New York's Concerts At St. Ignatius Announces Their 2019-20 Season
Formerly known as Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, the series based at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola marks its 31st season with choral works by Verdi and Rossini and special guests including the Tallis Scholars, Paul Jacobs, and Amjad Ali Khan
For three decades, the magnificent Church of St. Ignatius Loyola (980 Park Avenue) has presented choral masterworks, recitals on its N.P. Mander Organ, and guest artists from around the world on the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space concert series. The newly-rechristened series Concerts at St. Ignatius continues the legacy of excellence of both its own choir and orchestra led by Artistic Director K. Scott Warren, as well as in the exemplary roster of guest artists performing during this 31st season.
On its Choral Classics series, Concerts at St. Ignatius celebrates and explores the deep friendship and musical relationship between two pillars of Italian classical music: Gioachino Rossini and Giuseppe Verdi, through three concerts highlighting its own Choir and Orchestra under the direction of K. Scott Warren. The first Choral Classics concert of the season on October 17, 2019 features Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle, a tour-de-force for choir and soloists alike written after Rossini's self-imposed 30-year hiatus from composing opera. On February 25, 2020, the unaccompanied Choir of St. Ignatius presents an evening of Italian choral music "Unplugged," from a grand mass by Palestrina to motets of Verdi and Rossini, capped off by Ildebrando Pizzetti's Requiem from the early 1920s. The season comes to a close on May 13, 2020 with Verdi's Requiem, a massive testament of spiritual gravitas that fits perfectly within the grand Italian Baroque architecture of St. Ignatius Loyola.
Over the years, Concerts at St. Ignatius has welcomed guest artists representing many different genres to Park Avenue. This season sees two of the United Kingdom's most respected choirs as well as a trio of Indian sarod players with a program specially created for St. Ignatius. The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge under the direction of Stephen Layton comprises around 30 choral scholars and two organ scholars and dates back to the 14th century; they open the 31st season on September 15, 2019. On November 8, 2019, master of the sarod Amjad Ali Khan makes his series debut alongside his two sons and fellow sarod players with a program titled "Devi: Ragas for purity, austerity, knowledge, music and art, wisdom and learning." The Tallis Scholars, described by The New York Times as "rock stars of Renaissance vocal music," come to St. Ignatius on April 19, 2020 under director and founder Peter Phillips, with a program inspired by the landmark 1520 summit meeting of King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France.
St. Ignatius Loyola's N.P. Mander organ-30 tons, 45 feet high, and boasting 5,000 pipes-is the largest tracker-action pipe organ in the New York metropolitan area. This season at Concerts at St. Ignatius features two prominent female concert artists of the organ world: Chelsea Chen (April 5, 2020), known for her recital programs combining standard organ repertoire with piano and orchestral transcriptions and new music; and Isabelle Demers (May 6, 2020), who brings a program of J.S. Bach as well as French organ works. In a special bonus concert, legendary organist Paul Jacobs comes to St. Ignatius on the final stop of his mini-tour of three New York City pipe organs (September 24, 2019), showcasing the great French tradition of organ music from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.
For the past several seasons, Concerts at St. Ignatius has hosted Cocktail Benefits, more relaxed and intimate evenings combining music, food, wine, and a dedication to social justice. All proceeds from the Cocktail Benefits are donated to an organization devoted to improving the situation of the homeless, survivors of human trafficking, refugees, the incarcerated, and the impoverished, to name a few. This season's Cocktail Benefits include "The Fiddler: Expanding Tradition" (November 15, 2019), featuring Kelly Hall-Tompkins on violin, benefiting Brooklyn Jesuit Prep; and "My Prayer is a Song," (March 11, 2020), a program developed by vocalist Bruce Rameker, benefiting The Ali Forney Center.
The Christmas season in New York City wouldn't be complete without Concerts at St. Ignatius. Bay Area all-male chamber choir Chanticleer returns for its annual Christmas concerts on December 6 and 8, 2019, which are always a highlight of the season. The combined choirs and orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola under the direction of K. Scott Warren present their own Christmas concert, "Star of Wonder," on December 15 and 22, 2019, with traditional carols and audience sing-alongs. And after their gorgeous performance on the 2018/19 season, the Yale Schola Cantorum returns with a program to celebrate Epiphany on January 25, 2020.
The complete chronological season listing is below. For tickets and additional information on Concerts at St. Ignatius, visit ignatius.nyc/concerts or call 212-288-2520.
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