Great Music at St. Bart’s Presents Apple Hill String Quartet Performing the World Premiere of Harbison’s “Presences” in the St. Bart Chapel on Sunday, March 5, 2017, at 2:30 PM

Composer Patrick Castillo Talks With John Harbison at 1:30 PM

Apple Hill String Quartet

The Great Music at St. Bart’s concert series presents New Hampshire’s Apple Hill String Quartet (Elise Kuder, Colleen Jennings, violin; Mike Kelley, viola; Rupert Thompson, cello) in the Chapel of St. Bartholomew’s Church – a beautiful, intimate space perfectly suited to contemporary chamber music – on Sunday, March 5, 2017, at 2:30 pm. The quartet will perform the world premiere of John Harbison’s Presences for string quartet, cello, and bass; Ahmed Saygun’s String Quartet No. 1 (which is featured on the ensemble’s latest recording); and Haydn’s String Quartet Op. 54, No. 2, in C Major. Joining Apple Hill for the Harbison work are Tony Rymer, cello; and Max Zeugner, bass.

This is the Apple Hill String Quartet’s seventh annual appearance on the St. Bart’s series. Last March, the ensemble offered a performance of Pavel Haas’s String Quartet No. 2, “From the Monkey Mountains,” that The Strad magazine called “extraordinary.”

Patrick Castillo, composer and board member of the Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation, which produces Great Music at St. Bart’s, will interview John Harbison in a pre- concert talk in the Chapel at 1:30 pm. Harbison’s new work Presences was commissioned in memory of David Anderson, a young student cellist who studied at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music in Nelson, New Hampshire, the quartet’s home.

Since its founding in 2007 the Apple Hill String Quartet has earned praise around the world for its performances of traditional and new repertoire. Central to the mission of Apple Hill is “Playing for Peace,” an innovative outreach program that focuses on social change and conflict resolution through music. Founded in 1971 and situated on 100 acres of fields and woodlands in rural New Hampshire, Apple Hill is a center of chamber music performance and teaching. It is stewarded today by the organization’s director, Leonard Matczynski, and ensemble-in- residence, the Apple Hill String Quartet. www.applehill.org

Learn more:
Violinist Elise Kuder’s note on performing Ahmed Saygun’s String Quartet No. 1: http://applehill.org/concerts/program-notes/#Saygun1

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, including acclaimed ensemble ECCO East Coast Chamber Orchestra (A Thousand Cranes by Christopher Theofanidis, NY premiere, April 20). 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 (March 28) and Arvo Pärt’s, performed by Trafka leading the St. Bartholomew’s Choir (April 4) and Orff’s Carmina Burana performed by the Dalton Chorale (May 17).

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.

Sunday, March 5, 2017, at 2:30 pm
APPLE HILL STRING QUARTET
Tony Rymer, cello
Max Zeugner, bass
HARBISON Presences (World premiere)
SAYGUN String Quartet No. 1
HAYDN String Quartet, Op. 54, No. 2, in C

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

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 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.

Welcome to Our 2016 – 2017 Season

The new season for 2016-2017 has just been announced, and we’ve got quite an exciting line up as well as a new, updated look for the website.   To explore the concerts and events, click here.

To read the press release for this season, click here.

MMPAF’s 2015-2016 Season Announced

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.

MMPAF_press_release_iconGREAT 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.

Tickets will be available through the Box Office at St. Bartholomew’s Church, 325 Park Avenue, New York, NY, and will be available by phone, 212-378-0248, and online at , by October 1.

NYTimes Music Review: “The Angels in the Heavens Sing for Themselves”

NYTimes MUSIC REVIEW

By ALLAN KOZINN
5/2/12

The Angels in the Heavens Sing for Themselves

Haydn’s Oratorio ‘Die Schöpfung’ at St. Bartholomew’s Church

Truth be told, the “Representation of Chaos” that opens Haydn’s 1798 oratorio “Die Schöpfung” (“The Creation”), sounds oddly decorous to modern ears. Granted, it begins with a short burst of brassy dissonance, and altered versions of that gesture return during the slow, dark-hued overture that pours forth before the angel Raphael’s serene narration of the familiar scene from Genesis: the formlessness of the earth, the darkness on the face of the waters. And when a second angel, Uriel, announces the creation of light, Haydn provides a magnificent explosion of C major orchestral timbre.

Yet the salient musical features of this depiction are graceful melody and tonal harmony. To experience it as the primordial chaos Haydn intended, you need to imagine hearing it with 18th-century ears.

The Japanese early-music specialist Masaaki Suzuki offered technical support, in the form of a period-instrument account, for listeners inclined to make that imaginative leap — and a beautifully shaped performance for those who simply wanted to hear Haydn’s richly painterly score — on Monday evening at St. Bartholomew’s Church. His forces were the Yale Schola Cantorum, a superb chorus, and an orchestra of 41 players drawn largely from the Yale Baroque Ensemble and Juilliard415, the student ensemble of the Juilliard School’s historical performance program.

Source: http://nyti.ms/IymrCu