Harlem’s Cathedral Of St. John The Divine Celebrates With Joyous Carols Concert

The Christmas season is on its way, and Harlem’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine is ready to celebrate with two Joy of Christmas concerts.

The concert il be on Friday, December 9, 2022, and Saturday, December 10, 2022, at 7 pm at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue (at 112th Street), in Harlem, NY.

Conducted by Kent Tritle, Director of Cathedral Music, and Bryan Zaros, Associate Director of Music and Choirmaster, the Cathedral choirs, orchestra, and soloists and combined choirs will perform Antonio Vivaldi’s exquisite Magnificat, alongside the world premieres of two works by living composers: “In Bethlehem above” by Yshani Perinpanayagam and “The Christmas Bird” by Sheena Philips. Carols sung by all are interspersed with selections for treble voices and harp—including Christmas favorites by Caccini, Rutter, Fraser and Britten—sung by the Cathedral Choristers. Gerald Finzi’s timely In Terra Pax (Peace on earth) brings the story of Jesus’s birth into a contemporary setting, invoking a vision of peace for the world.

For tickets and more information, visit stjohndivine.org/music.

PROGRAM

CATHEDRAL CHOIRS & ORCHESTRA

  • Kent Tritle & Bryan Zaros, conductors
  • Halley Gilbert & Eva Martinez, sopranos
  • Kirsten Sollek, contralto
  • Austin Cody, tenor
  • Andrew Jurden, bass-baritone
  • Antonio Vivaldi: Magnificat, RV 610
  • Gerald Finzi: In Terra Pax
  • Sheena Philips: The Christmas Bird
  • Yshani Perinpanayagam: In Bethlehem above
  • Traditional Swedish Carol: Sankta Lucia
  • John Rutter: Tomorrow shall be my dancing day
  • Giulio Caccini: Ave Maria
  • Donald Fraser: This Christmastide (Jessye’s Carol)
  • Benjamin Britten: Selections from A Ceremony of Carols
  • & favorite Christmas carols

The Artists

Kent Tritle is one of America’s leading choral conductors. Called “the brightest star in New York’s choral music world” by The New York Times, he is Director of Cathedral Music and Organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City; Music Director of Musica Sacra, the longest continuously performing professional chorus in New York; and Music Director of the Oratorio Society of New York, the acclaimed volunteer chorus.

In addition, Kent is a member of the graduate faculty of The Juilliard School, serving its Vocal Arts Department. An acclaimed organ virtuoso, he is also the organist of the New York Philharmonic.

Kent Tritle founded the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space concert series at New York’s Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, and led it to great acclaim from 1989 to 2011. From 1996 to 2004, he was Music Director of New York’s The Dessoff Choirs.  Kent hosted “The Choral Mix with Kent Tritle” on New York’s WQXR, a weekly program devoted to the vibrant world of choral music, from 2010 to 2014. Among his recent honors are the 2020 Chorus America Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art, the 2017 Distinguished Achievement Award from Career Bridges and the 2016 President’s Medal for Distinguished Service from the Manhattan School of Music. Kent is on the advisory boards of the Choral Composer/Conductor Collective (C4) and the Clarion Music Society, and was the 2016 honoree at Clarion’s annual gala. He was recently featured in the WIRED video series “Masterminds,” an installment titled, “What Conductors Are Really Doing.” www.kenttritle.com.

Bryan Zaros is a young American conductor recognized for his “strong musical imagination” and “deep sense of musicality and communication.”  Bryan is the Associate Choirmaster at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine where he leads the Cathedral Choirs, Orchestra and Brass in liturgical as well as concert performances in the grand space of the world’s largest Gothic Cathedral. He is also the Music Director of Central City Chorus, Music Director of The Pro Arte Chorale and a frequent guest lecturer at the Manhattan School of Music and at music conferences throughout the USA. Currently he serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Choral Consortium, on the Advisory Board to Music Sacra New York and is a conductor for the American Federation Pueri Cantores.

A native New Yorker, Bryan began his professional musical training as a member of the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus and as a boy chorister at The Church of the Transfiguration, NYC. He earned his Bachelor of Music in Sacred Music from Westminster Choir College, a Master of Music in Conducting from the University of Michigan and is a candidate ABD for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting at the Manhattan School of Music.


Recent conducting engagements have included invitations with choirs and orchestras throughout the USA, Europe and South America. Most notably he has conducted ensembles at Alice Tully Hall-Lincoln Center, the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., at American Choral Director’s Association Conferences, on the film set at Warner Bros. Studios and at various cathedrals in England including Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral-London and Canterbury Cathedral. He is a recipient of several conducting awards and fellowships including an American Prize award in Conducting. For more information about Bryan, visit www.bryanzaros.com

Austin Cody is a tenor and conductor based in New York City. He currently sings in the Cathedral Choir at St. John the Divine and has recently performed with the American Soloist Ensemble, the National Chorus of Korea, Artefact Ensemble, ARTEK Early Music, and Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity. He is an alumni of the TENET Vocal Artists’ mentorship program. Recent solo performances include the titular roles of Jephte in Carissimi’s oratorio with the Illinois Bach Academy and Bastien in Mozart’s operetta at Cornell University. Recently Austin has been featured as a tenor soloist in Bach Cantatas 4, 70, 78, 106, and 196 with the Illinois Bach Academy and Bach Vespers NYC.

Austin completed a Master of Music in Choral Conducting at the University of Illinois where he studied under Andrew Megill and served as assistant director for the University’s two glee clubs, saw two years as Music Director of the Unitarian Universalist church in Urbana, and sang in the small chamber ensemble Ecco. As a conductor outside of Illinois, Austin has worked with choirs at Cornell University, Kenyon College, the New York State Summer School of the Arts, and the choir at Holy Trinity Lutheran in New York City.

Of Soprano Halley Gilbert’s Zerbinetta in Utopia Opera’s production of Ariadne auf Naxos, James Jorden of the New York Observer wrote: “Stealing the show was Halley Gilbert as Zerbinetta, flinging out crystalline trills, arpeggios, staccati and roulades…Ms. Gilbert’s frankness…made the text sound like it could have been written yesterday.” She has performed multiple leading roles including Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Cunegonde (Candide), Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Violetta (La Traviata), Nanetta (Falstaff), Ännchen (Der Freischütz), Younger Soprano (Impresario), and Birdie (Regina). Other roles include Ms. Wordsworth (Albert Herring), Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflӧte), Chlorinda (Cenerentola) and Frasquita (Carmen). Ms. Gilbert has been a featured soloist with the Great Music in a Great Space Concert Series, Musica Sacra, Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, Lake Placid Sinfonietta, and Bronx Arts Ensemble among others. She received first prize in both Opera Idol NYC and the Jenny Lind Competition for Sopranos and was a Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Kansas native Andrew Jurden sings in a number of musical mediums, from the bass solo in Mozart’s Requiem with the Manhattan School of Music Symphonic Chorus to backing up Madonna at the Met Gala performance with Clarion Choral Society. He sang, directed and shot the virtual world-premiere of The Oval Portrait, a new micro-opera by Felix Jarrar for Opera Elect’s New Works Concert Series, and looks forward to premiering Jarrar’s Janus & Juno, a song cycle for soprano, baritone, and piano.In 2019, he was the recipient of the Pro Arte Chorale Young Singers Award; he sang the baritone solo for Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem with EnsembleNYC; sang Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte along with other recitals of only Mozart with Mountain Opera; the bass solo in Schubert’s Mass No. 6 in E flat major with the Manhattan School of Music Symphonic Chorus; and at The Metropolitan Opera Guild’s Masterly Singing Series: Don Giovanni Masterclass with Jane Marsh. He was a Choral Scholar at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and in 2022 performed Caleidoscópio! with Rose of the Compass in an exploration of rarely heard sacred and secular Portuguese music.

Eva Rae Martinez is a fourth-year student at Manhattan School of Music (MSM) studying classical voice with Ms. Shirley Close. In her time at MSM, Eva has had the opportunity to perform Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with orchestra, both the Mozart Requiem and Fauré Requiem as the soprano soloist, scenes from I puritani (Elvira), scenes from L’elisir d’amore (Adina), and Verdi’s La traviata (chorus). She also appeared as Juliette in scenes from Gounod’s Romèo et Juliette this past summer at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival Operafest. Eva’s most recent engagement was with the Olmos Ensemble, based in San Antonio, Texas, for a recital with pianist Warren Jones and clarinetist Ilya Shterenberg featuring works by Poulenc, Vaughn Williams, and Schubert. Eva is a finalist of the National YoungArts Competition in Miami, Florida, a Schmidt Vocal Competition Finalist in New York City, a Presidential Scholar in the Arts Semifinalist, and a recipient of the Bruce Montgomery Foundation for the Arts Springboard Grant. Eva aspires to further her studies abroad to ultimately pursue a career in opera.

Kirsten Sollek has been called “…an appealingly rich alto” and “…true contralto” by The New York Times, and “…an ideal Bach alto” with “elemental tone quality” by The Philadelphia Inquirer. Highlights include Duruflé’s Requiem and Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater with Great Music in a Great Space, Pierre Boulez’s Le Marteau Sans Maître with Novus New York at Trinity Wall Street, Bach’s Magnificat with Musica Angelica Baroque in Los Angeles, Handel’s Resurrezione with the Helicon Foundation, and Brahms’s Alto Rhapsody with the String Orchestra of Brooklyn. She has performed with Bach Collegium Japan, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Tafelmusik, Kansas City Symphony, and Minnesota Orchestra.

In 2019, Ms. Sollek created the role of Woman in Hannah Lash’s chamber opera Desire at the Miller Theatre in NYC. Other opera credits include the title role (cover) in Handel’s Rinaldo for Glyndebourne, Rosmira in Handel’s Partenope with Boston Baroque, and Bradamante in Handel’s Alcina for the Teatro Municipal de Santiago in Chile.

2021-2022 engagements include ASTRONAUTICA: Voices of Women in Space with Trio Triumphatrix, Händel’s Messiah with Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue, Haydn’s Schöpfungsmesse with Riverside Choral Society, and music of John Zorn for the Elbphilharmonie’s REFLEKTOR festival in Hamburg. 

The Cathedral

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is the Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. It is chartered as a house of prayer for all people and a unifying center of intellectual light and leadership.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cathedral has responded to changing needs in the local community and across the city and state. People from many faiths and communities worship together in daily services held online and in person; the soup kitchen serves roughly 50,000 meals annually; social service outreach has an increasingly varied roster of programs to safely provide resources and aid to the hardest-hit New Yorkers; the distinguished Cathedral School prepares young students to be future leaders; Advancing the Community of Tomorrow, the

renowned preschool, afterschool and summer program, offers diverse educational and nurturing experiences; the outstanding Textile Conservation Lab preserves world treasures; concerts, exhibitions, performances and civic gatherings allow conversation, celebration, reflection and remembrance—such is the joyfully busy life of this beloved and venerated Cathedral.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue (at 112th Street) in Harlem, NY.

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