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Trinity Church Wall Street’s Time’s Arrow Festival Celebrates the 250th anniversary of St. Paul’s Chapel; Includes New Opera Workshops, World Premieres, Site-specific Performances and More (Jan 1-12)

Trinity Church Wall Street’s annual series of concerts in January has long been a highlight of the musical season. Entitled “Time’s Arrow” to allude to Trinity’s signature juxtaposition of early and modern music, the 2017 festival (Jan 1-12) celebrates the 250th anniversary of the opening of St. Paul’s Chapel, the oldest church building in Manhattan. Programming that reflects this theme includes the series “Travelin’ Home,” tracing Manhattan’s musical heritage from the indigenous people to contemporary New York, and a recital program called “On This Island,” featuring composers who have been inspired by New York City. In collaboration with partners including Prototype Festival and VisionIntoArt’s FERUS Festival, this year’s Time’s Arrow will also include world premieres of Paola Prestini’s A Mass: The Imaginary World of Wild Order and Zachary Wadsworth’s concert-length Spire and Shadow, celebrating St. Paul’s Chapel; concert readings of Trinity Director of Music Julian Wachner’s new opera REV. 23 and Laura Schwendinger’s opera Artemisia; early music and foundational works of American music; and much more. Most of the performances are free of charge.

A series of five interactive recitals, titled “Travelin’ Home,” offer music that one would have heard in Lower Manhattan from before St. Paul’s was built up to the present day. The recitals present music of Native Americans, African slaves, the Dutch who built “New Amsterdam,” and 19th-century immigrants, and the series finale concert evokes the melting pot of present-day Manhattan. Two performances take place off-site. The first, at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, gives guests the opportunity to participate in the performance and tour the permanent collection “Infinity of Nations.” During the second, which takes place at the Tenement Museum, guests will tour a historical tenement hearing music that the culturally diverse 19th-century occupants would have made while living there. Travelin’ Home performers include baritone Stephen Salters, Taíno singer/songwriter Irka Mateo, the early music ensemble Helicon led by Trinity’s own Avi Stein on harpsichord, and the Triton Brass Quintet, with more to be announced soon. The series is curated by Trinity Production Manager and trumpeter Walker Beard.

Nowhere is the Time’s Arrow theme more apparent than in the finale of the festival (Jan 12). Motets by Dufay and Hildegard von Bingen, along with Machaut’s La Messe de Nostre Dame, provide a counterpoint to the world premiere of Paola Prestini’s A Mass: The Imaginary World of Wild Order on texts by American poet Brenda Shaughnessy, part of Trinity’s large-scale “Mass Reimaginings” commissioning project. Prestini’s new mass uses a different language as the mode of expression for each movement, from the traditional Greek and Latin of the Kyrie and Credo to a Spanish Sanctus, an English Gloria, and an Agnus Dei with text in Swahili. The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Trinity’s resident contemporary music orchestra NOVUS NY, conducted by Wachner, will present a preview of Prestini’s work at VisionIntoArt’s annual FERUS festival a few days earlier at Brooklyn new music venue National Sawdust. The program also features selections from other Mass Reimaginings commissions by Wachner, Daniel Felsenfeld, Sarah Kirkland Snider and Jonathan Newman, supplemented with talks by librettists Rick Moody, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Royce Vavrek (Jan 8). Curated by Daniel Felsenfeld and designed to enrich both the concert and liturgical choral repertoire with five 21st-century takes on the traditional Mass, Mass Reimaginings was launched during last year’s Time’s Arrow festival with the premiere of Felsenfeld’s contribution to the project. The remaining commissions will be premiered in the fall of 2017.

New opera also plays an important role in this year’s festival. Members of The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and NOVUS NY, led by Wachner, participate in performances of Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek’s exuberantly received new opera Breaking the Waves in its New York premiere at the Prototype Festival (Jan 6, 7 & 9), and Time’s Arrow includes two other new operas in concert readings, one composed by Wachner himself. The readings are both on January 7 in the afternoon, beginning with the world premiere of the National Opera Center Discovery Grant-winning Artemisia by Laura Schwendinger. The opera tells the story of the 17th-century Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi, who, despite being a respected artist in her time and the first female member of Florence’s prestigious Accademia di Arte del Disegno, was remembered for centuries merely as a teenage victim of rape. Schwendinger, the first composer to win the American Academy in Berlin prize, composed the work to a libretto by Ginger Strand, author of the recently published The Brothers Vonnegut, which was praised by Booklist as “superb, provocative and crystal-clear narrative nonfiction.”

Following the Artemisia performance is a presentation of Wachner’s REV. 23, on a libretto by Cerise Jacobs. Drawing characters freely from mythology, history, and the Bible, REV. 23 is Jacobs’s comic addition to the Book of Revelation, the canonical form of which has only 22 chapters, and concerns the question of whether human beings could ever be truly happy or even truly human in Revelation’s promised paradise-on-earth. A work-in-progress set to premiere in finished form in Boston next fall, the opera recently went through a three-week development process at the New England Conservatory, after which excerpts were performed at the Boston New Music Festival.

A further world premiere in this year’s Time’s Arrow is Spire and Shadow by versatile young American composer Zachary Wadsworth. Commissioned by Trinity for the 250th anniversary of the opening of St. Paul’s Chapel, the 17-movement work is based on poems about New York that span five centuries. It will be premiered by Trinity’s new semi-professional chorus Downtown Voices, conducted by Stephen Sands, along with NOVUS NY.

Appropriately for a festival honoring the opening of St. Paul’s Chapel 250 years ago, other events focus both on today’s Trinity Church Wall Street musical family and the musical history of the broader United States. Opening the festival on January 2 is a pair of concerts collectively called “A Creative Home.” Curated by The Choir of Trinity Wall Street member Christopher Dylan Herbert, the programs focus on the intimate art song genre and feature music from 1990 to the present by composers connected with Trinity, including Doug Balliett, James Blachly, Caleb Burhans, Owen Burdick, Chris DeBlasio, Eric Dudley, Caroline Shaw, Julian Wachner, and Jonathan Woody (Jan 2 at 1pm & 5pm). A reception follows the 5pm concert. A performance by mezzo Elspeth Davis, pianist Erika Dohi, and Sandbox Percussion of George Crumb’s American Songbook III: Unto These Hills on January 4 provides a look at earlier developments in American music. The work’s traditional hymns, spirituals and popular tunes are set in a contemporary idiom, with the pianist and percussion ensemble using a variety of extended techniques. Finally, soprano Sarah Brailey, also a member of The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, presents a themed recital called “On This Island” with pianist Lynn Baker, exploring the immigrant experience from the turn of the 20th century to the present through composers who have found inspiration in New York City. The program includes iconic American composer Charles Ives’s interpretations of traditional American songs; music by Dvorák, Schoenberg, Kurt Weill, Benjamin Britten and Thea Musgrave; and spirituals arranged by Harry Burleigh (Jan 9).

Two “Compline by Candlelight” services (Jan 1 & 8); three “Bach at One” concerts during which Bach’s six-part Christmas Oratorio will be performed by The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Trinity Baroque Orchestra, two sections at a time (Jan 3, 4 & 6); and a performance by the Founders ensemble of creative arrangements of American music by Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Harold Arlen, Bobby Bland and more (Jan 10) round out the Time’s Arrow lineup.

To download high-resolution photos, click here.

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: 2017 Time’s Arrow Festival

All events take place at St. Paul’s Chapel, on Broadway at Fulton Street, unless otherwise specified.

Sunday, Jan 1, 8pm
Compline by Candlelight
Lessons and Carols
The Choir of Trinity Wall Street; Julian Wachner, conductor

Monday, Jan 2, 1pm & 5pm
Opening Concerts and Reception
A Creative Home: Music written and performed by Musicians of Trinity
Christopher Dylan Herbert, curator
Jonathan Woody: St. Paul’s Chapel
Doug Balliett: Aeschylean Theater
Chris DeBlasio: In Endless Assent
Eric Dudley: Variations
James Blachly: Amours in the Deep
Sarah Brailey, soprano; Luthien Brackett, mezzo-soprano; Timothy Parsons, countertenor; Timothy Hodges, tenor; Christopher Dylan Herbert, baritone; Steven Hrycelak, bass; Timothy Long, piano
­Caroline Shaw: Gustave le Grey
Caleb Burhans: A Poem Written for the Concrete Beneath the Bridge
Chris DeBlasio: All the Way Through Evening
Owen Burdick: Mary Speaks
Julian Wachner: Four Scenes from the Rubayyat
Linda Lee Jones, soprano; Melissa Attebury, mezzo-soprano; Andrew Fuchs, tenor; Timothy Hodges, tenor; Christopher Dylan Herbert, baritone; Edmund Milly, bass-baritone; Chris Reynolds, piano

Tuesday, Jan 3, 1pm
Bach at One
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 (Parts I & III)
The Choir of Trinity Wall Street; Trinity Baroque Orchestra; Julian Wachner, conductor

Wednesday Jan 4, 1pm
Bach at One
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 (Parts II & IV)
The Choir of Trinity Wall Street; Trinity Baroque Orchestra; Julian Wachner, conductor

Wednesday, Jan 4, 5pm
George Crumb: American Songbook III: Unto These Hills
Elspeth Davis, mezzo-soprano; Erika Dohi, piano; Sandbox Percussion (Ian Rosenbaum, Victor Caccese, Jonny Allen, Terry Sweeney)

Thursday, Jan 5, 3pm (National Museum of the American Indian) & 5pm (St. Paul’s Chapel)
Travelin’ Home
Walker Beard, curator
3pm: The Indigenous People of New York City with Irka Mateo
5pm: African Burial Ground with Stephen Salters, baritone

Friday, Jan 6, 1pm
Bach at One
Christmas Oratorio, BVW 248 (Parts V & VI)
The Choir of Trinity Wall Street; Trinity Baroque Orchestra; Julian Wachner, conductor

Saturday, Jan 7, 1pm
New Opera Workshop: Artemisia (world premiere)
Laura Schwendinger: composer
Ginger Strand: librettist
Leni Schwendinger: lighting-image designer
Artemisia Gentileschi: Patricia Green
Susanna: Marnie Breckenridge
Tomasso: Andrew Fuchs
Agostino Tassi; Elder 1: Andrew Garland
Cosimo di Medici; Elder 2: Jonathan Woody

Saturday, Jan 7, 3pm
New Opera Workshop: REV. 23
Julian Wachner: composer and conductor
Cerise Jacobs: librettist
Josh Major: workshop director
Mark Streshinsky: stage director
Cori Ellison: dramaturg
Joe Gladstone: stage manager
Daniela Candillari: assistant conductor
Friends of Madame White Snake: executive producer
Lucifer: Josh Quinn
Hades: Vale Rideout
Persephone: Heather Buck
Adam: John McVeigh
Eve: Katherine Pracht
Sun Tze: Matt Anchel
Arch Angel: Michael Maniaci
Fury 1: Jamie-Rose Guarrine
Fury 2: Melanie Long
Fury 3: Nora Graham-Smith

Jan 6, 7, & 9 7:30pm (NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts)
Prototype Festival
New Music Chamber Opera: Breaking the Waves
Mizzy Mazzoli, composer
Royce Vavrek, librettist
NOVUS NY; Members of The Choir of Trinity Wall Street; Julian Wachner, conductor

Ticketed. Visit

Sunday, Jan 8, 4pm (National Sawdust)
FERUS Festival
Mass Reimaginings Commissions Showcase
NOVUS NY; The Choir of Trinity Wall Street; Julian Wachner, conductor
Ticketed. Visit

Sunday, Jan 8, 8pm
Compline by Candlelight
The Choir of Trinity Wall Street; Julian Wachner, conductor

Monday, Jan 9, 1pm
On This Island
Music by Britten, Dvořák, Ives, Schoenberg, Kurt Weill, Thea Musgrave, and Harry Burleigh
Sarah Brailey, soprano; Lynn Baker, piano

Tuesday, Jan 10, 1pm
Travelin’ Home: Across the Pond; New Amsterdam to New York
Helicon: Beth Wenstrom & Johanna Novom, violins; Ezra Seltzer, cello; Charles Weaver, guitar
Avi Stein, harpsichord & Artistic Director

Tuesday Jan, 10, 5pm
Founders: Under the Rainbow
Creative arrangements of American music by Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Harold Arlen, Bobby Bland and more
Ben Russell, violin and voice; Hamilton Berry, cello and voice; Brandon Ridenour, piano and trumpet; Andrew Roitstein, bass; Yoonah Kim, clarinet

Wednesday, Jan 11, 6:30pm (NYC Tenement Museum)
Travelin’ Home: Tenements and the Immigrant Experience in the 19th Century
Interactive experience with Tenement Museum Educators and Artists TBD
Walker Beard, curator
Ticketed. Visit

Wednesday, Jan 11, 5pm
Commission for St. Paul’s Chapel: Spire and Shadow
Zachary Wadsworth: Spire and Shadow (world premiere)
NOVUS NY; Downtown Voices; Stephen Sands, conductor

Thursday, Jan 12, 1pm
Travelin’ Home: Contemporary New York
Triton Brass Quintet
Walker Beard, curator
Thursday, Jan 12, 5pm
Time’s Arrow Finale
Hildegard von Bingen: Ave Maria, o auctrix; Ave generosa; O quam mirabilis; Hodie aperuit nobis; O virdissima virga
Machaut: La Messe de Nostre Dame
Dufay: O sancte Sebastiane; Salve, flos tuscae gentis; Magnanimae gentis; Rite maiorem
Paola Prestini/Brenda Shaughnessy: A Mass-The Imaginary World of Wild Order (world premiere)
The Choir of Trinity Wall Street; NOVUS NY; Julian Wachner, conductor


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© 21C Media Group, December 2016

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