Press Room

Trinity Wall Street Presents Sacred Music by Bach and a New Series

This spring, the musical offerings at Trinity Wall Street will be richer and more ambitious than ever, highlighting the church’s commitment to presenting holy music in its hallowed spaces. The performances and music accompanying worship services range from Johann Sebastian Bach’s sacred masterpieces (including the St. Matthew Passion) to a new series for the reflective season of Lent that will explore civil rights activism through jazz and storytelling.
“Bach at One”
On March 21, J. S. Bach’s birthday, Trinity Wall Street’s “Bach at One” service debuts.  Over the next five years, all of Bach’s 200-plus cantatas will be heard inside the historic St. Paul’s Chapel, which dates back to 1766.  Bach’s cycles of cantatas on the themes of the sacred calendar comprise a vast body of peerless music, and Trinity’s ambitious program will enable chapel visitors to wonder at these ever-inspiring examples of religious art.  Conducted by Trinity’s Director of Music and the Arts, Julian Wachner, each “Bach at One” installment will feature the Trinity Choir and Trinity Baroque Orchestra.
“Bach at One” takes place each Monday at 1pm in St. Paul’s Chapel (Broadway and Fulton Street).  The March 21 service will feature Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis (I Had Much Affliction), BWV 21, which ranges from the sighing, sorrowful emotions of the opening sinfonia to an eventual pealing joy and final hymn of praise.
The cantatas will be heard alongside motets by Heinrich Schütz, one of Bach’s most prestigious and influential predecessors.
Bach’s St. Matthew Passion
Bach himself once stated: “The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.”  On April 14 at 7:30pm at Trinity Church (Broadway at Wall Street), the Trinity Choir and Trinity Baroque Orchestra led by Julian Wachner will set the tone for Holy Week and the Easter season with Bach’s St. Matthew Passion – not only one of the composer’s most majestic and moving works but one of the towering masterpieces of Western sacred art, brimming as it is with endless musical depth and multiple layers of mystical and theological symbolism.  Veteran baritone Sanford Sylvan will sing the part of Jesus, with tenor William Hite as the Evangelist.
Wachner’s performances of Bach have been justly celebrated.  His performance of the St. Matthew Passion at Harvard University was praised at length by the Boston Globe:
“There has been no shortage of fine performances of the Passion in this city.  But none compared in setting forth the terror, the anguish, and the inherent hope of this narrative so central to the Christian faith.  It was clear from the opening section, with its complex antiphonal dialogue among choruses, double orchestra, and children’s choir, that this would be an extraordinary performance. … Throughout, Wachner emphasized the almost dance-like quality of the rhythms and the transparency of the textures.  He also made the most of the work’s extraordinary theatricality and vivid text-painting.”
At 1pm on the day of the performance, Wachner will give a “Preview at One” lecture-demonstration on Bach and liturgical music.  The full performance of the St. Matthew Passion will be webcast live and on-demand at
“Jazz Meditations in Lent”
For five Sundays from March 13 to April 10, 4:30 to 5:30pm in St. Paul’s Chapel, Trinity will host “Jazz Meditations in Lent.”  This new series, created for the reflective season of Lent, will celebrate the lives of men and women of faith and courage with storytelling and prayers, along with the added dimension of musical meditation through jazz improvisation. Music will be provided by the Theodicy Jazz Collective and pianist Craig Hartley, with poems and prayers by Chester Johnson; congregational singing will bookend the hour-long events (see schedule below).
The Theodicy Jazz Collective is a group committed to building community and empowering people, with music as a vehicle for social change.  The group’s sound is influenced by the spirituals and gospel music of the African-American church, as well as progressive jazz and world music.  The collective is based in New Haven, Connecticut, where it leads the weekly jazz Eucharist at the Episcopal Church of St. Paul and St. James.  Its members include vocalist Ann Phelps, pianist Andy Barnett, saxophonist Will Cleary, trombonist Sarah Politz, bassist Mike Asetta, and drummer Justin Haaheim.
“Meditations” schedule:
March 13: Profile of Jonathan Daniels
With storyteller Leah Reddy and pianist Craig Hartley
March 20: Profile of W.E.B. DuBois
With storyteller Kyle Brooks and the Theodicy Jazz Collective
March 27: Profile of James Weldon Johnson
With storyteller Kyle Brooks and the Theodicy Jazz Collective
April 3: Profile of Ida B. Wells-Barnett
With storyteller Dr. Emilie M. Townes and the Theodicy Jazz Collective
April 10: Profile of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
With storyteller Lyvonne Briggs and the Theodicy Jazz Collective
Trinity Wall Street
One of the oldest, largest, and most vibrant of all Episcopal parishes, Trinity Wall Street is located in the heart of New York’s financial district, where it has created a dynamic home for great music.  Trinity Wall Street opened its 2010-11 season with an exciting new appointment, as noted conductor, composer, and keyboardist Julian Wachner took over as director of Trinity’s Music and the Arts program.  Serving as principal conductor of the Trinity Choir and Trinity Baroque Orchestra, he also oversees all liturgical, professional, and community Music and Arts programming at Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel.  For Wachner’s season-opening debut, he led an account of Handel’s oratorio Israel in Egypt that the New York Times praised as “superbly performed.”  In December, Wachner continued Trinity Wall Street’s 240-year tradition of presenting Handel’s Messiah.
The Trinity Choir and Trinity Baroque Orchestra offer a full season of concerts ranging from large-scale oratorios to intimate evenings of a cappella singing and chamber music.  Further concerts this season include the Trinity Choir and Trinity Baroque Orchestra in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (April 14) and the Trinity Choir in works by contemporary American composer Elena Ruehr (May 19).  Trinity Wall Street, located at Broadway and Wall Street, also presents the popular “Concerts at One” recital series; held on Thursdays at 1pm, this features an array of soloists and ensembles, and is free and open to the public.
All concerts at Trinity Wall Street are professionally filmed and broadcast live at
Trinity Choir and Trinity Baroque Orchestra: 2011 concerts
April 14
Trinity Choir & Trinity Baroque Orchestra / Julian Wachner
J. S. Bach: St. Matthew Passion
May 19
Trinity Choir / Julian Wachner
Music of Elena Ruehr
Concerts begin at 7:30pm, with previews at 1pm on show days.  Tickets may be purchased at or at the Trinity Church gift shop, located on Broadway at Wall Street.

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