MMPAF’s exciting 2015-2016 Season has been announced! Please enjoy an abridged version of our press release (below). Or delve into the full press release by clicking here.
GREAT MUSIC AT ST. BART’S LAUNCHES ITS 2015-16 SEASON WITH AN EXPANDED CONCERT SERIES: 10 MAIN EVENTS FROM SOUTH AMERICAN BAROQUE TO CONTEMPORARY CUBAN, FROM BACH TO ANDY AKIHO, AND JOHN ZORN’S THE HERMETIC ORGAN, SHOWCASE TWO OUTSTANDING CONCERT SPACES
Great Music at St. Bart’s, the concert series produced by the Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation (MMPAF) which for the past five years has presented music in the magnificent St. Bartholomew’s Church in midtown Manhattan, is expanding its offerings and focusing its programmatic range in the 2015-16 season.
The season’s 10 main events include a program of Italian/South American Baroque composer Domenico Zipoli and Bach cantatas; a midnight concert of John Zorn performing his famous The Hermetic Organ on the celebrated St. Bart’s organ, the largest in New York (presented in tandem with National Sawdust’s John Zorn Festival); the New York debut of the chamber “supergroup” Third Sound featuring new American and Cuban music; and a program mixing music by the young composer Andy Akiho with Baroque masterpieces performed by the early music group The Sebastians. These concerts join such returning series events as the beloved annual Joyous Christmas Concert and Concert for the New Year and silent film screenings with live organ improvisation. (The full season schedule is below.)
To grow and define the concert series, MMPAF’s Artistic Director William Trafka aimed both to embrace a wider range of music and to showcase the church’s concert spaces, two of the most outstanding in New York: 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, an architectural marvel – outfitted with comfortable chairs enabling flexible seating – whose Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ is the largest in New York City.
”The Board of MMPAF is fortunate to have welcomed Patrick Castillo as a member,” said William Trafka. “As the former program director of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and an exceptional composer, he brings valuable expertise in programming and knowledge of the most currents trends in contemporary music. St. Bart’s will now be one of the few sacred spaces in New York hosting performances of new music, elevating these compelling works to a new level by embracing them in spaces of architectural distinction and beauty.”
All regular tickets to Great Music at St. Bart’s are priced between $20 and $40, with discounted tickets for students and seniors available for all events. Admission to the Concert for the New Year is free.
Rounding out the St. Bart’s musical offerings is a free component: the ongoing Midtown Concerts, a series of free weekly early music programs that run from September through June.
William Trafka has been the Director of Music and Organist of St. Bartholomew’s Church since 1995. Prior to that, he served as St. Bartholomew’s Associate Organist for 10 years. He leads the St. Bartholomew’s Choir and St. Bart’s Singers and is the Artistic Director of the Mid-Manhattan performing Arts Foundation, overseeing the programming of Great Music at St. Bart’s. He also programs and conducts St. Bartholomew’s annual Summer Festival of Sacred Music.
At St. Bart’s, he has conducted the premieres of several works including David Conte’s September Sun and Missa Brevis, James MacMillan’s Since it was the day of preparation (New York premiere), and Herbert Howells’ Hymnus Paradisi (New York premiere of the orchestral version) as well as works by Eriks Esenvalds and Neely Bruce. As an organist, he has performed on concert series throughout the U.S. and Germany and has also performed with the New York Philharmonic, the American Symphony Orchestra, and the Fairfield Academy of Period Instruments. He has also served on the faculty of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, as Adjunct Professor of Sacred Music.
Great Music at St. Bart’s is produced by the Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation, 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, a treasured masterpiece of architecture on the east side of Manhattan’s midtown, 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.
Founded in January 1835, St. Bartholomew’s began its life as part of the Evangelical movement in the Episcopal Church. 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 close to 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 and James Litton 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.