Performance Thursday, March 28, 2013 | 8 PM

Orchestra of St. Luke's

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Last season at Carnegie Hall, two of New York’s most admired and established performing groups—the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Musica Sacra—teamed up with Iván Fischer for a noteworthy performance of Mozart’s Requiem. This season, they return for a must-hear evening that features Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.


  • Orchestra of St. Luke's
    Iván Fischer, Conductor
  • Dominique Labelle, Soprano
  • Barbara Kozelj, Mezzo-Soprano
  • John Tessier, Tenor
  • Hanno Müller-Brachmann, Bass-Baritone
  • Musica Sacra
    Kent Tritle, Music Director


  • BACH St. Matthew Passion


  • 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.

    Iván Fischer

    Iván Fischer has been music director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra since he founded the celebrated ensemble in 1983, a partnership that has proven to be one of the greatest success stories in the past three decades of classical music. As a guest conductor, Mr. Fischer works with the world's finest symphony orchestras. He has been invited to conduct the Berliner Philharmoniker more than 10 times, and devotes two weeks every year to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He was principal guest conductor and principal conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC, from 2006 to 2009. He has also appeared with the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics, as well as the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras. Mr. Fischer's opera engagements have included performances with the Vienna State Opera, Glyndebourne, and Opéra National de Lyon, where he was music director from 2000 to 2003. In August 2011, he performed and directed a much-acclaimed Don Giovanni at New York's Mostly Mozart Festival.

    Mr. Fischer's frequent international touring with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and his more than 50 recordings with the ensemble for Philips and Channel Classics have contributed to his reputation as one of the world's most visionary and successful orchestra leaders. In August 2012, he added a new post to his worldwide schedule, becoming music director of the Konzerthaus Berlin and principal conductor of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin. Mr. Fischer studied piano, violin, and cello, and is an active composer whose works have been performed in the US, the Netherlands, Hungary, Germany, and Austria. A founder of the Hungarian Mahler Society and Patron of the British Kodály Academy, he has received the Golden Medal Award from the President of the Republic of Hungary, the Kossuth Prize, the Royal Philharmonic Award, the Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum, and the Dutch De Ovatie prize. He has been named a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, and is an honorary citizen of Budapest.


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  • Dominique Labelle

    Dominique Labelle has fearlessly plumbed the technical and emotional depths of a wide range of music. Recent engagements include Stravinsky's Les noces with the St. Louis Symphony and David Robertson, works by Handel with Kent Nagano and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, a tour of Handel's Messiah with the Netherlands Bach Society and Jos van Veldhoven, Yehudi Wyner's Fragments from Antiquity with the Lexington Symphony, and performances with the Philharmonia Baroque and Nicholas McGegan, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and at the Göttingen International Handel Festival. Ms. Labelle collaborates frequently with Iván Fischer, with whom she has performed Countess Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro at Teatro Pérez Galdós in Las Palmas and in Budapest; Bach's Mass in B Minor in Washington, DC; Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam; and Mozart's Requiem with the Orchestra of St. Luke's at Carnegie Hall. She has also appeared frequently with Jean-Marie Zeitouni and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, performing works by Beethoven, Barber, Brahms, and Verdi. Last season, she sang the lead female role in the modern premiere of Monsigny's Le Roi et le fermier for Opera Lafayette, conducted by Ryan Brown, in performances at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and at Versailles. Contemporary music credits include Shostakovich's Seven Romances on Poems of Alexander Blok, Britten's Les illuminations, and John Harbison's The Reawaking (recorded for Musica Omnia). Her most recent recording is Monsigny's Le déserteur (Naxos).


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  • Barbara Kozelj

    Slovenian mezzo-soprano Barbara Kozelj is a true musician gifted with a ravishing voice and real craftsmanship. A dedicated singer, she is noted for the warmth of her voice and for her noble presence; throughout her career, she has distinguished herself in Baroque music, opera, and in concert. She has performed various roles of Handel and Mozart and Gluck's Orfeo, as well as the title role in Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges, the Page in Salome with De Nederlandse Opera, and Flosshilde in Das Rheingold with the Aalto Theater Essen. Recent concert engagements have included her debut with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Bach's St. Matthew Passion with Iván Fischer, Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with Holland Symfonia and Otto Tausk, and Ravel's Shéhérazade with the Nationaal Jeugd Orkest and Antony Hermus, among others. She has a strong affinity with lieder, and has given recitals with Richard Egarr and her duo-partner Phyllis Ferwerda at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw and the Slowenska Filharmonija in Ljubljana. Currently, she is coached by Meinard Kraak and Ira Siff.

    Ms. Kozelj has worked with conductors that include Richard Egarr, Neeme Järvi, Reinbert de Leeuw, Paul McCreesh, Kenneth Montgomery, Gennady Rozdestvensky, Stefan Soltesz, Ed Spanjaard,
    Jos van Veldhoven, and Jaap van Zweden. She has performed with such orchestras as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Essener Philharmoniker, Academy of Ancient Music, Gabrieli Consort and Players, and virtually all the Dutch orchestras.

    In April 2013, two new CDs featuring Ms. Kozelj will be released: Joachim Raff lieder (Divox), and songs of Ullmann and Burian with the Ebony Band (Channel Classics).


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  • John Tessier

    Canadian tenor John Tessier has garnered attention and praise on opera, concert, and recital stages worldwide for the beauty and honesty of his voice, his refined style and creative versatility, and his youthful presence in the lyric tenor repertoire. The Juno Award-winning artist has worked with many of the most notable conductors of our day, including Lorin Maazel, Osmo Vänskä, Valery Gergiev, John Nelson, Franz Welser-Möst, Emmanuelle Haïm, Charles Dutoit, Donald Runnicles, Robert Spano, Yannick Nézet-Séguin,  and Bernard Labadie. Mr. Tessier's engagements in the 2012-2013 season include Tonio in La fille du régiment for his debut at the Vienna State Opera, Jason in Cherubini's Médée at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris,  Tamino in Die Zauberflöte with Vancouver Opera, Gomez in Saint-Saëns's Henry VIII at the Bard Music Festival, Jacquino in Fidelio with Seattle Opera, and Fenton inFalstaff with Calgary Opera.  Concert engagements include Carmina Burana with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, a concert version of Der fliegende Holländer with David Robertson and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and Handel's Messiah with Paul Goodwin and The Philadelphia Orchestra.


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  • Hanno Müller-Brachmann

    German bass-baritone Hanno Müller-Brachmann made his operatic debut in 1996 in Telemann's Orpheus under René Jacobs at the Berlin State Opera, where he became a member of the ensemble in 1998 and where he has sung the great Mozart roles of Leporello, Figaro, Guglielmo, and Papageno, as well as his first Wotan under Daniel Barenboim. He is an acclaimed interpreter of the Bach Passions, and has sung with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Kurt Masur, Monteverdi Orchestra under Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Philharmonia Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnányi, and Staatskapelle Berlin under Fabio Luisi. He also devotes himself to lieder, performing regularly with pianists Burkhard Kehring, Philippe Jordan, Malcolm Martineau, András Schiff, and Daniel Barenboim at venues that include London's Wigmore Hall, Vienna's Konzerthaus, and the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg festival. Additional festival engagements have included London's Mostly Mozart Festival under Sir Neville Marriner; Tanglewood under von Dohnányi, and the BBC Proms under Masur. Mr. Müller-Brachmann's recordings include Die Zauberflöte conducted by Claudio Abbado for Deutsche Grammophon, which won Gramophone's Best Opera Recording of the Year, and Bach's St. Matthew Passion conducted by Riccardo Chailly for Decca. Engagements this season include Beethoven's Missa solemnis with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Bernard Haitink; Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro with the Budapest Festival Orchestra under Iván Fischer in Budapest, Berlin, and at New York's Mostly Mozart Festival; the Mozart Requiem with Camerata Salzburg under Louis Langrée; and Britten's War Requiem in Birmingham, Hannover, Dresden, and Paris with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons.

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  • Musica Sacra

    Founded in 1964, Musica Sacra is the longest continuously performing professional chorus in New York City. Founded by Richard Westenburg and now under the artistic leadership of Kent Tritle, the mission of Musica Sacra is to create definitive, professional choral performances of the highest caliber for the widest possible audience. It supports its mission by presenting concerts; recording, commissioning, and performing new choral works; and educating audiences, students, and the general public in the appreciation and history of choral music.

    Musica Sacra presents performances each year at prestigious venues throughout New York, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. The chorus's annual performances of Handel's Messiah at Carnegie Hall are a New York holiday tradition. In addition, the chorus is frequently invited to perform with the New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke's, and in festival appearances throughout the region.

    Messages to Myself, a new recording on the MSR Classics label, represents Musica Sacra's commitment to expanding the choral repertoire. For the recording, Musica Sacra commissioned works by Daniel Brewbaker and Michael Gilbertson, and gives the New York premieres of works by Zachary Patten, Behzad Ranjbaran, and Christopher Theofanidis. The 2012 release joins a growing discography that includes recordings on the BMG, RCA, and Deutsche Grammophon labels. Please visit for more information.

    Now in his sixth season as music director of Musica Sacra, Kent Tritle is one of America's leading choral conductors. Concurrently serving as director of cathedral music and organist of the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, Mr. Tritle is also music director of the Oratorio Society of New York, director of choral activities at the Manhattan School of Music, a member of the graduate faculty of The Juilliard School, and the chorus director of Carnegie Hall's National High School Choral Festival. An acclaimed organ virtuoso, he is the organist of the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra, and is in demand internationally as a recitalist. Audiences enjoy his radio show, The Choral Mix with Kent Tritle, a weekly hourlong program on New York's Classical 105.9 WQXR and that is devoted to the vibrant genre of choral music and the breadth of activity in the choral community. Mr. Tritle has made more than a dozen recordings on the AMDG, Epiphany, Gothic, Telarc, VAI, and MSR Classics labels. Please visit for more information.

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Bach's St. Matthew Passion ("Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbroche")
Munich Bach Orchestra | Karl Richter, Conductor | Munich Bach Choir
Deutsche Grammophon

At a Glance

The word Passion as applied to a musical genre is derived from the Latin patior, "to suffer." A long musical tradition extending from the late Middle Ages through Bach's time called for a musical treatment of the Gospel accounts of Jesus's suffering from the moment of His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane to His death on the cross. These were performed annually in services during the afternoon on Good Friday. The texts and the music end with the laying of His body into the tomb. The somber effect of this text and its setting served as a potent dramatic preparation for the joyous brilliance of the music that would burst forth early in the morning of the ensuing Sunday, Easter, to celebrate the Resurrection.

Bach left two complete Passion compositions. The St. Matthew Passion was long believed to have been composed and premiered in 1729, but it is now believed that the 1729 performance was a revival, and that the score had originally been performed two years earlier. It is his largest single work, and from the evidence of a carefully prepared manuscript, seems to be one that he considered especially significant.
Program Notes
Event duration: Approximately two and 30 minutes, including one 20-minute intermission
This performance is part of The Three Bs, Orchestra of St. Luke's, and Orchestral Thursdays.