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 13th season as music director this year. Musica Sacra presents performances each year at venues throughout New York, including those at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and at Carnegie Hall, where its annual performances of Handel’s Messiah are a New York holiday tradition.
Musica Sacra has joined the New York Philharmonic for live-to-score performances of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The chorus is frequently invited to perform with such ensembles as Orchestra of St. Luke’s and the New York City Ballet, at the Mostly Mozart Festival, and by concert presenters throughout the region.
It has given the 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.
Musica Sacra’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. The growing discography of recordings 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 New York metropolitan area schools and social service organizations, 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.
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 Church of Saint John the Divine and music director of the Oratorio Society of New York. Additionally, he is 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 organist of the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra.
In the 2019–20 season he leads the World Premiere of a new critical edition of Brahms’s A German Requiem at Carnegie Hall with the Oratorio Society of New York. The edition was prepared by an international team of scholars led by Michael Musgrave and published by G. Henle Verlag in collaboration with Breitkopf & Härtel.
From 1989 to 2011 Kent Tritle conducted the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola’s Sacred Music in a Sacred Space; from 1996 to 2004 he was music director of the Emmy-nominated Dessoff Choirs; and from 2010 to 2014 he hosted WQXR’s weekly The Choral Mix with Kent Tritle.