Great Music at St. Bart’s Presents Two February Events Showcasing the St. Bart’s Organ, the Largest Pipe Organ in New York City

• JOHN ZORN: CANDLEMAS EVE AND THE HERMETIC ORGAN, FEBRUARY 1, 2017

• JASON ROBERTS: LIVE IMPROVISED ORGAN ACCOMPANIMENT TO BUSTER KEATON’S THE GENERAL, FEBRUARY 17, 2017

To jolt New Yorkers out of their winter doldrums, the Great Music at St. Bart’s concert series presents two events in February showcasing the famed St. Bart’s pipe organ, the largest in New York City, that will literally shake the rafters. On February 1, in St. Bartholomew’s magnificent Romanesque-style church, iconic New York composer John Zorn performs The Hermetic Organ Office Nr. 15 (2017), a new chapter in his epic organ improvisation, praised by Lou Reed as one of “culmination and conquest,” and his new work Candlemas Eve. And on February 17, St. Bart’s presents the third annual screening of a silent film classic to live organ accompaniment by St. Bart’s Associate Organist Jason Roberts – this year, The General, the comedy masterpiece by Buster Keaton.

WATCH: A video about the St. Bart’s organ on Vimeo.

Tickets may be purchased online at this website, by phone by calling 212-378-0248, or in person at St. Bart’s in Midtown Manhattan, 325 Park Avenue at 51st Street.

The 2016-17 season of Great Music at St. Bart’s continues the new programmatic focus initiated last year by MMPAF Artistic Director William K. Trafka (Director of Music and Organist of St. Bart’s): to embrace a wider range of music in programs that shine in St. Bart’s spaces. The spring 2017 season also features programs of chamber music in the Chapel that showcase modern and new repertoire, performed by acclaimed ensembles ECCO East Coast Chamber Orchestra (A Thousand Cranes by Christopher Theofanidis, NY premiere), and Apple Hill String Quartet (Presences by John Harbison, world premiere). Among the programs presented in the magnificent sanctuary are two vastly different interpretations of the St. John Passion: Bach’s, performed by The English Concert Players and the Choir of New College, Oxford, conducted by Robert Quinney, and Arvo Pärt’s, performed by Trafka leading the St. Bartholomew’s Choir; and Orff’s Carmina Burana performed by the Dalton Chorale.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017, at 8:30 pm in the Church
JOHN ZORN: CANDLEMAS EVE AND THE HERMETIC ORGAN

Barry Crawford, flute
Isabel Gleicher, flute
Al Lipowski, vibraharp
Sae Hashimoto, vibraharp assistant
John Zorn, organ

Modern music icon John Zorn returns to St. Bart’s with a performance of The Hermetic Organ Office Nr. 15 (2017), a new chapter in his epic organ improvisation, praised by Lou Reed as one of “culmination and conquest.” His 2016 work Candlemas Eve for two flutes and vibraharp will be offered on the eve of the church’s feast day of Candlemas.

John Zorn performed The Hermetic Organ Office Nr. 14 last year at St. Bart’s and has released a recording of that performance on his Tzadik website, www.tzadik.com (Cat. #8340): “Recorded at midnight on the eve of Halloween on the largest organ in New York City, Zorn approaches this performance as ritual, creating a mysterious mood of contrasts, colors, bells, drones, counterpoint and simultaneity.”

“The one word virtually everyone can agree on in any discussion of the work of composer John Zorn is ‘prolific,’ in the strictest sense of the definition,” says Thom Jurek in allmusic.com. “Though he didn’t begin making records until 1980, the recordings under his own name number well over 100, and the sheer number of works he has performed on, composed, or produced easily doubles that number. Though now an internationally renowned musician and the founder and owner of the wildly successful and equally prolific Tzadik imprint, Zorn is a cornerstone of New York’s fabled and influential downtown scene. In addition, he has played with musicians of every stripe. He is … a quintessential mirror of 21st century culture.”

WATCH: John Zorn’s talks about his approach to The Hermetic Organ on YouTube
Tickets: $25, $15 for Students and Seniors


Friday, February 17, 2017, at 7:30 pm in the Church
JASON ROBERTS ACCOMPANIES THE GENERAL

Jason Roberts, organ

St. Bart’s Associate Director of Music and Organist Jason Roberts improvises organ accompaniment to The General, the great 1927 action-packed comedy adventure from Buster Keaton inspired by the Great Locomotive Chase of 1862.

As Gary Giddins wrote in Slate.com, “The General belongs to at least three movie genres: comedy, historical, and chase. Most of it is constructed around a pursuit as relentless as any Bourne blowout, involving a Confederate locomotive, called the General, hijacked by Union spies. … Keaton’s authenticity and comedic understatement make The General a surprisingly modern experience. The storytelling and the gags are free of sentimentality and knockabout clichés. The four-minute battle scene is simply one of the most gripping, and occasionally hilarious, ever filmed.”

Over the past two years, Jason Roberts has improvised the organ accompaniment to St. Bart’s screenings of The Wind starring Lillian Gish and the Buster Keaton classic Steamboat Bill, Jr. St. Bart’s Associate Director of Music, Organist, and the Director of the Boy and Girl Choristers since 2014, Jason is a sought-after recitalist in the U.S. and an avid improviser. He won first prize at the AGO National Competition in Organ Improvisation in 2008 and was a finalist at the St. Alban’s International Organ Competition in 2011 (Improvisation). He holds degrees from Rice University, Yale University and the Manhattan School of Music.

READ: Critic Roger Ebert’s review of “Great Movie” The General
Tickets: $20, $10 for Students and Seniors


Tickets may be purchased online at this website, by phone by calling 212-378-0248, or in person at St. Bart’s in Midtown Manhattan, 325 Park Avenue at 51st Street.

Great Music at St. Bart’s, the concert series produced by the Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation, for the past six 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 a portal designed by Stanford White and a grand Byzantine-style interior – and 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 U.S.

Great Music at St. Bart’s: Fall 2015 Events

“THE ARGENTINIAN-ITALIAN BACH,” DOMENICO ZIPOLI – October 15
JOHN ZORN: THE HERMETIC ORGAN – October 30
JASON ROBERTS, ORGANIST, ACCOMPANIES THE WIND – November 20

The firMMPAF_press_release_iconst three events of the 2015-16 season of Great Music at St. Bart’s, the concert series at St. Bartholomew’s Church produced by the Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation (MMPAF), include a program focusing on the music of the “Argentinian-Italian Bach,” Domenico Zipoli, and J.S. Bach himself; and two events showcasing the magnificent St. Bart’s organ, the largest pipe organ in New York City: a performance by John Zorn of his own epic work The Hermetic Organ; and a silent film classic starring Lillian Gish, The Wind, screened to the accompaniment of live organ improvisation.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.mmpaf.org, by phone by calling 212-378-0248, or in person at St. Bart’s in Midtown Manhattan, 325 Park Avenue at 51st Street.

Thursday, October15, 2015, at 7:30 pm, in the Church
“THE ARGENTINIAN-ITALIAN BACH,” DOMENICO ZIPOLI

Part of the New York Early Music 2015 Celebration “El Nuevo Mundo”
Julianne Baird and Sarah Moulton Faux, sopranos
Nicholas Tamagna, countertenor
Pablo Bustos, tenor
John-Arthur Miller, baritone
Crescendo Chorus & Youth Singers
Crescendo Period & Andean Instrument Orchestra
Directed by Christine Gevert

Famed early music artist Julianne Baird and rising young singers Sarah Moulton Faux, soprano; Nicholas Tamagna, countertenor; Pablo Bustos, tenor; and John-Arthur Miller, baritone, join Crescendo, the New England-based vocal and instrumental ensemble directed by Christine Gevert, for a program featuring the music of Baroque composer Domenico Zipoli (the Italian-born Jesuit musician and missionary who lived and worked in Paraguay and Argentina) alongside two cantatas of J.S. Bach. “Zipoli’s music is comparable in style and quality to his contemporary Antonio Vivaldi – full of contrasting and dramatic elements,” says Gevert. “In our performance we will combine European Baroque instruments with native Andean ones, such as quenas [flutes] and charango [lute], to create the unique sound of the Latin American Baroque,” as well as combining adult and youth voices in the chorus.

“All pieces, except the Tantum Ergo, were written for soprano, alto, and tenor voices only, as there practically weren’t any low voices among the indigenous people in Latin America (and still today we have many more tenors than basses among Latin American singers),” says Gevert. “My arrangement carefully includes the choral bass voice into the choral texture – sometimes in a quite high range for their voices, to preserve the character of Zipoli’s writing and the sound quality of what must have been heard back then in the missions.”

Domenico Zipoli was a successful organist and composer in Rome before his departure to Argentina in 1717. Zipoli became the most famous Baroque composer in South America – his works were performed all over the continent and his reputation spread from there to Europe. The music he wrote in South America was lost for more than 200 years, surfacing in the late 1970s – this program presents some of these works, including parts of Misa San Ignacio and Vespers San Ignacio. The program also features two sacred cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach. His choral cantata Nach Dir, Herr, verlanget mich (For Thee, O Lord, I long), BWV 150, is an early one, and the abundance of short contrasting choral movements makes it similar to Zipoli’s works. The soprano solo cantata Alles mit Gott und nichts ohn’ ihn (Everything with God and nothing without him), BWV 1127, was lost for almost 300 years, only re-discovered in 2005.

Crescendo received the Alfred Nash Patterson Award given by Choral Arts New England for this program, presented in New England in November of 2014. Crescendo’s repertoire focuses mainly on music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, but encompasses all musical eras. Chorus America’s 2014 Alice Parker/ASCAP award winner for innovative programming, Crescendo is led by Artistic Director and conductor Christine Gevert, whose exploration of her Latin American heritage has led to concerts of rarely heard Colonial Latin American music, as well as contemporary works by Latin American composers.

http://worldclassmusic.org/crescendo/

WATCH: Crescendo performs the Credo from Zipoli’s Misa San Ignacio on YouTube.

D. ZIPOLI
Misa San Ignacio (excerpts)
Vespers San Ignacio (excerpts)
Tantum Ergo

J.S. BACH
Nacht Dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150
Alles mit Gott und nichts ohn’ ihn, BWV 1127

Tickets: $40 Preferred Seating; $30 General Seating; $10 for Students

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Friday, October 30, 2015, at 11:59 pm, in the Church
JOHN ZORN: THE HERMETIC ORGAN

Presented in tandem with National Sawdust’s John Zorn Festival
John Zorn, organ

Modern music icon John Zorn performs his epic solo organ improvisation The Hermetic Organ on the largest pipe organ in New York City, the magnificent Aeolian-Skinner at St. Bart’s. Zorn released a recording of the 2012 performance in St. Paul’s Chapel at Columbia University, which Lou Reed praised as one of “culmination and conquest,” on his own Tzadik Records.

From that album’s notes: “Although organ was Zorn’s first instrument (he often credits Lon Chaney in the silent classic Phantom of the Opera as a primal influence), in 2011 Zorn surprised even his hardcore fans by initiating a new series of solo organ concerts in churches around the world. Premiering at the historic Christ Church in Philadelphia, the word on these concerts spread like wildfire and further events were set up in Belgium, France and of course in New York. … the music is breathtakingly beautiful, and distinguished by a spiritual mood that only a huge pipe organ can create. A perfect outlet for Zorn’s dramatic sense of color and contrast, we hear the composer’s mind at work in all its bizarre permutations – huge blocks of sound, chords, clusters, counterpoint, drones, ostinatos, lyrical melodies and more – often all at the same time!” www.tzadik.com

“The one word virtually everyone can agree on in any discussion of the work of composer John Zorn is ‘prolific,’ in the strictest sense of the definition,” says Thom Jurek in allmusic.com. “Though he didn’t begin making records until 1980, the recordings under his own name number well over 100, and the sheer number of works he has performed on, composed, or produced easily doubles that number. Though now an internationally renowned musician and the founder and owner of the wildly successful and equally prolific Tzadik imprint, Zorn is a cornerstone of New York’s fabled and influential downtown scene. In addition, he has played with musicians of every stripe. He is … a quintessential mirror of 21st century culture.”

WATCH: John Zorn’s talks about his approach to The Hermetic Organ on YouTube.
WATCH: A video about the St. Bart’s organ on Vimeo.

Tickets: $35, $25, $15 for Students and Seniors

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Friday, November 20, 2015, at 7:30 pm, in the Church
JASON ROBERTS ACCOMPANIES THE WIND

Jason Roberts, organ

St. Bart’s Associate Director of Music and Organist Jason Roberts improvises organ accompaniment to one of the last great silent films, the romantic drama The Wind. This 1928 cinematic masterpiece by director Victor Sjöström stars the great Lillian Gish, who was an active member of St. Bart’s and who is interred in the church’s memorial chapel.

The Wind was the last silent film headlined by Lillian Gish, one of the silent screen’s greatest stars. Based on a novel by Dorothy Scarborough, it tells the story of a young Virginia woman who moves west to Texas and is almost driven mad by physical hardship, spiritual repression, and a howling wind.

Last season, Jason Roberts improvised the organ accompaniment for Steamboat Bill, Jr., at St. Bart’s. A sought-after recitalist, Jason was chosen to play at last summer’s Regional Convention of the American Guild of Organists in Hartford, CT. An avid improviser, he won first prize at the AGO National Competition in Organ Improvisation in 2008, and was a finalist in improvisation at the St. Alban’s International Organ Competition in 2011.

WATCH: A video about the St. Bart’s organ on Vimeo.

Tickets: $20, $10 for Students and Seniors

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Tickets may be purchased online at www.mmpaf.org, by phone by calling 212-378-0248, or in person at St. Bart’s in Midtown Manhattan, 325 Park Avenue at 51st Street. 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.

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