Performance Thursday, March 6, 2014 | 8 PM

Orchestra of St. Luke's

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
With its massive choral forces and virtuosic demands of the orchestra, the Missa solemnis is a challenging work that can only come to life in the hands of an intrepid ensemble of musicians and singers and a remarkable conductor. The Orchestra of St. Luke’s and the Oratorio Society of New York, under the direction of Sir Roger Norrington, are just the right combination of performers to convey Beethoven’s broad faith in humankind and grand plea for peace.


  • Orchestra of St. Luke's
    Sir Roger Norrington, Conductor
  • Susan Gritton, Soprano
  • Julie Boulianne, Mezzo-Soprano
  • Michael Schade, Tenor
  • Nathan Berg, Bass-Baritone
  • Oratorio Society of New York
    Kent Tritle, Music Director


  • BEETHOVEN Missa solemnis

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately 100 minutes with no intermission. Please note that there will be no late seating.


  • Orchestra of St. Luke's

    Orchestra of St. Luke's (OSL) is one of America's foremost and most versatile orchestras, regularly collaborating with the world's greatest artists and performing approximately 70 concerts each year-including its Carnegie Hall orchestra series, chamber music series at The Morgan Library & Museum and the Brooklyn Museum, and summer residency at Caramoor Music Festival. OSL has commissioned more than 50 new works; given more than 150 world, US, and New York premieres; and appears on more than 90 recordings, including four Grammy Award-winning albums and seven releases on its own label, St. Luke's Collection. Pablo Heras-Casado, who was named 2014 Conductor of the Year by Musical America, is OSL's principal conductor.

    OSL grew out of a chamber ensemble that began giving performances at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields in Greenwich Village in 1974. Today, St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble consists of 21 virtuoso artists who make up OSL's artistic core and are dedicated to a diverse repertoire that spans Baroque to contemporary.

    OSL owns and operates The DiMenna Center for Classical Music in Midtown Manhattan, where it shares a building with the Baryshnikov Arts Center. The DiMenna Center is New York City's premier venue for rehearsal, recording, and learning, having quickly gained a reputation for its superb acoustics, state-of-the-art facilities, and affordability. Since opening in 2011, The DiMenna Center has welcomed more than 50,000 visitors, including more than 300 ensembles and artists such as Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Valery Gergiev, and James Levine. OSL also hosts hundreds of neighbors, families, and schoolchildren at its home each year for free community events.

    Through its Community & Education programs, OSL has introduced audiences across New York City to live classical music. OSL brings free chamber concerts to the five boroughs; offers free, interactive events at The DiMenna Center; provides chamber music coaching for adult amateurs; and reaches 10,000 public school students each year through free school concerts and in-school instruction. In July 2013, OSL and the Police Athletic League (PAL) launched Youth Orchestra of St. Luke's (YOSL), an after-school orchestra and instrumental coaching program that emphasizes musical excellence and social development.

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    Sir Roger Norrington

    For 50 years, Sir Roger Norrington has been at the forefront of the movement for historically informed orchestral playing. He seeks to put modern players in touch with the historical style of the music they play, through orchestra size and seating, tempo, phrasing, and articulation.

    Sir Roger (he was knighted in 1997) studied at the Royal College of Music under Sir Adrian Boult, and in 1962 he founded the first of several groups for the performance of early music, the Heinrich Schütz Choir. This was followed 10 years later by the London Classical Players, which achieved worldwide fame with dramatic recordings of the nine Beethoven symphonies.

    In 1966, Sir Roger was named music director of the new Kent Opera, where he introduced innovative thinking about orchestra size, playing style, and tempos, particularly with earlier repertoire. He conducted hundreds of performances for Kent, as well as at Covent Garden, the English National Opera, La Scala, La Fenice, and the Vienna State Opera.

    Sir Roger moved on to share his historical findings with more modern orchestras, choirs, and opera companies. He is a frequent guest with the world's major orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. In the US, he has appeared with the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Detroit, Boston, and Chicago.

    From 1990 to 1994, Sir Roger Norrington served as Orchestra of St. Luke's first music director. He has also held the title of chief conductor at the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Salzburg Camerata, and Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, and is currently principal conductor of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, chief guest conductor of the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, conductor emeritus of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and a regular guest with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

    With Stuttgart, Sir Roger made a remarkable series of 60 recordings that span a large slice of the core orchestral repertoire. They offer a vivid glimpse of how a modern orchestra can connect with its historical roots, cherishing the gesture and sound each composer might have expected in his lifetime.

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  • Susan Gritton

    Winner of the 1994 Kathleen Ferrier Award, Susan Gritton is one of the most accomplished lyric sopranos of her generation, acclaimed for her versatility in roles that range from Handel and Mozart to Britten, Janáček, and Strauss.

    Highlights of the 2013-2014 season include her first Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with the Vlaamse Opera, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Die Schöpfung with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Strauss lieder with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, and Strauss's Four Last Songs with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Recent operatic highlights include Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes at La Scala, Opera Australia, and Tokyo's New National Theatre; Blanche in Dialogues des Carmélites at Bavarian State Opera; Countess Madeleine in Capriccio and Tatyana in Eugene Onegin at Grange Park Opera; Micaëla in Carmen and Liù in Turandot at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at the Bolshoi Theatre and Opéra de Montréal; Elettra in Idomeneo at Nederlandse Opera; and Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Berlin and Bavarian state operas. She has performed the title roles in Theodora at the Glyndebourne Festival, Rodelinda at Bavarian State Opera, The Bartered Bride at Covent Garden, and The Cunning Little Vixen at English National Opera.

    Ms. Gritton is a prolific concert artist with a repertoire that spans many periods and styles. Recent highlights include Handel's Messiah with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Elgar's The Kingdom with the London Symphony Orchestra; Shostakovich's Blok Romances with The Nash Ensemble of London; Schumann's Das Paradies und die Peri with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; and Tatyana in concert performances of Eugene Onegin with the Bamberger Symphoniker.

    Ms. Gritton records extensively and is a Grammy nominee. Her recent recording of Britten's Les illuminations with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra-including the world premiere of Britten's three additional Rimbaud settings-has been widely praised. She appears on three other Britten recordings released to great critical acclaim in the composer's centenary year: the War Requiem with the Gabrieli Consort, The Rape of Lucretia with the Aldeburgh Festival Ensemble, and a DVD of Peter Grimes with Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala.

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  • Julie Boulianne

    Julie Boulianne has been acclaimed for the agility and expressive power of her dark-hued mezzo-soprano in a range of repertoire. This season, she returns to the Metropolitan Opera, singing the role of Kitchen-Boy in Rusalka alongside Renée Fleming. She will appear as Rosina in a concert version of Il barbiere di Siviglia with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and will debut with The Cleveland Orchestra in The Cunning Little Vixen.  Other season highlights include Handel's Messiah with the Minnesota Orchestra and Colorado Symphony, Mahler's Symphony No. 2 with Orchestra Iowa, and Bach's St. Matthew Passion with Orchestre Métropolitain.

    Career highlights include appearances at the Metropolitan Opera as Diane in Iphigénie en Tauride and as Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette; Lazuli in Chabrier's L'étoile at New York City Opera; Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at Vancouver Opera and Opéra de Montréal; the title role in Massenet's Cendrillon at Opéra de Montréal and Opéra de Marseille; Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia at Minnesota Opera; the title role in La Cenerentola at Aspen Opera Theater, Florida Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and Pacific Opera Victoria; and Fragoletto in Offenbach's Les brigands at both Opéra de Toulon and Opéra Comique in Paris. Equally at home in symphonic repertoire, she has sung Ravel's Shéhérazade with Emmanuel Villaume and the Utah Symphony, Berlioz's Les nuits d'été with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Orchestre Métropolitain, Handel's Messiah and Bach's Mass in B Minor with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, and Mozart's "Coronation" Mass with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

    In 2009, Naxos Records released a recording of Shéhérazade and L'enfant et les sortilèges that featured Ms. Boulianne and the Nashville Symphony; it was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Classical Album category.

    A graduate of McGill University's Schulich School of Music, Ms. Boulianne won first prize in the Canadian Music Competition and the Joy of Singing Competition in New York. She was awarded the International Vocal Arts Institute's Silverman Prize and the Prix de la Chambre des Directeurs for Most Promising Career at the Concours International de Chant de Montréal.

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  • Michael Schade

    Hailed as one of the world's leading tenors, Michael Schade performs on every major opera stage and in the most prestigious concert halls of the world. He embraces a wide repertoire in opera, recital, concert, and recording performances.

    Mr. Schade continues his close collaboration with the Vienna State Opera in the 2013-2014 season, returning as the Prince  in a new production of Rusalka. He has been invited back to the Hamburg State Opera for Britten's Peter Grimes. Additional highlights this season include Berg's Lulu at the Metropolitan Opera, Mozart's Idomeneo with Nederlandse Opera, and the title role in Schubert's Fierrabras with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

    Mr. Schade has been one of the favorite artists of the Salzburg Festival for almost two decades. In 2008, he initiated and was appointed creative director of the festival's Young Singers Project, where his master classes are an audience favorite.

    In addition to his opera career, Mr. Schade has earned a reputation as a stellar concert and recital soloist. His immense repertoire ranges from Bach's cantatas and passions to Mahler's Das Lied von Erde. His 2013-2014 season includes Berlioz's La damnation de Faust with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Das Lied von der Erde with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Mendelssohn's Walpurgisnacht with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, and Bach's St. Matthew Passion under Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

    Mr. Schade's accomplishments and charm as a recitalist have inspired audiences at every major venue. His schedule for the current season includes recitals at Wigmore Hall, Salzburg's Mozartwoche, and Vienna's Konzerthaus. A prolific recording artist, he has performed in Bach's St. Matthew Passion with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, which was awarded a Grammy Award for Best Choral Work. His list of Juno Award-winning albums includes Die schöne Müllerin, Soirée Française, and Mozart: Arie e Duetti.

    In 2007, the Republic of Austria appointed Mr. Schade to Kammersänger for his exceptional cultural merits. He is artistic director of the Hapag Lloyd Stella Maris International Vocal Competition and, together with Dee McKee, initiator of the Red Ribbon Celebration Concert, a fundraiser for the Clinton Health Access Initiative. The Internationale Barocktage Stift Melk has appointed Mr. Schade its artistic director through 2016.

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  • Nathan Berg

    Nathan Berg's career encompasses a vast range of styles and repertoire. He is currently in demand by some of the world's most distinguished conductors, including Kurt Masur, Esa-Pekka Salonen, William Christie, Sir Roger Norrington, Hans Graf, and Michael Tilson Thomas.

    In his early career, Mr. Berg made his name as an outstanding interpreter of the Baroque and pre-Classical repertoire in both concert and opera performances in the world's leading houses and venues. More recently, he added leading Mozart roles to his repertoire, including the title roles in Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro in New York, London, Paris, and Vancouver.

    Highlights in the 2012-2013 season included his critically acclaimed role debut as the Doctor in Wozzeck with the Houston Symphony, the Speaker in Die Zauberflöte at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, Haydn's Die Schöpfung with Orchestra of St. Luke's, and Rachmaninoff's The Bells with Philharmonia Orchestra at the Three Choirs Festival.

    This season, Mr. Berg makes his debut at the Bolshoi Theatre as the Dutchman in Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer. He returns to the Philharmonia Orchestra for Prokofiev's Ivan the Terrible, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra for Bach's St. Matthew Passion, and Opéra National de Bordeaux as Huascar in Les Indes galantes. He also joins the Royal Flemish Philharmonic to record Dvořák's Requiem and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra for Dvořák's Stabat Mater.

    Mr. Berg is a Grammy-nominated and Juno Award-winning recording artist. Highlights include collaborations with Les Arts Florissants, including Handel's Messiah and Mozart's Requiem; lieder recordings including songs by Othmar Schoeck and the album Lieder Recital with Julius Drake; and Dvořák's Stabat Mater with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Recent DVD releases include Lully's Armide from the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and Alidoro in the Glyndebourne Festival's production of Rossini's La Cenerentola.

    Born in Saskatchewan, Mr. Berg studied in Canada, the US, and Paris, as well as at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where he won the Gold Medal for Singers. In recital, he has appeared at Wigmore Hall, Lincoln Center, and many other prestigious venues worldwide with such pianists as Graham Johnson, Julius Drake, Roger Vignoles, and Martin Katz.

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  • Oratorio Society of New York

    Founded in 1873 by Leopold Damrosch, the Oratorio Society of New York is one of the city's oldest musical organizations. From its earliest days, the society played an integral role in the musical life of the city, presenting its own concerts and performing at musically and historically significant events. It also created a fund to finance building a concert hall. When Andrew Carnegie became the society's fifth president in 1888, he adopted the cause, enlisting a fellow board member, architect William Burnet Tuthill, to design a "Music Hall" that would provide a suitable artistic home for the society. In 1891, singing under Tchaikovsky's baton, the society helped inaugurate the concert hall that came to be known as Carnegie Hall. It has performed there ever since-and, in fact, gave the Carnegie Hall premiere of the Missa solemnis in 1905.

    On its 100th anniversary, the society was presented with the Handel Medallion, New York City's highest cultural award, in recognition of these contributions. It made its European debut in 1982 and has since performed in Europe, Asia, and Latin and South America. In March 2003, it received the UNESCO Commemorative Medal and the Cocos Island World Natural Heritage Site Award for its series of benefit concerts in Costa Rica. The society has also recently released a new CD of Mozart's "Coronation" Mass and three a cappella motets by Bruckner.

    In 1977, the society inaugurated a solo competition to encourage the art of oratorio singing and to give young singers an opportunity to advance their careers. In 2006, it was renamed the Lyndon Woodside Oratorio-Solo Competition in honor of Dr. Woodside's dedication to the competition. International in scope, the competition attracts more than 100 singers each year. The Solo Competition is, however, only one example of the society's commitment to the next generation's involvement in choral music. The Choral Scholars program provides financial support and coaching experience to young professionals who work with the chorus on a weekly basis. The Education Program introduces teens to classical choral music through classroom presentations and complimentary tickets to Oratorio Society performances. The society also donates tickets to high school students through High 5 Tickets to the Arts. Encouraging young artists, teachers, and audiences is an essential part of the society's heritage and mission, and one of its proudest achievements.

    One of the leading choral conductors in the United States, Kent Tritle has been music director of the Oratorio Society of New York since 2005. He has led the society in both the standard repertory and in such rarely performed works as the Mozart arrangement of Messiah, as well as in the world premiere of Juraj Filas's Song of Solomon and the New York premiere of Paul Moravec's Blizzard Voices. Under his direction, members of the chorus have performed in concerts in Europe and South America, and in concerts presented by the New York Philharmonic.

    Mr. Tritle's weekly WQXR show, The Choral Mix with Kent Tritle, explores the extraordinary riches of the choral repertory every Sunday at 7 AM. Mr. Tritle is also director of cathedral music and organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and is music director of Musica Sacra, New York's longest continuously performing professional chorus. In 1989, he founded Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, the acclaimed concert series at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, which he directed until 2011. From 1996 to 2004, he was music director of the Emmy-nominated Dessoff Choirs, winners of the Chorus America / ASCAP Award for adventurous programming of contemporary music.

    An acclaimed organ virtuoso, Mr. Tritle is the organist of the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra, and performs regularly in Europe and across the US. Recital venues have included the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Tonhalle Zurich, Church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris, Dresden's Cathedral, King's College at Cambridge, and Westminster Abbey.

    Mr. Tritle holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from The Juilliard School. He currently serves on the faculty of The Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music, where he established a doctoral program in choral conducting. He has been featured in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and on ABC World News, National Public Radio, and Minnesota Public Radio.

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Beethoven's Missa solemnis (Gloria)
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra | Sir Colin Davis, Conductor | Bavarian Radio Chorus
RCA Red Seal

At a Glance

Beethoven's Missa solemnis is one of that small handful of works of grandiose conception—raising technical demands of such difficulty and requiring such artistic commitment—that it remains a rare experience in live performance. Other demanding works—the big Mahler symphonies are a case in point—that used to be heard just as rarely are by now almost commonplace. But the Missa solemnis stands alone, linked only with Bach's Mass in B Minor, as the most extraordinary musical setting of the text set most often in the history of music.
Program Notes
This concert is made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for choral music established by S. Donald Sussman in memory of Judith Arron and Robert Shaw.