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The Church of the Transfiguration Presents A BAROQUE CHRISTMAS: THE CANDLELIGHT CONCERT, 12/14


The Church of the Transfiguration ("The Little Church Around the Corner") presents A BAROQUE CHRISTMAS: THE CANDLELIGHT CONCERT with the Transfiguration Choir of Men and Boys, Girls Choir, and Camerata with the Transfiguration Early Instrument Ensemble: Claudia Dumschat, conductor on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 7:30pm.

Works to be performed include: Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria; Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit pour Noel (Kyrie and Gloria); In Nativitatem Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Canticum; Noels pour Instruments; and Two French Carols: Il est ne le divin enfant and Noel Noevelet, arr. by John Rutter.

Featured Vocalists: The Men and Boys Choir; Girls Choir; Camerata
Soloists: Amy Bartram, soprano; Bryan DeSilva, countertenor; Christopher Preston Thompson, tenor. Lesley Zlabinger, soprano; James Barbato, tenor; Peter Van Derick, baritone.

Featured Instrumentalists: Vita Wallace, baroque violin; Sang Joon Park and Laura Thompson, baroque flutes; Virginia Brewer, baroque oboe; Rick Erickson, organ and harpsichord

This is an Arnold Schwartz Memorial Concert. For a full schedule, please visit:

Again the event will take place on Friday, December 14, 2012 7:30 pm at The Church of the Transfiguration "The Little Church Around the Corner" located at One East 29th Street (between Fifth and Madison Avenues), New York, NY.

Tickets are priced at $25; $15 for students and seniors. For Reservations & info please call 212-684-4174.

Subways: 1, N, R or 6 to 28th Street; B, D, F or M to 34th Street Herald Square
By bus: M1, M2, M3, M5, M6 or M7

The Choir of Men and Boys is the oldest such choir in the United States and the only one not affiliated with a school. It consists of 16 boys, ages 8-14, auditioned and selected from the New York metropolitan area, with diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds. The boys rehearse several times each week and not only are paid but also receive incremental scholarships through the Anthony J. Mercede Scholarship Fund, based on their years of participation. The full Choir of Men and Boys sings every Sunday morning at the 11:00 am Mass. The style and sound of the choir began in the great cathedrals and collegiate choirs of England, where the uppermost musical line was written specifically for the timbre of boys’ treble voices. Eight professional adult men sing the alto (countertenor), tenor and bass parts with the boys. The music they sing is from the English and European choral tradition: Bach, Byrd, Stanford, Willan, Haydn, Rorem, among others.

About The Arnold Schwartz Memorial Concert Series: Tonight’s concert is part of a series created by Marie Schwartz in honor of her late husband, Arnold Schwartz (1905–1979), who was born in Brooklyn and lived in New York City all of his life. Understanding that education and good health were needed in order for a young person to compete and succeed here, he gave generously to many educational and health-related institutions. Because he loved music, he extended his generosity to many musical institutions, such as the Metropolitan Opera. Mr. Schwartz was also a trustee of the New York University Medical Center. Mrs. Schwartz also made it possible for Transfiguration to commission one of the finest pipe organs recently built for a New York church. Designed and built by the C.B. Fisk Company of Gloucester, Massachusetts, the Arnold Schwartz Memorial Organ (Opus 92) was finished and dedicated in 1988. A tracker, or mechanical-action organ, it was designed largely in the 18th century North German tonal style but with an extensive 19-century French Cavaillé-Coll type swell division. This is an instrument eminently fit to perform the organ literature of all periods, as well as presenting and accompanying traditional Anglican liturgical music.

The Church of Transfiguration is known throughout the country as The Little Church Around the Corner. It got this name in 1870, when a local actor died and his friend Joseph Jefferson went to the rector of another church to see about a funeral. Upon hearing the dead man had been an actor, the rector said that he could not possibly bury him. The astonished friend asked if there was someplace else where he could arrange for his friend’s funeral. The clergyman replied, “I believe there’s a little church around the corner that does that sort of thing.” For one hundred and sixty years, the church has been a very visible worshipping community in an urban setting that has welcomed all classes, all races, and particularly all those marginalized by society.

For more details, please visit:

Notes on the program:

Gloria in D RV589 - Antonio Vivaldi (1678 - 1741) composed this Gloria in Venice, probably in 1715, for the choir of the Ospedale della Pietà, an orphanage for girls. The Ospedale prided itself on the quality of its musical education and the excellence of its choir and orchestra. Vivaldi, a priest, music teacher and virtuoso violinist, composed many sacred works for the Ospedale, where he spent most of his career, as well as hundreds of instrumental concertos to be played by the girls’ orchestra. This, his most famous choral piece, presents the traditional Gloria from the Latin Mass in twelve varied cantata-like sections.

Messe de Minuit - Marc-Antonin Charpentier (1634-1704) was one of the most outstanding musicians in late seventeenth-century France. As a young man he had spent three years in Rome studying with one of the leading Italian composers of the day, Giacomo Carissimi, with whom he acquired valuable first-hand experience of opera and oratorio - both relatively new forms at that time. On returning to his native Paris he put these skills to effective use,
composing a number of operas and bringing the dramatic oratorio to France for the first time.

Charpentier was particularly drawn to writing Christmas music, producing instrumental carols, Latin oratorios on Christmas themes, French pastorales and a Christmas mass - the delightful Messe de Minuit pour Noël. This piece dates from around 1690 and was probably composed for the great Jesuit church of St. Louis in Paris, where Charpentier held the important post of maître de musique.

The use of popular carols in church music had long been an accepted practice. In England carols were more often sung than played, but in France noëls figured prominently in the substantial French organ repertoire. The liturgy of Midnight Mass permitted the singing and playing of these Christmas folksongs, and by Charpentier’s time quite complex instrumental arrangements were commonplace. However, Charpentier’s idea of basing a whole mass on these songs was completely original.

Also by Charpentier: Noels Pour Instruments are exactly what they say - popular French Christmas tunes arranged by instruments and played by our excellent early instrument ensemble.

In Nativitatem Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Canticum, from the mid 1670s, is best defined as an oratorio. ("Canticum" means song, or dramatic scene). The work combines French and Italian traits. It respects the simple prose of the Latin Vulgate Bible, being especially faithful to the text of Luke 2:8-16. At the same time, the emphasis the pastoral elements of the Christmas story, brings to mind charming French nols. Italian elements include the bel canto angel aria (#3), the recitatives, and the stile antico contrapuntal style of the rapturous shepherd's chorus (#4). On the other hand, the  prelude/postlude, dance rhythms, and solochorus repetitions of the shepherds' air (#7&8) are from French sources, as is the general atmosphere of childlike sweetness, simplicity, and innocence that pervades this whole work.

Claudia Dumschat (Conductor) is the Organist and Choirmaster at Church of the Transfiguration. She received her Doctor of Musical Arts from the Manhattan School of Music and studied conducting with Dennis Keene and Giampolo Bracali. Her repertoire includes orchestral and choral music, chamber music, oratorios, and operas by major composers in the Western tradition up to the present day. Theatre/dance collaborations with neXus Arts and/or the Church of the Transfiguration include Britten’s Curlew River, Noye’s Fludde, Company of Heaven; Menotti’s The Unicorn, the Gorgon, and the Manticore; Händel’s Saul and Athalia. World premiere performances include Victor Kioulaphides’ The Gilded Cage and The Vision of Perpetua, Brian Schober’s Dance of the Stones, and the NY premiere of Stephen Hartke’s Tituli. Dr. Dumschat was Music Director of The Play of Daniel last December and The Prodigal Son in March here at Transfiguration.

Soprano Amy Bartram has sung a wide range of music from ancient Greek chant to premieres by emerging composers, and jazz. She has performed lead roles in baroque and contemporary operas, and her oratorio solo credits include works by Bach, Handel, Purcell, Respighi, and Vivaldi. Her numerous performances at the Church of the Transfiguration include Mozart’s Coronation Mass (soprano soloist) and the role of Josabeth in Handel’s Athalia. A specialist in early music, Amy gives frequent recitals of 17th c. song with lutenist Ekko Jennings and directs the medieval ensemble, Machicoti. Her solo recordings of 16th c. French songs and of John Stone’s contemporary art songs are available on iTunes and Amazon. Her recording
of Stone’s song “Daybreak in Alabama” was selected for the “Song of America” radio series broadcast nationwide in 2011-12. Amy has sung with ensembles such as Clarion Choir, Musica Sacra, and Vox Vocal Ensemble, in venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Miller Theatre. Upcoming performances include holiday concerts with Vox at the Guggenheim, and the Play of Daniel at the Cloisters, in which she sings and plays medieval lute. For more information visit

Countertenor Bryan DeSilva's operatic roles include the title role in Handel's "Giulio Cesare in Egitto," the Sorceress in Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas," and Orfeo in Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice." In December 2005 Bryan debuted as the alto soloist in Bach’s Magnificat with the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, earning praise from the Philadelphia Inquirer. In April 2008 he made his debut with the Reading Choral Society and orchestra as the alto soloist in Handel’s Utrecht Jubilate Deo and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass for which the Reading Eagle acclaimed Mr. DeSilva's "warm and honeyed tone." 

In the Spring of 2010 Bryan was the alto soloist in J.S. Bach's Mass in G Major in Reading, which also featured renowned soprano Julianne Baird. The Reading Eagle called his duet with Ms. Baird "particularly memorable", praising his "otherworldly voice [which] complemented hers so well."

Christopher Preston Thompson, Tenor, described as “versatile, funny, game and attractive…obviously well-trained singer” for his performance in Grammy nominee, David Chesky’s new opera, The Pig, The Farmer, and the Artist, Christopher Preston Thompson ranges in experience as both singer and actor, with specific focus on Early Music and New Music. New York Concert Review deemed his recent performance in the title role of Benjamin Britten’s The Prodigal Son (Church of the Transfiguration, NYC) as “superb”, hailing him “a fine singing-actor…singing with dramatic intensity, great sound and crystal-clear diction”. Upcoming engagements include roles in Gothic Early Music Scene’s production of The Play of Daniel at the Cloisters and Britten’s Curlew River at the Church of the Transfiguration, a solo concert at the American Church in Paris, as well as performances with the New York Virtuoso Singers at Carnegie Hall and the Pro Arte Singers. Other NYC credits include roles with Encompass New Opera Theatre (Anton, The Theory of Everything), the Bronx Opera (Remendado,Carmen; Mercury, Orpheus in the Underworld), dell’Arte Opera Ensemble (Snout, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Basilio/Curzio, Le Nozze di Figaro), and Nicu’s Spoon Theatre (Prince Edward/Lord Stanley, Richard III), appearances with the New York Virtuoso Singers, and resident positions with the Marble Collegiate Sanctuary Choir and The Good Pennyworths. Regional credits include roles with the Great River Shakespeare Festival (title role, Cymbeline), Opera Company of the Highlands (Goro, Madama Butterfly), and Crested Butte Music Festival (Dr. Cajus, Falstaff). In addition to his singing career, Christopher can also be seen as an Early harpist in performance with The Good Pennyworths and with his Medieval trio, Concordian Dawn. Please visit for more.

Soprano Lesley Zlabinger is quickly becoming known as a Baroque specialist. She has performed as a soloist in several Bach cantatas at the Church of the Transfiguration in Manhattan and at Queens College. She has also performed the soprano roles in Handel’s Messiah with orchestra at Queens College and York College, Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri at the Church of the Transfiguration, and Vivaldi’s Gloria in Mineola.

Equally at home in opera, Ms. Zlabinger has performed roles from the Baroque era through the 21st century. Highlights include Virtù in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Belinda in Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas, the Countess in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Sophie in Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier and Blanche in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites. Ms. Zlabinger has also originated roles in three new operas: Cupid in Cupid & Psyche and Parisatis in Alexander the Great, or the Rival Queens, both by Matthew Pittsinger; and Soprano Soloist in Brian Schober’s Dance of the Stones, produced by neXus Arts. 

A seasoned chorister, Ms. Zlabinger has sung with a variety of touring, recording, and professional choirs. She is a member of the professional choir at Corpus Christi Church in Manhattan, the choir-in-residence of the Music Before 1800 concert series. She also sang with the Queens College Vocal Ensemble on its recording Selected Partsongs of Hamish MacCunn (2010), some of which had never previously been recorded. Additional choral credits include the Bel Canto Voices, Minneapolis, MN; Grinnell Singers, Grinnell, IA; and the Studentenkantorei, Freiburg, Germany. 

Ms. Zlabinger is also an accomplished recitalist. Past recital repertoire includes Debussy’s Quatre chansons du jeunesse, Argento’s Six Elizabethan Songs, selections from Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch, and Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen. She also presented a variety of sacred and secular Baroque duets at the Church of the Transfiguration in New York City on its mid-day concert series. 

Ms. Zlabinger holds an M.A. in Vocal Performance from Queens College / CUNY and a B.A. in German from Grinnell College. She teaches voice privately and through the Great Neck Arts Center. Please visit for performance listings, audio clips, and more.

Baritone Peter Van Derick made his Metropolitan Opera debut in April 1995 in John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, and returned for seasons singing roles in Die Zauberflöte , Solome, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Capriccio and Andrea Chenier. In March 1997 he portrayed the title role in fourteen performances of Gianni Schicchi with the Metropolitan Opera Guild. In January of 2004, Van Derick conducted the Idaho Falls Opera Theatre's production of THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO. In New York, he has conducted Menotti's THE OLD MAID AND THE THIEF with the Champagne and Candlelight Opera, and Don Giovanni, I Pagliacci, and Il Tabarro with Dive Opera. Mr. Van Derick has maintained a private voice studio in New York City for over 20 years, teaching both classical and musical theatre. He has been on the faculty of The Lee Strasberg Institute, Collaborative Arts Project 21, and presently teaches at Marymount Manhattan College in the Musical Theatre Department. At Marymount he has served as music director for the Freshman Show ‘10 and Mark Morris’ BEDTIME for the Dance Department’s Spring Gala ‘12. and ALL SHOOK UP! in the fall of 2012.

Tenor James Barbato trained at the Eastman School of Music and the Boston University Opera Institute. His operatic appearances have included roles with Florida Grand Opera, Central City Opera, Opera New Jersey, and Ash Lawn Opera. As a concert soloist, he recently performed Stravinsky’s Les Noces with Charles Dutoit at Tanglewood. Other festival appearances have included residencies with the Marlboro Music Festival, Aldeburgh’s Britten-Pears Programme, and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence Académie européenne. Mr. Barbato was a finalist in the 2012 Liederkranz Song Competition, and has frequently been presented in recital as a guest of Cornell University’s Historical Performance Program. He was also honored to perform earlier this year on the Schubert & Co recital series in New York – an inaugural endeavor that is presenting the complete songs of Schubert in 31 recitals throughout this season. Formerly a staff tenor at Boston’s Trinity Church at Copley Square, Mr. Barbato has also been a soloist for many oratorios, including Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Requiem, Coronation Mass, and Mass in C minor.

Flutist Sang Joon Park was the recipient of the prestigious 2005 Samuel Baron Prize awarded at SUNY Stony Brook University where he earned his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree under Carol Wincenc. He studied with distinguished Baroque flutists such as Wilbert Hazelzet, Sandra Miller, Janet See, Stephen Schultz, and Jed Wentz. He is the artistic director of the Baroque trio Aula Harmoniae, and is a member of Baroque chamber groups including Rossignols Amoureux, The Soul’s Delight, Ensemble La Sylva, La Donna Musicale, Catacoustic Consort, Bacchanalia Baroque, Empire Viols, Concert Royal, and The Grand Tour Orchestra, with performances in Peru, the Netherlands, Taiwan and the United States.

Laura Thompson, Flutist, pursues a career on both modern and historical instruments. She has won grants from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council for her work with Bacchanalia Baroque Ensemble, as well as from the Northern Manhattan Arts Association for a recording of early American flute music. Laura Thompson graduated cum laud from the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College, CUNY, where she earned both her Masters and Bachelor’s degrees in flute performance. Her principal teachers there were Samuel Baron and Keith Underwood with further studies on baroque flute with Jed Wentz in Amsterdam, Holland. Laura performs regularly with the Strathmere Festival Orchestra, The New York Chamber Players, and The Grand Tour Orchestra. Recent chamber music performances include concerts with Bacchanalia Baroque Ensemble, Mondonville Baroque, and the Zephyr Trio. MS. Thompson’s love of opera has led her to perform with the Lyric Opera of New York; Opera Ozarks; Di Capo Opera; New Opera Festival di Roma; and the Amato Opera. She has also appeared as renaissance flutist in the opera productions of the New York Continuo Collective!"

Vita Wallace, Violinist, is known as a powerful, sensitive, and versatile musician. The New York Times has recently noted her "fine" and "potent" interpretations of music from the 13th to the 21st centuries. She is a member of the Baroque ensembles Anima, ARTEK, the Dryden Ensemble, and Foundling, and has been a guest artist with Parthenia, Festival Scarlatti in Sicily, and numerous other medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque ensembles and festivals. Vita and her brother, Ishmael, have performed, recorded, and taught extensively as the Orfeo Duo. They recently recorded all of the Beethoven sonatas for violin and piano on period instruments for the Frederick Collection of Historical Pianos; Early Music notes that the Orfeo Duo's "sense of ensemble and communication is impeccable... These are singularly passionate performances."

Virginia Brewer, Oboist, started the 2012-13 season with performances of a Handel chamber music program as part of the Leaf Peeper series, followed by 12 performances of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera with the Phillipstown Depot Theater Company, staged and directed by GorDon Stewart. Ms. Brewer looks forward to performances of Handel’s Messiah and the Bach St. Matthew Passion with the St. Thomas Choir of Men and Boys, John Scott director. In addition, Ms. Brewer continues her role as principal oboist of the Bach Vespers series at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church near Lincoln Center. Ms. Brewer can be heard on Nonesuch, Titanic and L’Oiseau Lyre Records, among others.

Rick Erickson, Organist & Harpsichordist, has performed as organist, conductor, and hymn-festival leader throughout the USA and Europe. He has appeared at conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, Pastoral Musicians, and Hymn Society of America. He served as co-editor for the choral edition of Bach for All Seasons, and has recorded for Augsburg Fortress, Naxos and JAV, among others. His choral arrangements are published by Augsburg Fortress and Kjos Publishers, and he appeared in the acclaimed film 13 Conversations About One Thing. This past year (2006) he arranged and directed music for the play The Orphan Singer, produced by Making Books Sing, which will be published by Boosey and Hawkes. He is also an Associate in Ministry in the ELCA.

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