Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation Kicks Off New Season Of Great Music At St. Bart’s With Live Choral And Orchestral Music And An Opportunity To Enjoy Great Works By World-Renowned Musicians
NEW YORK (November 21, 2019) – The Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation announces its 2019-20 program for Great Music at St. Bart’s, its concert series that for the past nine years has presented music in St. Bartholomew’s Church, a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. Located in the heart of midtown Manhattan the magnificent 1918 Romanesque-style church features two of New York’s unlikely but outstanding concert spaces: the 150-seat chapel, an intimate and acoustically brilliant space that is perfectly suited for contemporary chamber music, and the majestic 1,000-seat sanctuary – outfitted with comfortable chairs enabling flexible seating – whose Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ is the largest in New York City and one of the finest examples of the American Classic Organ in the United States.
The 2019-20 Great Music series includes soloist and ensemble/orchestral vocal and instrumental performances designed to expose audiences both to the grandeur of St. Bartholomew’s and its exceptional acoustic features. It continues the programmatic focus initiated by MMPAF Artistic Director Paolo Bordignon (Organist and Choirmaster of St. Bart’s): to embrace a wide range of music in programs that shine in St. Bart’s spaces. Bordignon is a sought-after soloist and chamber musician who performs regularly as the harpsichordist for the New York Philharmonic and has received high acclaim for “outstanding,” “lively and distinctive” interpretations of early music to “compelling” performances of avant-garde repertoire. In 2018-19, he has performed with Camerata Pacifica, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Boston Symphony Chamber Players, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, All-Star Orchestra, Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, ECCO – East Coast Chamber Orchestra, the Florida Orchestra, and a Trans-Siberian Arts Festival tour with the Sejong Soloists. He has previously appeared with the English Chamber Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, the Knights, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.
The season kicks into full swing Saturday, December 14, with “A Joyous Christmas Concert,” an annual sell-out favorite for music-lovers and holiday celebrants of all types. Featuring beloved traditional and new holiday arrangements sung by St. Bartholomew’s Choir and Boy and Girl Choristers and highlighting the majestic St. Bart’s pipe organ, this annual tradition is the perfect way to pause during the chaos of Christmas preparations and reflect on the true meaning of the season.
Great Music at St. Bart’s continues through May 2020, with the following scheduled events:
- On Tuesday, December 17, Baritone Jeff Morrissey offers his annual holiday presentation of “Adoration of the Magi,” inspired by the paintings in the St. Bart’s Chapel depicting the Nativity of Christ.
- On Tuesday, December 31, Paolo Bordignon will lead New York in “A Concert to Usher in the New Year,” featuring a moving selection of music performed on St. Bart’s prized Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ and a midnight champagne reception to toast the new year.
- The organ will take center stage again for a recital on Thursday, January 23, in which St. Bartholomew’s Assistant Organist Clara Gerdes will explore the rich colors of the 12,422 pipe organ in a transcription of Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe Suite No. 2, a work of transcendent beauty, as well as Julius Reubke’s virtuosic and monumental Sonata on the 94th Psalm.
- On Thursday, February 13, the Orchestra Modern, the newest ensemble of The Clarion Music Society, brings a program of works by Medtner and Tchaikovsky to St. Bart’s, featuring piano virtuoso Ilya Maximov.
- Sunday, March 8 will mark the return of another annual MMPAF treasure, a performance of chamber music by the Apple Hill String Quartet, with highlights this year including Mozart’s A Major String Quartet, the NYC premiere of Kinan Azmeh’s clarinet quintet, and a finale featuring violinist Rebecca Fischer and pianist Yi-heng Yang joining the Quartet for a performance of Ernest Chausson’s Concerto for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet.
- The Great Music season concludes on Thursday, May 7, 2020 with “Juilliard Organists in Recital,” featuring performances by young artists from around the world who are members of the Juilliard Organ Studio, led by Chairman Paul Jacobs.
All regular tickets to Great Music at St. Bart’s are priced between $15 and $50, with discounts available for students and seniors. Admission to “A Concert to Usher In the New Year,” and Clara Gerdes in recital are free.
Rounding out St. Bart’s musical offerings is the ongoing Midtown Concerts, a series of free weekly early music programs that run from September through June.
Great Music at St. Bart’s is produced by the Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation (MMPAF), an independent 501(c)(3) corporation established to cultivate, promote, sponsor and develop the understanding and love of the performing arts as presented at St. Bartholomew’s Church. The corporation sponsors performances of music, dance, drama, and other performing arts as well as the exhibition of works in the film and fine arts genres. For more information, visit http://mmpaf.org
St. Bartholomew’s Church was founded in January 1835. Its present building, a Byzantine-style structure with an iconic dome, designed by Bertram Goodhue and completed in 1918, has had a vital presence in New York for more than a century. St. Bartholomew’s also became a force in the musical life of the city and the wider church: Legendary musicians such as Leopold Stokowski, who went on to a career as one of the world’s great conductors, Harold Friedell, James Litton, and William Trafka have served the church as Organist and Choirmaster. For many decades, a world-famous weekly series of Evensongs featuring performances of the great oratorios by St. Bartholomew’s Choir was offered free of charge, stressing the parish’s commitment to inclusion by ministering to a wide community. Great Music at St. Bart’s, an outgrowth of these Evensongs, still offers the greater New York City community top-shelf concert performances at very reasonable ticket prices.