Musica Sacra

The New York Philharmonic

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Musica Sacra, the longest continuously performing professional chorus in New York City, was founded in 1964 by Richard Westenburg and is now under the artistic leadership of Kent Tritle, who begins his 12th season in 2018. Musica Sacra presents performances each year at venues throughout New York, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; its annual performances of Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall are a New York holiday tradition.

The chorus is frequently invited to appear with ensembles such as Orchestra of St. Luke’s, at the New York City Ballet, in the Mostly Mozart Festival, and by concert presenters throughout the region.

The chorus has given World and New York Premieres of more than 25 choral works, including, most recently, the World Premiere of Evan Fein’s oratorio Deborah, based on the Biblical character from the Book of Judges, at Alice Tully Hall. The group’s most recent recording is Eternal Reflections, an album of vocal works by Robert Paterson, the award-winning composer and founder of the American Modern Ensemble. Its growing discography on the BMG, RCA, MSR Classics, and Deutsche Grammophon labels includes Messages to Myself, a program of recent works by Daniel Brewbaker, Michael Gilbertson, Zachary Patten, Behzad Ranjbaran, and Christopher Theofanidis.

Musica Sacra’s community engagement initiative, in partnership with schools and social service organization in the New York metropolitan area, reflects its dedication to educating students in the appreciation and history of choral music. In addition, Musica Sacra presents informational sessions for adult audiences to help contextualize their concert experience. Musica Sacra made its New York Philharmonic debut in the live to film presentation of 2001: A Space Odyssey in September 2013, and most recently appeared with the Orchestra in the New York Premiere screening of Amadeus: Live in April 2018.

Kent Tritle is one of America’s leading choral conductors. In addition to leading Musica Sacra, he is director of cathedral music and organist at The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, music director of the Oratorio Society of New York, director of choral activities at the Manhattan School of Music, and a member of the graduate faculty of The Juilliard School. Also an acclaimed organ virtuoso, he is the organist of the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Tritle’s 2018–19 season is marked by the expansion of the Oratorio Society’s Carnegie Hall season from three to four concerts, which will include Kullervo, Sibelius’s rarely performed symphonic poem, and Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater. From 1989 to 2011 he conducted the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space series at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, and from 1996 to 2004 he was music director of the Emmy-nominated Dessoff Choirs. He hosted The Choral Mix with Kent Tritle, a weekly program devoted to the vibrant world of choral music, on WQXR from 2010 to 2014.

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