Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation Announces
2023-24 Season Of “Great Music At St. Bart’s”
Schedule Features the Perennially Popular Christmas and New Year’s Concerts, Juilliard Organists, Operatic Vocalists and Chamber Musicians The Apple Hill String Quartet
The Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation (MMPAF), producer of “Great Music at St. Bart’s,” is pleased to announce its 2023-24 Concert Series. In addition to featuring an array of world-class performers, the series showcases two of New York’s most inspiring concert venues: the intimate and acoustically brilliant 150-seat chapel at St. Bartholomew’s Church on Park Avenue and 50th Street in Manhattan, and the majestic 900-seat church, an architectural marvel whose Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ is one of the finest examples of the American Classic Organ.
Once again, the season is anchored by the ever-popular “Joyous Christmas Concert” on Monday, December 11 at 7:30 p.m. This moving performance of beloved traditional carols and festive new arrangements of sacred and secular Christmas favorites will be presented by the professional musicians of St. Bartholomew’s Choir, many of whom frequently appear at the city’s most prestigious venues, from Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center to Broadway stages and New York’s finest Jazz clubs. The choir will be accompanied by St. Bart’s famous Aeolian-Skinner organ, one of the world’s largest pipe organs and the largest in New York City, with 12,422 pipes in all, including the recently restored Celestial division housed in the sanctuary dome.
Before audiences are treated to that yuletide treat, however, the 2023-24 season kicks off with an organ recital on Monday, November 13 at 7:30 p.m. by Alexander Pattavina, a Juilliard-trained musician who serves as associate organist and director of the children’s chorister program at St. Bart’s. Pattavina will explore the rich colors of the St. Bart’s organ in a program of dazzling, spritely repertoire including Alfred Hollins’s Song of Sunshine, Seth Bingham’s Roulade, and Horatio Parker’s Allegretto. An accomplished organ recitalist, he has performed throughout the city, across the country and around the world, including at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Mechanics Hall (Worcester), Trinity Church Copley Square (Boston), and Methuen Memorial Music Hall, among other venues. He is the 2019 winner of the prestigious Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival and a composer whose Christmas carol, “All in a Stable Cold and Bare,” was published by Hal Leonard in 2018.
“Ghosts of St. Bart’s,” a post-Thanksgiving recital on Thursday, November 30 at 7:30 p.m, will pay tribute to three musical giants who have haunted the hallowed halls of St. Bart’s: Samuel Barber, Amy Beach, and Leontyne Price. Featuring soprano Olivia Sue Greene accompanied by pianist Peiwen Chen, this program of American art song presents romantic 20th Century melodies and thought-provoking poetry. Greene has been a member of the St. Bart’s Choir since 2017 and has toured with the acclaimed Westminster Choir, sung with the Opera Theatre and, as a member of the Westminster Symphonic Choir, has performed with ensembles including the New York Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra. She also has performed on the operatic stage as Nannetta in Verdi’s Falstaff, Giulietta in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi, and Papagena in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte.
Other highlights of the new Great Music season include two perennial favorites: Baritone Jeff Morrisey’s “Adoration of the Magi” recital on Tuesday, December 12, with piano accompaniment by William F. Trafka, will present traditional carols, carols from around the world, spirituals and popular Christmas favorites inspired by the elegant paintings that adorn the 1919 Ethel Parsons Paullin and Telford Paullin mural in St. Bartholomew’s Chapel, which depict scenes connected with the Nativity of Christ; and the free annual “Concert to Usher in the New Year,” a peaceful, contemplative yet celebratory organ recital – including a midnight champagne toast – on December 31 provided by Paolo Bordignon, who serves as organist and choirmaster at St. Bart’s.
The springtime portion of the season features the return of the extraordinary chamber musicians The Apple Hill String Quartet performing on Sunday, April 21, 2024; two Lenten Organ Recitals on March 3 by Eddie Zheng, a current Juilliard student and rising star in the world of concert organ music, and then on March 10 by Alexander Pattavina; and a Holy Week Meditation in Song on March 25, during which the singers of St. Bart’s Choir will step out of their altar stalls and take center stage as soloists, presenting a reinterpretation of the themes of Holy Week through the language of secular art song.
The season closes with an evening recital once again featuring Paolo Bordignon, joined by an ensemble of guest instrumentalists. Bordignon is the harpsichordist for the New York Philharmonic in addition to his roles at St. Bart’s. His harpsichord recital in the St. Bart’s Chapel on Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at 7:30 p.m. will celebrate the works of J.S. Bach, George Frideric Handel and Domenico Scarlatti.
“We are delighted to present this new season of Great Music,” says Bordignon, who also serves as Musical Director of MMPAF. “This is a wonderful opportunity to highlight the exceptional talent of so many professional musicians who perform weekly at St. Bart’s as well as others whom we are honored to have fill our sanctuary and chapel with beautiful sounds that take full advantage of our unique acoustics and inspirational setting. I hope the many music lovers who join us each year will return often this season to enjoy a truly moving and entertaining program of concerts, and that many others will come experience the incredible atmosphere created when outstanding performances are given in such a spiritual and sound-enhancing space.”
A complete schedule of concerts in the 2023-24 “Great Music at St. Bart’s” concert series as well as ticket information and additional details on the performers and MMPAF can be found at https://www.mmpaf.org/2023-2024.