Oratorio Society of New York
All concerts and events through January 5 are cancelled. Learn More about our response to Covid-19. Support the Philharmonic by donating your tickets.

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All concerts and events through January 5 are cancelled. Learn More about our response to Covid-19. Support the Philharmonic by donating your tickets.
Founded in 1873 by Leopold Damrosch, the Oratorio Society of New York is one of the city’s oldest musical organizations. From its earliest days, the Society played an integral role in the musical life of the city, presenting its own concerts and performing at musically and historically significant events. It also created a fund to finance building a concert hall. When Andrew Carnegie became the Society’s fifth president in 1888, he adopted the cause, enlisting architect William Tuthill, a fellow board member, to design a “Music Hall” that would provide a suitable artistic home for the Society. In 1891, singing under Tchaikovsky’s baton, the Society — as well as the New York Symphony (one of the forebears of today’s New York Philharmonic) — helped inaugurate the concert hall that came to be known as Carnegie Hall. It has appeared there ever since. Throughout its history, the Society has sung the traditional repertory — it has performed Handel’s Messiah every December since 1874 — as well as infrequently performed and contemporary works. In May 2016 it will present the New York Premiere of Marjorie Merryman’s Jonah and Haydn’s Missa Angustiis (Nelson Mass) at Carnegie Hall, and in November 2015 it presented the Carnegie Hall premiere of Juraj Filas’s Requiem: Opera Spei. In the summer of 2015 it presented a series of concerts in Germany. In March 2003 the Society received the UNESCO Commemorative Medal and the Cocos Island World Natural Heritage Site Award for its series of benefit concerts in Costa Rica. It made its European debut in 1982 and has since performed in Europe, Asia, and Latin and South America. On its 100th anniversary the Society was presented with the Handel Medallion, New York City’s highest cultural award, in recognition of these contributions. The Oratorio Society’s Women’s Chorus is drawn from the Society’s full membership. The Women’s Chorus also performed in the New York Philharmonic’s 2013 The Planets — An HD Odyssey. The Oratorio Society’s relationship with the Philharmonic dates to January 1877, when the ensemble participated in a program led by Leopold Damrosch; it most recently appeared on a July 2013 Summertime Classics concert conducted by Bramwell Tovey.
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