Performance Saturday, April 20, 2013 | 8 PM

National High School Choral Festival

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Mozart’s dramatic Requiem, spirituals, and music that spans the Renaissance to the present day is performed by three stellar high school choirs, a quartet of fine singers, and the renowned Orchestra of St. Luke’s conducted by John Nelson. It's truly a concert of ethereal choral music.


  • Orchestra of St. Luke's
    John Nelson, Conductor
  • Nicole Cabell, Soprano Soloist
  • Jamie Barton, Mezzo-Soprano Soloist
  • Russell Thomas, Tenor Soloist
  • John Relyea, Bass-Baritone Soloist
  • Kent Tritle, Choral Director
  • Blue Valley Northwest High School Chorale
  • Arlington High Chamber Singers
  • North Jersey Homeschool Association Chorale


  • ERIC WHITACRE "Water Night"
  • TRAD. "Ain't No Grave Can Hold My Body Down" (arr. Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory)
  • MORTEN LAURIDSEN “En une seule fleur” from Les chansons des roses
  • CARDOSO “Introitus” from Requiem for Six Voices
  • ERIC WHITACRE “With a Lily in Your Hand” from Three Flower Songs
  • READ “Windham” (arr. Brad Holmes)
  • BACH "Come Sweet Death" (arr. Rhonda Sandberg)
  • BYRD "Sing Joyfully"
  • TRAD. “My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord” (arr. Moses Hogan)
  • MOZART Requiem


  • Orchestra of St. Luke's

    Now in its 38th season, Orchestra of St. Luke's (OSL) is one of America's foremost and most versatile ensembles. Dedicated to engaging audiences throughout New York City and beyond, OSL performs approximately 70 orchestral, chamber, and educational concerts each year-including an annual orchestra series at Carnegie Hall, an annual chamber music series at The Morgan Library & Museum and Brooklyn Museum, and summer concerts as orchestra-in-residence at Caramoor International Music Festival. OSL's principal conductor is Pablo Heras-Casado.

    OSL collaborates regularly with the world's great artists, such as Renée Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma, Jessye Norman, Anna Netrebko, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Mark Morris Dance Group, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Elton John, and many more. In March 2011, OSL opened The DiMenna Center for Classical Music-its first permanent home, and New York City's first rehearsal and recording facility dedicated to classical music. Committed to community-building, OSL produces free concerts in each of the five boroughs as part of its Subway Series, offers free events devoted to the artistic process as part of its OSL@DMC series at The DiMenna Center, and has engaged more than one million children in its Community & Education programs.

    OSL's stellar discography of more than 70 recordings includes seven releases on its own label, St. Luke's Collection, and four Grammy Award-winning recordings. OSL has commissioned more than 50 new works and performed more than 150 world, US, and New York premieres. OSL will close its 2012-2013 orchestra series with conductor Nicholas McGegan and cellist Steven Isserlis, performing a program of Haydn and Mozart at Carnegie Hall on June 1, 2013. Visit for OSL's calendar of events, tickets, and more information.

    John Nelson

    Internationally renowned for his interpretations of large Romantic works, including the great works of Berlioz, John Nelson has conducted most of the world's top orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic. Mr. Nelson's varied repertoire has also taken him to many of the world's major opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, Opéra national de Paris, and Netherlands Opera.

    Central to Mr. Nelson's work is the interpretation of the great sacred choral literature. He is presently conducting a series of DVD performances of this repertoire, including Beethoven's Missa solemnis with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Haydn's Die Schöpfung with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, and Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the Orchestre de chambre de Paris. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Grammy for his recording of Handel's Semele on the Deutsche Grammophon label and a Diapason d'Or de l'Année for Berlioz's Béatrice et Bénédict on Erato.

    Born in Costa Rica, Mr. Nelson studied at The Juilliard School, where he won the Irving Berlin Prize in conducting. He has been music director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Caramoor Music Festival in New York. From 1998 to 2008, he was music director of the Orchestre de chambre de Paris. He has also been principal guest conductor of the Orchestre National de Lyon and artistic adviser to the Nashville and Louisville symphony orchestras.

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  • Nicole Cabell 

    Nicole Cabell, 2005 winner of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, is fast becoming one of the most sought-after lyric sopranos of today.  Her solo debut album received an incredible amount of critical acclaim and several prestigious awards throughout Europe.

    Ms. Cabell's season starts with her role and company debuts as Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi at San Francisco Opera. She then makes a debut at Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu as Adina in L'elisir d'amore, a role she also performs for her return to the New National Theatre in Tokyo. In concert, Ms. Cabell will sing Bach's B-Minor Mass in Chicago and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with The Cleveland Orchestra on tour in Miami. Her latest CD, Silver Rain-a collection of songs by Ricky Ian Gordon based on poems by Langston Hughes-was recently released by Blue Griffin. Future engagements include returns to London, Chicago, and Detroit, among other cities.

    Ms. Cabell has appeared with many of the world's leading orchestras and opera companies, including the New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Rome's Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

    She has given concerts and recitals in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Prague, Munich, Copenhagen, and St. Petersburg, among others.

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  • Jamie Barton

    A winner of the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a Grammy nominee, American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton has been named by Opera News magazine as a rising star.

    This season, Ms. Barton returns to Lyric Opera of Chicago as Magdalena in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. In concert, she makes her UK debut at the Barbican, performing Elgar's Sea Pictures with the London Schools Symphony Orchestra, followed by Agnese in Beatrice di Tenda with the Collegiate Chorale and Mozart's Requiem with the Atlanta Sacred Chorale. In recital, she appears with tenor Russell Thomas and the Atlanta Vocal Arts Society. She will also be seen in the role of Julia Child in Bon Appetit! with Opera Memphis. Future seasons include a debut with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in Verdi's Requiem, as well as returns to Lyric Opera of Chicago and Houston Grand Opera in leading roles.

    Last season, Ms. Barton made her debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago in productions of Les contes d'Hoffmann, Boris Godunov, and Ariadne auf Naxos, followed by The Golden Ticket with Atlanta Opera and Götterdämmerung with Bavaraian State Opera.

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  • Russell Thomas

    Tenor Russell Thomas is quickly establishing himself as one of the most exciting vocal and dramatic talents on the international opera and concert scene, most recently as the first-prize winner of the prestigious Ricardo Viñas Competition and the Competizione dell'Opera in Dresden.

    Mr. Thomas's current season begins with the recording and a concert of Donizetti's Belisario for Opera Rara, followed by his debut in the title role of Mozart's La clemenza di Tito at the Metropolitan Opera. Mr. Thomas also returns to the Los Angeles Philharmonic for John Adams's The Gospel According to the Other Mary, this time in performances staged by Peter Sellars, which will also be seen in London, Lucerne, Paris, and New York. Mr. Thomas ends the season with his Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, debut as Gabriele Adorno in Verdi's Simon Boccanegra and in concert performances of Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Further concerts include Verdi's Requiem in Barcelona.

    Mr. Thomas's recent engagements have included his debut with the Canadian Opera Company in the title role of Les contes d'Hoffmann. In the spring of 2012, he premiered John Adams's The Gospel According to the Other Mary with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel.

    Mr. Thomas is an alumnus of the prestigious Lindemann Young Artist Development Program of the Metropolitan Opera.

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  • John Relyea

    This season, bass John Relyea returns to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, as Bertram in Robert le diable, the Metropolitan Opera as Méphistophélès in Faust,  and the Bavarian State Opera as the four villains in Les contes d'Hoffmann. He also makes his role debut as Zaccaria in Nabucco at Minnesota Opera. He appears in concert performances of Tristan und Isolde with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared with the world's most celebrated opera companies, including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Royal Opera, Opéra de Paris, Bavarian State Opera, and Vienna State Opera. He also remains in high demand throughout the concert world, where he regularly appears with the distinguished orchestras of Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, London, and Berlin, as well as at the Tanglewood, Ravinia, Salzburg, Edinburgh, and Mostly Mozart festivals.

    Mr. Relyea's many recordings include Verdi's Requiem (LSO Live), Idomeneo with Sir Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (EMI), Mahler's Symphony No. 8 with Sir Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (EMI), and the Metropolitan Opera's DVD presentations of Don Giovanni, I puritani, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg  and Macbeth.

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  • Kent Tritle

    Kent Tritle is one of America's leading choral conductors. He is director of cathedral music and organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, and the 2012-2013 season marks his sixth as music director of Musica Sacra (the longest continuously performing professional chorus in New York) and his eighth as music director of the Oratorio Society of New York (the acclaimed 200-voice volunteer chorus).

    In addition, Mr. Tritle is director of choral activities at Manhattan School of Music and is a member of the graduate faculty of The Juilliard School. He is the host of the weekly radio show The Choral Mix with Kent Tritle, an hourlong WQXR program devoted to the vibrant genre of choral music and the breadth of activity in the choral community. An acclaimed organ virtuoso, he is also the organist of the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra.

    In more than 150 concerts presented by the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space series from 1989 to 2011, Mr. Tritle conducted the Choir and Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola in a broad repertoire of sacred works, earning praise for building the choir and the concert series into one of the highlights of the New York concert scene. From 1996 to 2004, Mr. Tritle was music director of the Emmy-nominated Dessoff Choirs.

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  • Blue Valley Northwest High School Chorale

    The Blue Valley Northwest High School Chorale, conducted by Kevin Coker, is the premiere auditioned large vocal ensemble at Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park, Kansas. Comprised primarily of juniors and seniors, this 88-voice choir places high value on music literacy and musicianship skills. The chorale has earned top honors at festivals throughout the Midwest and has received invitations to perform in festivals across the United States. Committed to the performance of new music, the Blue Valley Northwest Choral Department commissioned a new work by Joshua Shank, which will debut in the spring of 2014.

    Mr. Coker is in his third year as the director of choirs at Blue Valley Northwest High School. He holds a bachelor's degree from Belmont University and a master's degree from Florida State University. He has studied conducting with André Thomas, Rodney Eichenberger, and Deen Entsminger. Mr. Coker has taught at the elementary, middle school, high school, and collegiate levels, and has been invited to work as a clinician throughout the Southeast and Midwest. In 2009, he was nominated for the Kansas Choral Directors Association's Young Conductor Award.

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  • Arlington High Chamber Singers

    The Arlington High Chamber Singers, under the direction of Dinah Menger and Mason Barlow, is an extracurricular ensemble that meets for six hours a week outside of the required school day. These dedicated singers pride themselves on self-discipline, immersion in challenging repertoire, and producing performances of the highest caliber. Members of the ensemble excel in athletics, other arts, academics, student leadership, and community service.

    This ensemble is in its sixth year and accolades have grown accordingly. In 2010, the chorus won the American Classic Madrigal Competition in Texas and performed as the 2011 Honor Choir Concert at the same festival. It has worked extensively with Matt Oltman, former member and music director of Chanticleer; Rick Bjella, director of choirs at Texas Tech University; and Denise Eaton, professor and associate director of choirs at Sam Houston State University. The Chamber Singers are also members of the Varsity Mixed Choir, Colt Chorale. The men of Colt Chorale were selected to perform at the national American Choral Directors Convention in March 2013.

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  • North Jersey Homeschool Association Chorale

    The North Jersey Homeschool Association Chorale, conducted by Beth Prins, was founded in 1994 and attracts high school students from across the tri-state region. This auditioned ensemble has performed at venues that include Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, and Orchestra Hall in Chicago. In 2012, it appeared at the World Choir Games in Cincinnati. Although noted for its expressive rendering of classical and sacred literature, much of the group's energy is devoted to the research and performance of folk music. In 2011, the chorale partnered with Schola Cantorum on Hudson to present an all-Estonian concert honoring Estonia's Singing Revolution. Annual concert tours give students an opportunity to perform at homeless shelters, special-needs schools, juvenile detention centers, retirement communities, and more. Tours also provide hands-on experience through work projects and aid to those in need.

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At a Glance

The National High School Choral Festival is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for high school singers to rehearse and perform a major piece of repertoire with some of the top singers and musicians from around the country. In spring 2012, Carnegie Hall received applications from interested high schools across the country and invited three choirs to participate. Carnegie Hall brought the high school choral directors together in New York with choral director Kent Tritle to study the work, and Mr. Tritle visited each school throughout the year to continue preparing the young singers. Through this yearlong festival, the choirs and their directors create inspiring moments that can help them continue growing their musical lives.
Program Notes
The Carnegie Hall National High School Choral Festival is made possible, in part, by endowment gifts from S. Donald Sussman and the Citi Foundation.