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Trinity Church Wall Street’s Spring Musical Offerings Include Philip Glass’s Symphony #5, Handel Project, “Sunken Cathedral” Series, Much More

Trinity Church Wall Street’s music program is, first and foremost, a ministry to the people of New York, with a mission of spiritual nourishment and community creation that seeks to provide the public with an exquisite and wide-ranging array of free musical offerings, many of which are professionally filmed and webcast live. Sensitive to the turbulence manifested since the election in November, Director of Music Julian Wachner has reworked the spring schedule, replacing a planned Stravinsky Festival with another ambitious and apposite undertaking: Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 5, presented by The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Trinity Youth Chorus, five soloists, and Trinity’s resident contemporary music orchestra NOVUS NY, all under Wachner’s direction. The work’s interfaith text draws from many traditions to emphasize the too-easily-forgotten commonality of human experience, the final movement opening with the lines, “May I be a protector for those without one/And a lamp for those desiring light.”

St. Paul’s Chapel also has a major undertaking in the works with the much-anticipated fall installation of a rescued and renovated Noack pipe organ. A week of concerts in November will showcase the new arrival with Bach’s complete organ works, and this spring’s free “Bach at One” concerts, presented by The Choir of Trinity Wall Street in collaboration with New York Baroque Incorporated, will foreshadow that outpouring by featuring a variety of the Baroque master’s keyboard and vocal works. Spring presentations at St. Paul’s Chapel also include “The Handel Project,” a new multi-season initiative in which The Choir and Trinity Baroque Orchestra perform all the oratorios of Bach’s great contemporary, beginning with Jephtha and Solomon. And the water-themed Concerts at One “Sunken Cathedral” series raises awareness for the United Nations World Water Day and the Trinity Institute National Theological Conference, which focuses on climate-change-related water justice issues. A presentation in St. Paul’s Chapel of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 on the day of the composer’s 450th birthday rounds out the spring offerings, and of course the inspiring liturgical settings offered weekly to the Trinity congregation at both Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel continue throughout the season. As the New York Times observes, “Trinity’s music is indispensable and unmissable,” representing “the top of musical life in New York.”

Philip Glass’s Symphony #5

Philip Glass’s Symphony #5 was originally commissioned and conceived for the Salzburg Festival celebration of the turn of the millenium. Glass worked with advisors from the Interfaith Center of New York and St. Francis College to collect religious texts from many traditions that, in the symphony’s first two parts, would reflect on humanity’s collective past and present. The third section focuses on a message of hope for what’s to come: its title “Nirmanakaya” refers to a future manifestation of enlightenment. The original texts were all translated into English so that their parallel images and common vision were clear. After Wachner conducted a rare performance of the piece with his Washington Chorus last fall at the Kennedy Center, an enthusiastic Washington Post review declared:

“You probably haven’t heard the Fifth Symphony live. Most American orchestras wouldn’t gamble on playing an evening-length contemporary work, particularly not one by Glass, who remains one of this country’s best known, most performed and least appreciated composers. … The piece has an ideal conductor in Julian Wachner, the Washington Chorus’s colorful, talented music director. A composer himself, he’s a strong advocate for contemporary music, and his flair for the dramatic and large-scale bore fruit here.”

Bach at One; The Handel Project; “Sunken Cathedral” Series; Monteverdi Vespers

St. Paul’s Chapel, the oldest church building in Manhattan, celebrated the 250th anniversary of its opening last year, for which the installation of the incoming Noack pipe organ (opus 111/1989) represents a fitting birthday tribute. The search for an instrument to replace the organ in St. Paul’s had been in the works for some time when Wachner heard that the Church of the Redeemer in Boston’s Chestnut Hill had similar plans. Coincidentally, he also happened to know their instrument well, and immediately realized that it would be the ideal complement to the much-lauded acoustic of the intimate space at St. Paul’s. The new organ will be inaugurated in November by Wachner, Trinity Associate Organist Avi Stein, and a roster of international organ celebrities, with a week of concerts covering Bach’s entire monumental organ output. In the meantime, the spring “Bach at One” performances, featuring New York Baroque Incorporated and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, will each be centered on one of the manualiter chorale preludes from the Clavierübung III, Bach’s encyclopedic volume dedicated to Luther’s catechetical hymns. The programs will also feature Bach’s choral music, as well as sacred and secular works by his contemporaries and progenitors. Each program is planned around the theme of the chorale on which the day’s featured prelude is based.

Trinity’s unparalleled array of free, ambitious musical offerings also includes two more special concert series at St. Paul’s Chapel. After performing Bach’s entire catalog of sacred vocal music over the past five years, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Trinity Baroque Orchestra turn this spring to performing all the oratorios of Bach’s great contemporary George Frideric Handel, the recording of whose Israel in Egypt earned them a 2013 Grammy nomination. “The Handel Project” is a multi-season initiative, during which the oratorios will be performed one act at a time on Wednesdays at 1pm, starting March 8. Jephtha and Solomon are on the docket this spring, and Trinity’s semi-professional chorus Downtown Voices will give a complementary performance of Israel in Egypt with the Trinity Baroque Orchestra, led by Stephen Sands (April 8). Full details of Handel Project concerts are available here.

On Thursdays at 1pm in St. Paul’s Chapel, beginning the day after the first installment of the Handel Project (March 9), Trinity presents its “Sunken Cathedral” series. Featured in the series will be diverse arrangements of Debussy’s classic and haunting prelude La Cathédrale engloutie, alongside a variety of newer compositions focusing on climate change and water. Guest artists include the Useful Chamber Orchestra, woodwind quintet City of Tomorrow, jazz pianist and composer Chris Pattishall, the Canadian Brass, and more. Trinity’s resident contemporary music orchestra NOVUS NY will perform two of the concerts, in their regular “Third Thursday” slot in April and May. The series is designed both to raise awareness for the United Nations World Water Day, which falls on March 22, and to amplify the subject of the 2017 Trinity Institute National Theological Conference (March 22-24), which focuses this year on the need for water justice initiatives concerning matters of access, droughts, pollution, rising tides, and flooding.

Next year is the centennial of the birth of composer Lou Harrison, which Trinity celebrates in collaboration with Rutgers University with concerts in April examining Harrison’s music and influence, at Rutgers and Trinity Church. The Sunken Cathedral finale on May 18 likewise features the Pulitzer Prize-winning Become Ocean by Harrison student John Luther Adams, named after a John Cage poem about Harrison and his music which ends “listening to it we become ocean.” As Adams says of the work:

“If you stop and think about the oceanic dimension of music, there’s this implication of immersion. We came from the ocean, and we’re going back to the ocean, right? We’re made up mostly of water, and life on earth first emerged from the seas. And with the melting of the polar ice caps and the rising sea levels, we may become ocean sooner than we imagine.”

The Sunken Cathedral finale will also include a world premiere by Jessica Meyer, and Luna Pearl Woolf’s After the Wave, dedicated to the survivors of the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed nearly a quarter of a million people. The full schedule of Sunken Cathedral concerts is available in the line list below.

On the day of Monteverdi’s 450th birthday, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Trinity Youth Chorus, and Trinity Baroque Orchestra led by Wachner will present a free performance of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, a monumental masterpiece involving an up to 10-part chorus, and seven soloists (May 9). The following day, the same forces will perform the piece in Philadelphia’s Cathedral Basilica, for which tickets are available here.

Apart from participating in the Monteverdi and Glass concerts, the Trinity Youth Chorus also presents its own performance, with Associate Director of Music Melissa Attebury conducting Vivaldi’s Gloria at St. Paul’s Chapel (Feb 17).

About Trinity Church Wall Street

A growing Episcopal community focused on service to others, Trinity is located in the heart of Manhattan’s Financial District, where it has created a dynamic home for music ministries. Trinity offers an unparalleled array of free, inspiring programming by world class performers in historic spaces throughout the year, in addition to liturgical music at worship services. Trinity’s music program incorporates high-quality music education and outreach to youth in New York City, furthering Trinity’s mission to build neighborhoods and foster faithful leadership. Led by Julian Wachner, music at Trinity ranges from large-scale oratorios to chamber music, and from intimate a cappella singing to jazz improvisation. Trinity’s roster of resident ensembles includes The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, new music orchestra NOVUS NY, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, the semi-professional choir Downtown Voices, Trinity Youth Chorus, Trinity ISO Florentine Youth Orchestra, and the Family Choir. Many concerts at Trinity are professionally filmed and webcast live at The Rev. Dr. William Lupfer is Rector of Trinity Church Wall Street and the Rev. Phillip Jackson is Vicar of Trinity Church Wall Street.

Trinity Church Wall Street: Spring 2017

All events take place at St Paul’s Chapel and are free of charge unless otherwise indicated.

Bach at One:  New York Baroque Incorporated (NYBI) and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street
The Handel Project:  Trinity Baroque Orchestra and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street; Julian Wachner, conductor
Concerts at One: Sunken Cathedral:  Guest artists and NOVUS NY

Friday, February 17, 5pm
Vivaldi: Gloria
Trinity Youth Chorus

Monday, March 6, 1pm
Bach at One: Mercy

  • S. Bach: Clavierübung III: Kyrie, Christe, Kyrie, BWV 672-4
  • P. Telemann: Missa Brevis, TWV 9:14
  • P. Krieger: Sonate a due violini, No.1 in D
  • S. Bach: Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust BWV 170

Wednesday, March 8, 1pm
The Handel Project
Jephtha, HWV 70 (Act 1)

Thursday, March 9, 1pm
Concerts at One: Sunken Cathedral
Bridget Kibbey, harp with guest artists from NOVUS NY

Monday, March 13, 1pm
Bach at One: Praise
Johannes Schenk: Le Nymphe di Rheno, Op. 8, Sonata XII

  • S. Bach: Clavierübung III: Allein gott in der Höh sei Ehr, BWV 675
  • Buxtehude: Jubilate Domino, BuxWV 64
  • M. Nicolai: Ciaconi a tre viol da gamba
  • Buxtehude: An filius non est Dei, BuxWV 6

Marin Marais: Pièces de viole, Livre IV, Suite No. 2 in G

Wednesday, March 15, 1pm
The Handel Project
Jephtha, HWV 70 (Act 2)

Thursday, March 16, 1pm
Concerts at One: Sunken Cathedral
Useful Chamber Orchestra

Monday, March 20, 1pm
Bach at One: Law

  • S. Bach: Clavierübung III: Dies sind die heil’gen zehn Gebot, BWV 679
  • S. Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, BWV 1050, I. Allegro
  • Buxtehude: Ist es recht, BuxWV 54

Johann David Heinichen: Concerto in D, S 266

  • S. Bach: Es ist das Heil uns kommen her, BWV 9

Wednesday, March 22, 1pm
The Handel Project
Jephtha, HWV 70 (Act 3)

Monday, March 27, 1pm
Bach at One: Faith

  • S. Bach: Clavierübung III: Wir glauben all’ an einen Gott, BWV 681
  • P. Krieger: Herr, auf dich trau ich
  • S. Bach: Bekennen will ich seinen Namen, BWV 200
  • Buxtehude: Trio Sonata Op. 2, No. 5 in A, BuxWV 263
    J. P. Krieger: O Jesu, du mein Leben
  • S. Bach: Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150

Wednesday, March 29, 1pm
The Handel Project
Solomon, HWV 67 (Act 1)

Thursday, March 30, 1pm
Concerts at One: Sunken Cathedral
Chris Pattishall Jazz Ensemble

Monday, April 3, 1pm
Bach at One:  Comfort

  • S. Bach: Clavierübung III: Vater unser im Himmelreich, BWV 683
  • S. Bach: Ich habe genug, BWV 82
  • M. Veracini: Ouverture VI in G minor
  • S. Bach: Komm, du süße Todesstunde, BWV 161

Wednesday, April 5, 1pm
The Handel Project
Solomon, HWV 67 (Act 2)

Thursday, April 6, 1pm
Concerts at One: Sunken Cathedral
City of Tomorrow woodwind quintet

Saturday, April 8, 7:30pm (Trinity Church, Broadway at Wall Street)

  • F. Handel: Israel in Egypt, HWV 54

Trinity Baroque Orchestra and Downtown Voices; Stephen Sands, conductor

Monday, April 10, 1pm
Bach at One:  Sacrifice

  • S. Bach: St. John Passion, BWV 245

Wednesday, April 19, 1pm
The Handel Project
Solomon, HWV 67 (Act 3)

Thursday, April 20, 1pm
Concerts at One: Sunken Cathedral / Third Thursdays with NOVUS NY
Lou Harrison Centennial Celebration
Harrison: Solstice
Julian Wachner, conductor

Friday, April 21 7:30pm (Nicholas Music Center, Rutgers University)
Lou Harrison Centennial Celebration
Rutgers Percussion Ensemble and Rutgers Kirkpatrick Choir
Patrick Gardner, conductor

Sunday, April 23, 5pm (Trinity Church, Broadway at Wall Street)
Lou Harrison Centennial Celebration
Harrison: La Koro Sutro, Song of Quetzalcoatl and Suite for Violin and American Gamelan
Rutgers Percussion Ensemble and Rutgers Kirkpatrick Choir
Patrick Gardner, conductor

Monday, April 24, 1pm
Bach at One: Water

  • S. Bach: Clavierübung III: Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam, BWV 685
  • G. Zavateri: Tempesta di Mare, Op. 1, Concerto No.12
  • C. Bach: Ach daß ich Wassers gnug hätte
  • Muffat: Armonico Tributo: Sonata No. 2 in G minor
  • Buxtehude: Gott, hilf mir, denn das Wasser geht mir bis an die Seele, BuxWV 34

Thursday, April 27, 1pm
Concerts at One: Sunken Cathedral

Saturday, April 29, 8pm (The Kitchen, 512 W 19th Street, New York)
MATA Festival
Tickets at

Monday, May 1, 1pm
Bach at One: Sorrow

  • S. Bach: Clavierübung III: Aus tiefer Noth schrei’ ich zu dir, BWV 687
  • Couperin: Troisième Leçon à deux voix from Leçons de ténèbres
  • F. Bach: “Dissonant” Symphony in F, F67
  • S. Bach: Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir, BWV 131

Thursday, May 4, 1pm
Concerts at One: Sunken Cathedral
Bora Yoon architectural soundscapes

Monday, May 8, 1pm
Bach at One: Gradus ad Parnassum

  • S. Bach: Clavierübung III: Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, BWV 689
  • S. Bach: Sehet, wir gehn hinauf gen Jerusalem, BWV 159
  • P. Telemann: Quartett in A minor, TWV 43:a3

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant: Stairway to Heaven, arr. Julian Wachner

  • P. Telemann: Du aber Daniel, gehe hin, TWV 4:17

Tuesday, May 9, 8pm

Wednesday, May 10, 7:30pm (Cathedral Basilica, Philadelphia, PA)
Monteverdi Vespers
Claudio Monteverdi: Vespro della Beata Vergine
Trinity Baroque Orchestra, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Trinity Youth Chorus
Julian Wachner, conductor

Thursday, May 11, 1pm
Concerts at One: Sunken Cathedral
Canadian Brass

Thursday, May 18, 1pm
Concerts at One: Sunken Cathedral / Third Thursdays with NOVUS NY
John Luther Adams: Become Ocean
Jessica Meyer:  World Premiere
Luna Pearl Wolfe: After the Wave
Julian Wachner, conductor

Friday, May 19, 8pm (Trinity Church, Broadway at Wall Street)

Saturday, May 20, 8pm (Trinity Church, Broadway at Wall Street)
Philip Glass: Symphony No. 5 (Requiem, Bardo, Nirmanakaya)
NOVUS NY, Downtown Voices, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Trinity Youth Chorus
Julian Wachner, conductor

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© 21C Media Group, February 2017

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