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Kent Tritle's 2014-15 Season to Feature Verdi's REQUIEM, World Premieres with Musica Sacra and More

Kent Tritle's 2014-15 Season to Feature Verdi's REQUIEM, World Premieres with Musica Sacra and More

A performance of Verdi's Requiem that is a tripartite collaboration highlights the 2014-15 season of Kent Tritle, called "New York's reigning choral conductor" by The New York Times. In an event emblematic of Kent's multiple roles in the city's choral life, he will conduct a performance of the massive work by the Oratorio Society of New York, of which he is Music Director, and the Symphony and Symphonic Chorus of the Manhattan School of Music, where he is Director of Choral Activities, in the grand space of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, where he is Director of Cathedral Music and Organist -- with a new choral configuration that features the more-than-250 singers on risers in the cathedral's Great Choir space.

The program is perhaps Tritle's most ambitious yet at the Cathedral, where he marks his fourth season in 2014-15 also with concerts of early music and contemporary works by the professional Cathedral Choir, and holiday programs. The season also marks Kent's tenth anniversary as Music Director of the 200-voice avocational Oratorio Society of New York (he has just renewed his contract through 2016-17), which he will lead in three Carnegie Hall concerts of grand choral repertoire; it is also his eighth season as Music Director of the acclaimed professional chorus Musica Sacra, and they will highlight their season with a program of three world premieres.

The season also features a 90th anniversary celebration of The Dessoff Choirs, in which Kent will participate as a former music director, and more of his ongoing "New York synergy" (collaborations among New York musical organizations): Musica Sacra under Kent's direction performing in concert with the Orchestra of St. Luke's.

The complete season calendar follows below.

Great Music in a Great Space at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

The fourth season of the revived Great Music in a Great Space series at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine includes six choral concerts with the performers placed in three locations within the cathedral: the proscenium, or the steps of the cathedral's Great Choir; in the Great Crossing; and in the intimate St. James Chapel, one of the Chapels of the Tongues. The series also features Kent's annual organ recital (November 18, 2014).

  • The Cathedral Choir (the Cathedral's professional group) and Orchestra perform a program focusing on the mystery of the Divine from a variety of Christian traditions: Mendelssohn's "Heilig"; John Tavener's Svyati for choir and solo cello(1995) with cello soloist Eileen Moon (Associate Principal Cello of the New York Philharmonic); and Arvo Pärt's Te Deum (1984), on the Great Choir steps (October 15, 2014).
  • The Cathedral Choir performs a program of music from medieval and Renaissance masters: the landmark Messe de Nostre Dame of Guillaume de Machaut - the 14th-century work known as the first complete setting of the mass attributed to a single composer - along with motets of Josquin de Prez and Gregorian chant, in St. James Chapel (February 24, 2015).
  • The great Requiem of Giuseppe Verdi for four soloists, double choir, and orchestra is performed by the Oratorio Society of New York and the Manhattan School of Music Symphony and Symphonic Chorus in a new concert configuration that places the choruses on risers in the Great Choir space, and the orchestra in front of them on the floor of the Great Crossing. The soloists include soprano Lori Guilbeau, mezzo-soprano Sara Murphy, tenor Alex Richardson, and bass Mathew Anchel - Guilbeau, Richardson, and Anchel are Manhattan School of Music alumni. (March 26, 2015).
  • The Cathedral Choir and Rose of the Compass, the world music ensemble led by Nina Stern, perform their fourth collaboration, "The Wingèd Lion: Venice and the Orient," a program focusing on the extraordinarily fertile artistic crossroads that was Venice from the early Middle Ages to the end of the 18th century, featuring works by Gabrieli and Monteverdi as well as traditional music from Armenia, Turkey, and the eastern Mediterranean. This program takes place in St. James Chapel (May 14, 2015).
  • Annual holiday events: The Cathedral Christmas Concert features the combined Cathedral Choirs and Orchestra performing Bach's Christmas Cantata, BWV 191, Wayne Oquin's O magnum mysterium, and works by Poulenc and Eric Whitacre (December 13, 2014); and the New Year's Eve Concert for Peace features the Cathedral Choir and Orchestra performing excerpts from Vaughan Williams's Dona nobis pacem, the "Dona nobis pacem" from Bach's Mass in B Minor, and Handel's "Foundling Hospital Anthem." Special guest Judy Collins performs, and Harry Smith is host (December 31, 2014).

Oratorio Society of New York -- Kent Tritle's Tenth Anniversary Season

Kent has just renewed his contract with the Oratorio Society of New York for three more years, ensuring his tenure as Music Director through the 2016-17 season. His tenth anniversary season of 2014-15 is the organization's 142nd; in addition to the Verdi Requiem performance, it includes three Carnegie Hall concerts featuring classic choral favorites:

  • Haydn's Creation, sung in German, with soloists soprano Susanna Phillips, tenor Aaron Blake, and baritone Sidney Outlaw (November 3, 2014)
  • Handel's Messiah with soloists soprano Emalie Savoy, mezzo-soprano Sara Murphy, tenor Mingjie Lei, and baritone Sidney Outlaw (December 22, 2014)
  • A program of Orff's Carmina Burana conducted by Kent, and Bernstein's Chichester Psalms conducted by OSNY Associate Conductor David Rosenmeyer, with soloists soprano Jennifer Zetlan, tenor Peter Tantsits, baritone Takaoki Onishi (Musical America's New Artist of the Month for July 2014) (May 5, 2015).

Musica Sacra

In June 2014, Kent led Musica Sacra in recording sessions for an album of choral music by Robert Paterson, award-winning composer and founder of the American Modern Ensemble, which will be released by Naxos in 2015. He marks his eighth season as Music Director of the acclaimed professional chorus in 2014-15.

  • Kent will lead two holiday performances of Musica Sacra's acclaimed rendition of Handel's Messiah, with soloists soprano Lianne Coble, mezzo-soprano Silvie Jensen, tenor Lawrence Jones, and baritone John Brancy - one at the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College in Westchester (December 20, 2014), and one at Carnegie Hall (December 23, 2014).
  • The chorus will continue its engagement with new music with a program of three new works in their world premiere performances, performed at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (March 4, 2015):
    • Wisdom by Juraj Filas (whose Requiem, Oratio Spei, Kent led both in its New York premiere performance and in a recording with the Prague Symphony Orchestra);
    • Lux Aeterna by Robert Paterson (one of the works on the new recording mentioned above);
    • A new work by Michael Gilbertson (whose piece Three Madrigals After Dowland was featured in Musica Sacra's acclaimed 2012 recording, Messages to Myself).

Other works to be announced will round out the program, in which cellist Arthur Fiacco, Jr., organist Raymond Nagem, and Musica Sacra Assistant Conductor Michael Sheetz will also be featured.

Musica Sacra, under Kent's direction, will perform Mendelssohn's Die erste Walpurgisnacht with the Orchestra of St. Luke's and its music director, Pablo Heras-Casado as part of the St. Luke's Carnegie Hall season, with soloists mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong, tenor Joseph Kaiser, and bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni (November 6, 2014). This will be the fourth collaboration between one of Kent's groups and St. Luke's in as many years: the Oratorio Society of New York collaborated on a performance of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis led by Sir Roger Norrington in March 2014; and Musica Sacra joined St. Luke's in performances of Mozart's Requiem led by Iván Fischer in 2012, and Bach's St. Matthew Passion, also led by Fischer, in 2013.

Manhattan School of Music

Performances by the choral forces of the Manhattan School of Music under Kent's direction -- in addition to the Verdi Requiem with the three MSM alumni -- are highlighted by:

  • A performance of Mozart's Mass in C Minor by the Manhattan School of Music Symphony and Symphonic Chorus led by Kent. Also on the program are performances of Brahms's Four Songs for Chorus, Horns, and Harp by the newly-formed Women's Chorus led by Ronald Oliver, and Haydn's Te Deum in C by the Symphonic Chorus and Chamber Sinfonia led by MSM doctoral student Malcolm Merriweather (November 12, 2014, at the Manhattan School of Music)
  • A holiday concert on the Met Museum Presents series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art: David Lang's Little Match Girl Passion and seasonal motets sung by the Manhattan School of Music Chamber Choir (December 3, 2014)

The Dessoff Choirs' 90th Anniversary Concert

One of New York's choral stalwarts, The Dessoff Choirs, Christopher Shepard, Music Director, celebrates its 90th anniversary with a special concert featuring three of the organization's former music directors: James Bagwell, Amy Kaiser, and Kent Tritle. Kent will conduct repertoire from his tenure of 1996-2004 including works by Mendelssohn and selections from Frank Martin's Mass for Double Chorus A Cappella. (March 22, 2015, at Peter Norton Symphony Space)

Berkshire Choral Festival

This summer marks Kent's third time conducting at the Berkshire Choral Festival; he will lead the participants and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra in Elgar's Dream of Gerontius (August 2, 2014).

Organ Recitals

For his annual organ recital at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Kent has combined Bach preludes with Duruflé's Suite, Op. 5, one of the highlights of that composer's cherished oeuvre, as well as Heinrich Scheidemann's Magnificat octavi toni (November 18, 2014). He will perform the same program at First Presbyterian Church in Rutherford, New Jersey (November 16, 2014), and All Saints Church in Fort Worth, Texas (November 21, 2014).

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, he is Director of Cathedral Music and Organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City; Music Director of the Oratorio Society of New York, the acclaimed 200-voice volunteer chorus; and Music Director of Musica Sacra, the longest continuously performing professional chorus in New York City.

In addition, Kent is Director of Choral Activities at the Manhattan School of Music and is a member of the graduate faculty of The Juilliard School. An acclaimed organ virtuoso, he is also the organist of the New York Philharmonic.

Kent Tritle has made more than a dozen recordings on the Telarc, AMDG, Epiphany, Gothic, VAI and MSR Classics labels. CDBaby recently made available his 2013 recording of Juraj Filas' Requiem, Oratio Spei dedicated to the victims of 9/11, with the Prague Symphony Orchestra, vocal soloists Ana María Martínez, Matthew Plenk, Filip Bandzak, and the Kühn Choir. His discography, including the recent Messages to Myself, an acclaimed recording with Musica Sacra of five new works; and two releases with the Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola, Cool of the Day - an a cappella program of music ranging from Gregorian chant, Palestrina, and spirituals to Strauss's Deutsche Motette - and Ginastera's The Lamentations of Jeremiah with Schnittke's Concerto for Choir, have been praised by Gramophone, the American Record Guide, Audiophile Audition, and The Choral Journal.

Kent Tritle founded the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space concert series at New York's Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, and led it to great acclaim from 1989 to 2011. From 1996 to 2004, Mr. Tritle was Music Director of New York's The Dessoff Choirs. Kent hosted "The Choral Mix with Kent Tritle," a weekly program devoted to the vibrant world of choral music on New York's WQXR, from 2010 to 2014.

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