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Orchestra of St. Luke's Announces 2019–2020 Season

Orchestra of St. Luke's Announces 2019–2020 Season

Orchestra of St. Luke's (OSL) announced details of its 2019-2020 season-the Orchestra's 45th-including a season-wide celebration of Beethoven's 250th birthday in programs on its signature Chamber Music Series, orchestra concerts presented by Carnegie Hall, and free school concerts. The new season of Music in Color will offer free community concerts focusing on the life and music of composer Eleanor Alberga, and OSL continues its partnership at Lincoln Center with Paul Taylor American Modern Dance. As previously announced, OSL will be one of six orchestras participating in Carnegie Hall's Beethoven Celebration. OSL's subscription series presented by Carnegie Hall opens on October 17 and marks the second season of Bernard Labadie's tenure as Principal Conductor. In the three Carnegie Hall programs, Maestro Labadie will bring his singular artistic vision and historically informed performance practice to New York audiences with works by Felix Mendelssohn and Bach, Handel and Vivaldi, as well as Beethoven.

Season highlights include North American premieres of works by Eleanor Alberga, andOSL debuts by violinist Daniel Hope, pianists Paavali Jumppanen and Beatrice Rana, and singers Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Karina Gauvin, Joshua Hopkins, and Jeremy Ovenden. Returning guest artists include pianist Jeremy Denk, mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor, Paul Taylor Dance Company and Taylor 2, and La Chapelle de Québec.

OSL's 2019-2020 Chamber Music Series begins in November 2019 with an evening of Baroque music and then marks the Beethoven anniversary with two concerts in February and April 2020. The annual Chamber Music Series anchors every season, showcasing OSL's origins as a group of virtuosic chamber musicians. Concerts take place at The Morgan Library & Museum, Brooklyn Museum, and Merkin Hall.

The fourth iteration of OSL's Music in Color focuses on Eleanor Alberga, with concerts performed in all five boroughs, and features the North American premieres of several of Alberga's compositions. The Orchestra's Beethoven celebration is reflected in programs for the Free School Concerts in fall 2019. In December 2019, OSL will perform selections from Bach's Brandenburg Concertos at Temple Emanu-El in New York City, and the complete Brandenburg Concertos at Bethesda Episcopal Church in Saratoga Springs, presented by the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC).

OSL's 2019 summer programming encompasses canonical works and world premieres, performances of works by four women composers and two women choreographers, and concerts celebrating the anniversary of the moon landing and American music. In June 2019, OSL launches the Bach Festival at Carnegie Hall and returns to Caramoor for its 44th season as the Festival's orchestra in residence, with Peter Oundjian leading the season opening concert on June 15. OSL's inaugural DeGaetano Composition Institute culminates in performances of world premieres by four emerging composers on July 19, and a solo piano recital by Jacob Greenberg playing works by the late Robert DeGaetano on July 16. The orchestra returns to Naumburg Orchestral Concerts in July with a program of 20th-century American works. We Chose to Go to the Moon, a multi-media program created and narrated by John Monsky marking Apollo 11's 50th Anniversary, features OSL in concerts at Zankel Hall on July 16 and 20.

Highlighting the summer programs are New York and world premieres and performances of works by women composers including Caroline Shaw, Anna Clyne, Florence Price, Liza Sobel, and choreographers Margie Gillis and Pam Tanowitz. Guest artists include conductors Ben Gernon, Grant Llewellyn, Tito Muñoz, and Peter Oundjian, pianists Jonathan Biss and Pedja Muzijevic, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, violinist Christian Tetzlaff, harpsichordist Pierre Hantaï, sopranos Lydia Teuscher and Jasmine Muhammad, and countertenor Benno Schachtner.

Bernard Labadie, Principal Conductor of Orchestra of St. Luke's said, "I look forward eagerly to my second season of exploration and discovery with the wonderful OSL musicians. From the rich Baroque sounds of Handel and Vivaldi's unique works for double orchestra, to the second iteration of our Bach Festival, our citywide Chamber Music Series, and, of course, our contribution to Carnegie Hall's Beethoven Celebration with two of his choral masterpieces, we embrace the opportunity to approach favorite works with new ears and to uncover different facets of these great masters."

"Orchestra of St. Luke's is thriving," stated President and Executive Director James Roe. "In Bernard Labadie's first season as Principal Conductor, our Orchestra Series presented by Carnegie Hall and our signature Chamber Music Series both set box office records. And our supporters are invigorated as well. Our Capital Campaign has so far raised nearly $21,000,000, allowing us to pay off the mortgage on The DiMenna Center and double our endowment, building a firm foundation for the sustainable future of 'New York's hometown band.'"

Details about new programming, the Carnegie Hall series, and upcoming spring and summer 2019 performances, follow in this release.


The series opens with a concert dedicated to Baroque programmatic music titled Baroque Storytelling. Telemann's Don Quichotte Overture-Suite is the program's centerpiece. Written in seven movements, the overture takes the listener on Don Quixote's journey from his dreams of adventure and romance through his chivalrous love for Dulcinea and his battle with the windmill. Performances take place on November 24, Brooklyn Museum, December 3, Merkin Hall, and December 4, The Morgan Library & Museum.

In spring 2020, pianist Paavali Jumppanen joins St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble for the first of two all-Beethoven programs celebrating the composer's 250th birthday. Beethoven's Quintet for Piano and Winds in E-flat Major and Ferdinand Ries's arrangement of the "Eroica" Symphony for piano quartet are the featured works. A noted Beethoven expert, Jumppanen has recorded many of Beethoven's works for piano and has written extensively about the composer. Performances take place: March 24, Merkin Concert Hall, March 25, The Morgan Library & Museum, and March 29, Brooklyn Museum.

St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble's Beethoven celebration continues in the spring with one of the composer's grandest chamber works, the Septet in E-flat Major. Written in 1800, just before his First Symphony, the Septet is almost symphonic in its rich, varied texture created by the combination of strings and woodwinds-an ideal piece for the Ensemble to honor this great composer. Performances are: May 5, Merkin Hall, May 6, The Morgan Library & Museum, and May 10, Brooklyn Museum.


Launched four years ago, Music in Color is OSL's annual initiative highlighting the works and lives of classical composers of color. The program was created to engage new audiences with classical music through dynamic, multidisciplinary concerts designed to be as entertaining as they are educational, and features performances across all five boroughs of New York City. In Spring 2020, Music in Color spotlights the life, music, and evolving career of composer Eleanor Alberga, who was born in Jamaica and lives in the United Kingdom. Programs for Music in Color: The Music of Eleanor Alberga will include Jamaican Medley and the North American premiere of Alberga's Shining Gate of Morpheus for horn and string quartet. Music in Color Community Concerts are open to the public and presented free of charge.


Principal Conductor Bernard Labadie will lead three programs: Mendelssohn's "Scottish" Symphony with Bach keyboard concertos performed by pianist Beatrice Rana; a program dedicated entirely to works for double orchestra by Handel and Vivaldi; and a celebration of Beethoven's 250th birthday with four works displaying the composer's audacious genius.

For the opening concert on October 17 Maestro Labadie turns his artistry to two works by Felix Mendelssohn: The Hebrides Overture and Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 56, "Scottish." Mendelssohn, who is credited with reviving interest in music of J.S. Bach in the 19th century, was devoted to Bach's keyboard works, often performing them on the piano. This program honors Mendelssohn's passion for Bach with two of Bach's keyboard concertos performed on the piano by young Italian virtuoso Beatrice Rana, who in her recent Carnegie Hall recital debut, "set a new standard" according to Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times.

The second concert of the series takes place on February 6 when Orchestra of St. Luke's fills Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage with an extravagant program of works for double orchestra by Handel and Vivaldi. Daniel Hope joins the Orchestra and Bernard Labadie for Vivaldi's Concerto in A Major for Violin, Strings, and Continuo, while Marie-Nicole Lemieux performs two contrasting settings of the Salve Regina by Vivaldi, both for contralto and double orchestra.

On March 5, Orchestra of St. Luke's celebrates Ludwig van Beethoven's 250th birthday with orchestral and choral works including his sweeping and dramatic Leonore Overture No. 2. As a stand-alone work, the overture is an operatic tone poem in its own right. For Beethoven's Choral Fantasy pianist Jeremy Denk, La Chapelle de Québec, soprano Karina Gauvin, mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor, tenor Jeremy Ovenden, and baritone Joshua Hopkins join forces for one of Beethoven's most joyous compositions. The Mass in C Major concludes the program.


On November 7, St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble and Jeremy Filsell, pianist and conductor, join the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys for a program that commemorates three special events: the 100th anniversary of the St. Thomas Choir School, Veterans Day, and the 85th anniversary of the world premiere of a 20th-century masterpiece, with works by T. Tertius Noble, Stephen Paulus, and Rachmaninov, respectively.


OSL continues to engage audiences beyond the concert hall with its acclaimed programs bringing more than 20 free concerts to New York City's five boroughs, through its Free Community and Free School Concerts series, and the Youth Orchestra of St. Luke's. The DiMenna Center for Classical Music also welcomes hundreds of young people, neighbors on Manhattan's West Side, and music lovers to various events throughout the year. In its more than 40-year history, Orchestra of St. Luke's has reached more than 1.2 million students and given more than 1,000 performances, and continues its commitment to connecting young people to the joy of classical music.


For its fall 2019 school concerts on November 19, 20 and 21, OSL is creating a program highlighting the essential contribution to classical music and the legacy of Ludwig van Beethoven and featuring selections from Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 and Violin Concerto, among others.

The spring 2020 concert in OSL's Free School Concerts series brings the iconic dance works of the late visionary choreographer Paul Taylor to New York City's public school students. Taylor 2 will dance Mr. Taylor's works set to music by classical composers, performed by Orchestra of St. Luke's.


Youth Orchestra of St. Luke's (YOSL) is an after-school orchestra program, developed and carried out in partnership with the Police Athletic League (PAL) and local schools. Created six years ago as a program to promote ensemble playing as an agent for social change-similar to Venezuela's El Sistema-YOSL aims to provide children with an opportunity to excel musically, build lasting relationships, and learn essential life skills. Students receive daily musical instruction with OSL musicians and teaching artists at PAL's Duncan Center, and have a number of opportunities to perform throughout the year. YOSL also offers in- and after-school string instruction at three local elementary schools in its Clinton-Hudson Yards neighborhood.


The 20,000+ square foot DiMenna Center for Classical Music has taken on an increasingly important role in the musical life of New York City. Located at 450 West 37th Street, The DiMenna Center is acoustically optimized for classical music rehearsal and recording and the newly inaugurated Virginia James Learning and Media Studio Control Room is equipped with the latest technology. The fully renovated control room provides the option to record onsite in any of The DiMenna Center's spaces, from the intimate Baisley Powell Elebash Room, suitable for solo or small ensemble recordings, to the newly renovated Mary Flagler Cary Hall, equipped with state-of-the-art acoustics and enough space for a full orchestra. It continues to be an invaluable resource during the 2019-2020 season offering local and touring musicians access to affordable, state-of-the-art facilities. Now the OSL's permanent home, the Center also hosts free OSL community and education events throughout the season.



This June, OSL launches a new initiative, a three-week, multi-disciplinary Bach Festival featuring 15 concerts across three venues in Manhattan, June 6-23. The programmatic centerpieces include performances by Paul Taylor Dance Company of all six of Mr. Taylor's dances set to Bach and world premieres by Margie Gillis and Pam Tanowitz, and the Goldberg Variations, which receives two interpretations-including the U.S. premiere of Bernard Labadie's orchestral setting-and provides the Festival theme: "Transformation." Details of the 2020 Bach Festival will be announced at a later date.


This June and July marks the 40th year of Orchestra of St. Luke's summer residency at Caramoor. The Orchestra once again enjoys pride of place performing the season opening and closing concerts, along with a mid-season program. Founded in 1945, the beloved summer concert series brings thousands of music lovers to its bucolic Westchester setting to hear world-renowned artists and ensembles. On June 15, OSL opens this season with a concert conducted by Peter Oundjian. The Orchestra will be joined by cellist Alisa Weilerstein, for Dvo?ák's Cello Concerto, and also performs works by Stravinsky and Gary Kulesha. On July 7, Orchestra of St. Luke's and conductor Grant Llewellyn join Jonathan Biss for the fourth installment of his Beethoven/5 commissioning project, in which the five Beethoven piano concertos are accompanied by a contemporary composer's response. This concert juxtaposes the composer's Piano Concerto No. 3, with a New York premiere by Caroline Shaw. On July 28, Principal Conductor Bernard Labadie leads the Orchestra in Caramoor's summer finale, in a program of works by Beethoven and Mendelssohn, highlighted by guest soloist Christian Tetzlaff performing Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E Minor.


The world premieres of four works by four exceptional emerging composers-Viet Cuong, James Diaz, José Martínez, and Liza Sobel-will be performed by Orchestra of St. Luke's led by Ben Gernon on July 19 at the culmination of the inaugural DeGaetano Composition Institute residency (July 14-19). Selected in January following a national call-for-scores to workshop new works for chamber orchestra, the four composers, over the course of seven months, receive personalized mentorship from composer Anna Clyne. The Institute is tuition-free and provides participants with creative development support in the making of their new work, leading up to the intensive one-week residency in New York City at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music and the world premiere performances. Announced by OSL in September 2018, this new initiative was established through a generous gift from the estate of pianist, composer and teacher Robert DeGaetano, and will occur annually each July.

In addition to the July 19 concert, the Institute offers a performance on July 16 by pianist Jacob Greenberg honoring the late Robert DeGaetano, and featuring his works. Both performances will be presented free of charge at The DiMenna Center.


The OSL returns to the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts, which has presented an annual summer concert series at Central Park's historic Naumburg Bandshell since 1905. This summer's concerts will take place at The Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center while the bandshell undergoes renovation. OSL's July 30 concert illuminates the diverse voices of American classical music with works by Anna Clyne, Copland, Barber, and a rare performance of songs by Florence Price, the first African-American woman to have an orchestral piece performed by a major American orchestra. Tito Muñoz conducts the Orchestra with emerging soprano Jasmine Muhammad as the soloist for songs by Florence Price.

For more information on Orchestra of St. Luke's 2019-2020 Season, visit

For a schedule of Orchestra of St. Luke's performances through June 2019, visit

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