ages. Master of an extensive repertoire spanning five centuries, he is known across the globe for his brilliant organ transcriptions of symphonic music by composers such as Mahler, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Elgar, Bruckner, Ravel, and Bach. Fascinated by the art of improvisation since he was a child, David also frequently performs improvisations to silent films such as Phantom of the Opera, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Nosferatu, Jeanne d'Arc, Metropolis, as well as a variety of Charlie Chaplin films. In addition, he teaches at the University of Cambridge (UK), frequently serves on international organ competition juries, and gives masterclasses at colleges and conservatories across the U.S. and Europe. He is also a prolific composer and his works range from full-scale oratorios to works for solo instruments. He has recorded a DVD and 30 CDs, many of which include his own compositions and transcriptions. For more information, please visit david-briggs.org.

About Rachel Rosales

A ubiquitous presence on the New York City scene, soprano Rachel Rosales has appeared at prestigious venues around town and internationally, including performances with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the "Sacred Music in a Sacred Space" series, American Symphony Orchestra, American Virtuosi/Baroque Opera Theatre, Ensemble PI and has achieved both popular and critical acclaim on international stages in opera, oratorio and solo recital. She participated at the Bard Music Festival and with the MasterVoices (formerly The Collegiate Chorale). Her work with The Oratorio Society of New York includes a celebratory concert at Carnegie Hall to premiere Song of Solomon by Slovakian composer Juraj Filas and Dvorák's Stabat Mater. Recent engagements include performances with New York City Opera; Renaissance at Jazz at Lincoln Center; The Ensemble for Early Music (NYC) in an 18th century zarzuela, La Vida y Muerte de General Malbrú; Mozart's Requiem with the Stamford Symphony and the OK Mozart Festival; Richard Wilson's opera Æthelred the Unready as Emma, the nagging wife, at Vassar College and Symphony Space (NYC); and Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem with the Spokane Symphony. She serves as a member of the music faculty of Vassar College, since 1998, and maintains a vocal studio in New York City.

About Adam Lau

Bass Adam Lau has recently made debuts with The Dallas Opera, North Carolina Opera, Opera Naples, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. He was a member of several of the country's most prestigious Young Artist Programs, including Santa Fe, Florida Grand Opera, and SFO Merola Program. He also maintains a busy concert schedule with leading orchestras such as The Cincinnati Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic. Lau will have future appearances with the San Francisco Symphony, Liverpool Philharmonic, and Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica. A recent Top-Prize winner of the George London Competition, he has won major awards from the Sullivan Foundation, McCollum Vocal Competition, and Florida Grand Opera's Young Patronesses of the Opera Competition.

About John Tiranno

Tenor John Tiranno has had his singing called "ardent and mellifluous" by The New York Times. Recent performances have included Berlioz's Requiem (La Jolla Symphony & Chorus), Bach's B minor Mass (Sacred Music in a Sacred Space in New York City); Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle (The Dessoff Choirs); Richard Strauss' Deutsche Motette (Musica Sacra); recitals at King Abdullah University of Science & Technology in Jedda, Saudi Arabia; the Saint-Saëns Requiem (Festival Internazionale di Musica e Arte Sacra in Rome); Mozart's Missa in C (at Auditório Ibirapuera in São Paulo, Brazil); and creating two roles for Norwegian composer Gisle Kverndokk-Trouble in Max and Moritz and the Man in the Mirror in Supersize Girl (New York Opera Society). More information can be found at johntiranno.com.

About Sara Murphy

Sara Murphy, "a gorgeous, deep, dark mezzo-soprano" (The New York Times), makes her company and role debut at Opera Theater of Rome as Ulrica (Un Ballo in Maschera) under the baton of Jesús López-Cobos in October 2016. Current season highlights include two appearances at Carnegie Hall: A Prayer for Peace with MidAtlantic Opera and Handel's Messiah with Oratorio Society of New York (OSNY). Murphy appears again with OSNY in performances of Mahler's Symphony No. 8, and returns to the Cincinnati May Festival as Emilia in Verdi's Otello and mezzo-soprano soloist in Mendelssohn's Elijah, both with conductor James Conlon. Opera News, The Guardian and Gramophone all praise her portrayal of Mother Bayard and Ermengarde in the recently released recording of Hindemith's The Long Christmas Dinner: "Sara Murphy's closing aria as Ermengarde ... is marvellously poignant," writes Gramophone. For more information, visit saramurphymezzo.com.

About Tim Murray

Wisconsin-born baritone Tim Murray has been praised by The New York Times has having "a firm, flexible baritone," and Opera News adds that his sound is "pleasant, round." Previous credits include Le Vicomte de Valmont (The Dangerous Liaisons), Leporello (Don Giovanni), and Le Meurtrier (Bloch's Macbeth) at Manhattan School of Music; Harlekin (Ariadne auf Naxos) with Twin Cities Fringe Opera; and chorus work with Minnesota Opera (Die Zauberflöte, Manon Lescaut, Hamlet), a company with which Murray has worked as a performer for their elementary school outreach program. Future engagements include the baritone soloist in Berlioz's Lélio with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Murray won first prize at The Schubert Club Scholarship Competition and is a recipient of the Edgar Foster Daniels Scholarship for Voice. Murray is a second year master's degree candidate at Manhattan School of Music and is a student of James Morris.

About Janet Todd

Australian soprano Janet Todd is a second year master's student at the Manhattan School of Music. Most recently, Todd performed at Cecile de Volange in MSM Opera Theatre's The Dangerous Liaisons. Previous credits include Gianni Schicchi (Lauretta) with Victorian Youth Opera; Die Zauberflöte (Pamina) and Baroque Triple Bill - Coffee Cantata (Liesgen), Der Rosenkavalier (Sophie) with Victorian Opera; Don Giovanni (Zerlina), Don Giovanni (Donna Elvira) with Oz Opera; Die Zauberflöte (Pamina) for Opera Australia's 'Opera on the Beach'; Salieri's The Chimney Sweep (Miss Hawk) with Pinchgut Opera, Sydney; and Hercules (Iöle) with Canberra Choral Society. Todd has also performed as a soprano soloist for The Australian Ballet, and as a choral soloist in Handel's Messiah, Bach's St. John Passion, Haydn's Creation, and Mozart's Regina Coeli. In 2014, Todd was the soprano soloist for MSM's performance of Mozart's C minor Mass. Her musical theatre credits include Kismet (Marsinah) with The Production Company State Theatre, Victoria.

About Bryn Holdsworth

Soprano Bryn Holdsworth is a graduate student at Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Mignon Dunn. She is the proud recipient of the Rodgers and Hammerstein/Richard Rodgers Scholarship and The ASCAP Foundation Fran Morgenstern Davis Scholarship. She was a national finalist in the New York Lyric Opera competition, a national semi finalist in the Palm Beach Opera competition, and a national semi finalist in the Classical Singer competition. Ms. Holdsworth trained and performed at the International Vocal Arts Institute from 2011 to 2014 as well as Institut Canadien d'Art Vocal 2014. She was a participant in Marilyn Horne's program, The Song Continues, at Carnegie Hall, where she appeared in Ms. Horne's masterclass and in recital. She recently performed in Don Pasquale (Norina) and Dido and Aeneas (Belinda) as a young artist with Crested Butte Music Festival. Other credits in operatic roles include La Bohème (Mimì), Le tragédie de Carmen (Micaëla), Hänsel und Gretel (Gretel), and La Doriclea (Doriclea). Upcoming engagements include Persée et Andromède (Andromède) at Manhattan School of Music this spring.

About Noragh Devlin

Called "gifted" by Opera News, and praised for her "powerful, rangy mezzo-soprano" by The New York Times, Noragh Devlin is currently pursuing her Professional Studies certificate at the Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Ruth Golden. She is a recipient of the Mae Zenke Orvis Opera Scholarship. Devlin also earned her undergraduate degree and master's degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. Previous operatic credits include Roméo et Juliette (Gertrude) with the Aspen Music Festival and School; Die Zauberflöte (Zweite Dame), Thomson's The Mother of Us All (Susan B. Anthony), I Capuleti e I Montecchi (Romeo) and Orphée aux enfers (L'Opinion Publique and Junon) with the Manhattan School of Music; Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Giulio Cesare) with the Bay Area Summer Opera Training Institute; Elektra (Dritte Magd); and The Little Prince (The Geographer). Devlin's 2015-2016 season includes performances of The Dangerous Liaisons (Madame de Rosemonde), Luisa Miller (Federica), and Albert Herring (Florence Pike). In March, as a result of winning first prize of the 2015 Eisenberg-Fried Concerto Competition, Devlin will perform Elgar's Sea Pictures with orchestra at the Manhattan School of Music. This summer, Devlin will join Music Academy of the West as a Vocal Fellow, performing the role of Elder Constance in the new Matthew Aucoin opera, Second Nature.

About the Cathedral

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is the Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. It is chartered as a house of prayer for all people and a unifying center of intellectual light and leadership. People from many faiths and communities worship together in services held more than 30 times a week; the soup kitchen serves roughly 25,000 meals annually; social service outreach has an increasingly varied roster of programs; the distinguished Cathedral School prepares young students to be future leaders; Adults and Children in Trust, the renowned preschool, afterschool, and summer program, offers diverse educational and nurturing experiences; the outstanding Textile Conservation Lab preserves world treasures; concerts, exhibitions, performances, and civic gatherings allow conversation, celebration, reflection, and remembrance-such is the joyfully busy life of this beloved and venerated Cathedral.

About Manhattan School of Music

Founded as a settlement music school by Janet Daniels Schenck in 1918, today Manhattan School of Music is recognized for its 950 superbly talented undergraduate and graduate students who come from more than 50 countries and nearly all 50 states; a world-renowned artist-teacher faculty; and innovative curricula. The School is dedicated to the personal, artistic, and intellectual development of aspiring musicians, from its Precollege students through those pursuing postgraduate studies.

Offering both classical and jazz training-and, beginning in fall 2016, a Bachelor's degree program in musical theater-MSM grants Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees, as well as the Professional Studies Certificate and Artist Diploma. Additionally, true to MSM's origins as a music school for children, the Precollege program continues to offer superior music instruction to young musicians between the ages of five and 18. The School also serves some 2,000 New York City schoolchildren through its Arts-in-Education Program, and another 2,000 students through its critically acclaimed Distance Learning Program.

About the Oratorio Society of New York

Since its founding in 1873, the Oratorio Society of New York, New York's own 200-voice avocational chorus, has become the city's standard for grand, joyous choral performance. "The sheer energy of the Society's sound had an enveloping fervor," wrote Allan Kozinn in The New York Times of a presentation of Brahms's Ein Deutsches Requiem, and of a performance of Messiah, Jeremy Eichler said in the Times, "this was . . . a vibrant and deeply human performance, made exciting by the sheer heft and depth of the chorus's sound."

The Oratorio Society has performed the world, U.S., and New York premieres of works as diverse as Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem (1877), Berlioz' Roméo et Juliette (1882), a full-concert production of Wagner's Parsifal at the Metropolitan Opera House (1886), Tchaikovsky's a cappella Legend and Pater noster (1891) and Eugene Onegin (1908), the now-standard version of The Star Spangled Banner (1917; it became the national anthem in 1931), Bach's B minor Mass (1927), Dvo?àk's St. Ludmila (1993), Britten's The World of the Spirit (1998), Juraj Filas' Song of Solomon (2012), and Paul Moravec's Blizzard Voices (2013), as well as works by Handel, Liszt, Schütz, Schubert, Debussy, Elgar, and Saint Saëns, among others. On its 100th anniversary the Oratorio Society received the Handel Medallion, New York City's highest cultural award, in recognition of these contributions.


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