MMPAF Great Music
Past events sponsored by the Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation.
Patterns in Chromatic Field Morton Feldman


Friday, November 2, 2018 at 7:30 pm

Harold Lloyd, along with Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, was one of the most popular and influential comedians of the silent film era; and A Sailor-Made Man was his first full-length motion picture. Lloyd plays a wealthy, idle young man who joins the navy to win the hand of a girl. Lloyd was a champion of the organ: he would not allow his films to be accompanied by pianists!

Jason Roberts offered a live, improvised accompaniment to this film on St. Bart’s magnificent Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ: lucky audience experienced the film as its first audiences might have.

Jason Roberts, organ

Find out more about last year's event from Jason Roberts:

Patterns in Chromatic Field Morton Feldman


Sunday, October 28, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis (Mass for Troubled Times) was written in 1798, a time of great instability and turbulence in Europe. From the gripping and intense Kyrie, to the life affirming Dona Nobis Pacem, this work has transcended its time and has offered hope to us in our own time.

Ola Gjeilo’s Song of the Universal is a setting of verses from Whitman’s great work. According to the composer, “I love the unabashed optimism, exuberance and his unwavering confidence in our deeper humanity.” Arvo Pärt's Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten and John Tavener’s The Lamb completed this evening of powerful music. The concert was conducted by Jason C. Tramm, who has been hailed as a “conductor to watch” by Symphony Magazine.

Seton Hall University Chorus;
Mid-Atlantic Symphony Chamber Orchestra
Ashley Bell, Soprano; Augusta Caso, Mezzo-Soprano;
Victor Starsky, Tenor; Jeremy Galyon, Bass;
Jason C. Tramm, Conductor

Patterns in Chromatic Field Morton Feldman


Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at 7:30 pm

The 10 voice, award-winning vocal ensemble, Choral Chameleon, took audience members on a whimsical journey through the magic of choral storytelling. Harnessing powerful commentary in the style of the Greek chorus combined with the beauty and empathy of human singing, this unique performance narrated rich life stories, of both a sacred and a secular ilk, through the lenses of composers from across five centuries, These included Mateo Fletxa el Viejo, Josquin des Prez, The Beatles, and others.

The performance also featured the world premiere of Footnotes to a History of Music by their 2018-2019 Composer-In-Residence, Dale Trumbore.

Patterns in Chromatic Field Morton Feldman


Sunday, May 13, 2018 at 3 pm

Patterns in a Chromatic Field is a late work by Feldman (1926-1987), a composer associated with the New York School of John Cage and Christian Wolff. This 80-minute odyssey offered an opportunity for contemplation, as cello and piano explored different degrees of stasis and patterns of harmony and color. Patterns in a Chromatic Field reflects his lifelong fascination with the Abstract Expressionist painters. “My compositions are not really ‘compositions’ at all,” Feldman said. “One might call them time canvasses in which I more or less prime the canvass with an overall hue of music.”

The Boston-based cellist Stephen Marotto, a member of Sound Icon and the Contemporary Sinfonietta, has performed internationally at venues including the Banff Centre, SoundSCAPE (Maccagno, Italy), and the Summer Courses for New Music (Darmstadt, Germany). His wide-ranging musical interests include contemporary chamber music, improvisation, and electronic music, and he has coached with the Arditti and JACK quartets.

Marilyn Nonken has been recognized as “a determined protector of important music” (New York Times), and “one of the greatest interpreters of new music” (American Record Guide). Since 2006, she has been Director of Piano Studies at NYU’s Steinhardt School, where she is currently Associate Professor of Music.

Stephen Marotto, cello; Marilyn Nonken, piano

MMPAF Apple Hill String Quartet


Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 7:30 pm

Lauded by The New York Times for their “extraordinary accuracy and spirit,” the Dorian Wind Quintet is known worldwide as one of chamber music’s pre-eminent and longest continuously active ensembles. The Dorian made history in 1981, as the first wind quintet to appear at Carnegie Hall, and since then have been universally recognized for their polished and passionate performances.

They have been responsible for 40 commissions of 20th and 21st century wind music from major composers such as Luciano Berio, Lukas Foss and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett. Their commission of George Perle’s Wind Quintet No. 4 won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1986.

At St. Bart’s, the quintet performed a compelling program of jazz works including Gershwin’s Three Preludes, Gunther Schuller’s Blues, Billy Childs’ Fugue in Perpetual Motion, and Lalo Schiffrin’s La Nouvelle Orleans (see Lalo Schiffrin’s La Nouvelle Orleans below).

Gretchen Pusch, flute; Gerard Reuter, oboe; Benjamin Fingland, clarinet; Adrian Morejon, bassoon; Karl Kramer-Johansen, horn

Video: Lalo Schifrin: 'La Nouvelle Orleans' - Chamber Music Festival of Aguascalientes, Mexico 2016.

Written for the Dorian Woodwind Quintet in 1987, 'La Nouvelle Orleans' showcases this composer's talent for writing in very diverse styles. We would expect nothing less from the man who composed the theme to 'Mission Impossible'!

MMPAF Apple Hill String Quartet


Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 7:30 pm

Great Music at St. Bart’s presented St. Bartholomew’s Choir in a concert of Romantic and Contemporary choral works by composers from both Scandinavian countries and the Baltic States, which offered a testament of faith and a glimpse into a transcendent world: the Requiem of Icelandic composer Jón Leifs (1899-1968), Psalm 67 and Only in Sleep of Latvian Eriks Ešenvalds (b. 1977), Ubi caritas by Norwegian Ola Gjeilo (b. 1978) and Biegga luohte by Swedish Jan Sandström (b. 1964), as well as music of Norwegian Edvard Grieg (1843-1907), all were performed in the grand Romanesque architecture of the St. Bartholomew’s nave.

Jón Leifs' Requiem was composed in memory of his young daughter, who perished in a swimming accident. Jan Sandström’s Biegga luohte was inspired by a Scandinavian Yoik, an improvised chant originating in the Sami culture, the indigenous people of Scandinavia, who inhabit its northern portions. Biegga is a call to the wind, conveying a sense of the divine.

“Much of this music, although unfamiliar to American audiences, is deeply affecting and expresses a dimension of experience which is mystical and divine, transcending the ordinary,” said William Trafka. “One can’t help but to consider that the uncommon Northern European landscape, much of it arctic, with the beauty of its solitude and wealth of natural wonders including the fjords, immense forests and the extraordinary Aurora Borealis, might have served as a source of inspiration for these composers.”

St. Bartholomew’s Choir; William K. Trafka, conductor

This concert was made possible by a generous gift from Robin Henry.

MMPAF Apple Hill String Quartet


Sunday, March 4, 2018 at 2:30 pm in the Chapel

Since its founding in 2007, the Apple Hill String Quartet has earned praise around the world for its concerts presenting interpretive mastery of traditional repertoire—including Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, Beethoven, and Ravel—as well as for new and commissioned works by outstanding composers. As resident musicians at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, the Quartet is featured in the summer concert series held every Tuesday night at the Center in Nelson, N.H. Apple Hill’s innovative outreach program Playing for Peace focuses on social change and conflict resolution through music in areas where there is conflict, particularly the Middle East.

The Apple Hill String Quartet – Elise Kruder, Colleen Jennings, violin; Mike Kelley, viola; Rupert Thompson, cello.

Video: The Apple Hill String Quartet performing Ahmed Adnan Saygun String Quartet No. 1 Mvt. 2, Adagio

MMPAF presents Concert to Usher in New Year


Saturday, February 3, 2018 at 7:30 pm

The Great Music at St. Bart’s Series debuted the contemporary music ensemble Hotel Elefant, lauded by Time Out New York as “megatalented” and “one of New York’s fastest rising new-music outfits.” Named for the scene of a chance meeting in Austria between Strauss, Mahler, Puccini, and Schoenberg in 1906, Hotel Elefant has achieved renown for celebrating the dynamism and diversity of the contemporary music landscape, and has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Bang on a Can Marathon.

Hotel Elefant’s Great Music program juxtaposed music by Kaija Saariaho (Nocturne, Oi kuu) with the New York City premières of new works by Hotel Elefant composers Hannis Brown, Patrick Castillo, Jascha Narveson, Leaha Maria Villarreal, and Kirsten Volness.

MMPAF presents Concert to Usher in New Year


Sunday, December 31, 2017 at 11 pm

At this event, audience heard St. Bartholomew’s grand Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ with its newly restored Celestial division in the dome, one of New York’s greatest musical treasures.

William K. Trafka, St. Bartholomew’s Director of Music and Organist, played festive works for the New Year’s celebration.

The program included organ works of Bach, Guilmant, and Mendelssohn. Trafka’s own transcription of Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man was played at the stroke of midnight.

William K. Trafka, organ

A free champagne reception followed this FREE concert.

MMPAF presents composer Arvo Part


Friday, December 15, 2017 at 7:30 pm in the Chapel

Jeff Morrissey, Baritone, and William Trafka, Pianist, returned to St. Bartholomew’s intimate Chapel this season with their popular Christmas program inspired by the elegant paintings found in the South Chapel of St. Bartholomew’s.

In 1919 Ethel Parsons Paullin and her husband Telford created the beautiful Adoration of the Magi and the 13 medallions surrounding it depicting subjects connected with the Nativity of Christ.

Morrissey, whose voice The New York Times has called “a ringing baritone and first rate,” highlighted the artwork weaving passages from the Bible with Polish carols, spirituals and ballads from his own Southern Appalachian Mountains and presented a visual and musical telling of the Christmas story.

Jeff Morrissey, baritone; William K. Trafka, piano

MMPAF presents composer Arvo Part


Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 7:30 pm

St. Bartholomew’s Choir, Boy and Girl Choristers, New York City’s largest pipe organ and a chamber orchestra joined forces for this concert of Christmas favorites. Works included the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah, Vaughan Williams’ radiant Fantasia on Christmas Carols and carol settings of Ešenvalds, Chilcott, Willcocks and others. Audience experienced the joy and warmth of the holidays with great choral works, sacred and secular, and the chance to sing the beloved carols of the season with organ and orchestra in the candlelit splendor of St. Bartholomew’s Church.

St. Bartholomew’s Choir, Boy and Girl Choristers, Chamber Orchestra; Jason Roberts, organist and conductor; William K. Trafka, conductor

Experience the Entire Concert

St. Bartholomew’s Choir, Boy and Girl Choristers, Chamber Orchestra; Jason Roberts, organist and conductor; William K. Trafka, conductor.
Video: Brian H. Burnett

MMPAF presents composer Arvo Part


Friday, November 3, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Jason Roberts Accompanies The GeneralJason Roberts, St. Bartholomew’s Associate Director of Music and Organist, provided live, improvised accompaniment on St. Bart's famous Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ to three short comedies of Buster Keaton.

Convict 13 (1920) featured Keaton as an innocent (and untalented) golfer who is mistaken for a convict. In The Boat (1921), Buster and his family sailed into the Pacific Ocean in a homemade vessel that is barely seaworthy. And in Day Dreams (1922), Buster tried to win the hand of his girl by “making it big” in the city.

The audience experienced these films as their first audiences would have: with live accompaniment, and heard St. Bart’s enormous pipe organ in a surprising context!

Jason Roberts, organ

Find out more about the event from Jason Roberts:

MMPAF presents composer Arvo Part


Saturday, October 21, 2017 at 7:30 pm

The Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation in conjunction with Gotham Early Music Scene and Amherst Early Music’s CityRecorder workshop presented the young recorder phenomenon, Martin Bernstein, in a program of 17th century music and poetry in the intimacy of St. Bartholomew’s Chapel. The program included love songs of Giulio Caccini, shepherd’s laments of Sebastien de Brossard and instrumental works of Nicolas de Grigny and Nicola Matteis.

Martin Bernstein, recorder
Elliott Figg, harpsichord

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