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PROFILES & ARTICLES

PRESS RELEASES
  • KENT TRITLE’S 2017-18 SEASON (press release – pdf)
    *Oratorio Society of New York: World Premieres of Paul Moravec’s Sanctuary Road, Libretto by Mark Campbell, about the Underground Railroad, and Behzad Ranjbaran’s We Are One; Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem with Susanna Phillips and John Chest
    *Great Music in a Great Space at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine: A Program with Rose of the Compass Devoted to New York Immigrants with the World Premiere of a Commission by Robert Sirota, and a Program of Pärt, Stravinsky, and Kodaly
    *Musica Sacra: A Cappella Masterpieces from Gregorian Chant to Lauridsen
    *Recitals on Two of NYC’s Great Organs – Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Church of St. Ignatius Loyola – and Saint-Saëns’s “Organ Symphony” with New York Philharmonic
  • KENT TRITLE’S SPRING 2017 SEASON (press release – pdf)
    *Organ Recital at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine
    *Britten’s War Requiem with the Oratorio Society of New York and the Manhattan School of Music Symphony and Symphonic Chorus
    *Bach, Brahms, Britten with Musica Sacra
    *Bach Mass in B Minor with Oratorio Society of New York
    *Saint-Saëns’s Organ Symphony with The Apollo Orchestra
  • KENT TRITLE’S 2016-17 SEASON  (press release – pdf)
    *Asian Debut with The National Chorus of Korea at the Great Mountains Music Festival & School
    *U.S. Premiere of Rautavaara’s Vigilia with the Cathedral Choir of St. John the Divine
    *Britten’s War Requiem with the Oratorio Society of New York and the Manhattan School of Music Symphony and Symphonic Chorus
    *Bach and Mozart Masses with Oratorio Society of New York
    *Palestrina, Pärt, Tavener, Bach, Britten, Brahms with Musica Sacra
  • KENT TRITLE’s SPRING 2016 SEASON (press release – pdf)
  • MANHATTAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC Appoints KENT TRITLE To Chair Historic Organ Department, Touting Depth of Faculty and Relationships with Prestigious NYC Organizations (press release – pdf)
  • KENT TRITLE’S 2015-16 SEASON (press release – pdf)
  • KENT TRITLE’S SPRING 2015 SEASON  (press release – pdf)
  • KENT TRITLE’S 2014-15 SEASON  (press release – pdf)
  • KENT TRITLE’S SPRING 2014 SEASON  (press release – pdf)
  • KENT TRITLE’S 2013-14 SEASON (press release – pdf)

MEDIA QUOTES

“Kent Tritle, New York’s leading choral conductor…”
~The New Yorker, December 1, 2014

“Choral conducting superstar Kent Tritle…”
~Time Out New York, December 2013

“Kent Tritle…the brightest star in New York’s choral music world…”
~Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, December 17, 2008

“New York City’s foremost choral conductor…”
~Time Out New York, March 26-April 1, 2009

“Kent Tritle, Manhattan’s choral man of the moment…”
~The New Yorker, April 20, 2009

“Tritle…has climbed to the top of the New York choral scene…”
~Leslie Kandell, American Record Guide, Jan/Feb 2010

“The Oratorio Society [of New York]…now led by the rock-star music director Kent Tritle…”
~Jan Benzel, The New York Times, September 2, 2010

“Kent Tritle, New York’s reigning choral conductor…”
~Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, September 12, 2010

“One of America’s most accomplished and beloved choral conductors”
~Anastasia Tsioulcas, NPR Music, July 2012


PERFORMANCE REVIEWS

Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Vigilia at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine
I have followed and participated in choral singing in New York City for decades, yet was astonished at the vocal capacities of these singers, under Tritle’s dedicated and profoundly musical direction…Truly, this was a choral concert for the ages…For those of us who love choral music, and for those of us who particularly love choral music connected to the Eastern Orthodox tradition, this concert was possibly the finest event of the 2016-17 season.
~Arlo McKinnon, Opera News, January 2017 [full text]

Musica Sacra’s ‘Messiah,’ Buoyant and Burnished at Carnegie Hall
With an excellent chorus and reliably top-notch soloists, the annual performances of Handel’s “Messiah” by Musica Sacra, under the direction of Kent Tritle, command a loyal following.
~Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times, December 23, 2015 [full text]

Musica Sacra, the notable professional chorus and mainstay of the New York choral scene, has a strong reputation both for its interpretations of the classics, such as the annual performances of Handel’s “Messiah,” and for its commissioning of new works…The program opened with Robert Paterson’s gorgeous “Lux Aeterna,” a setting of excerpts from the Requiem Mass and featured on a new disc of the composer’s choral works. Tautly scored with vivid contrasts and soaring lines, the work proved a highlight of the program.
~Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times, March 5, 2015 [full text]

It is better in such a case to take an analytic step back and savor the work (Mendelssohn’s “Elijah”) as a whole — its sheer beauty, its exquisite balance of chorus and orchestra, its canny pacing — and its felicitous details. And Mr. Tritle provided plenty of opportunity.
~James R. Oestreich, The New York Times, March 3, 2013  [full text]

Kent Tritle, one of New York’s busiest choral conductors, led the Musica Sacra Chorus and Orchestra in an exemplary rendition of the (Lord Nelson) mass at Alice Tully Hall on Monday evening. The choir sang with beautifully shaped phrasing and dynamics throughout, sounding particularly lovely in the Sanctus.
~Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times, October 24, 2012 [full text]

In July he announced that he would leave the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola to become the director of cathedral music and organist at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, and after leading his last Sacred Music in a Sacred Space concert in September, he took up his new post. Chief among his tasks is remaking the Cathedral Choir in his image, and on Wednesday evening he offered a look at that work in progress, in the first of two concerts in a revived Great Music in a Great Space series.  …  The Cathedral Choir on this occasion was a tightknit 17-voice ensemble, accompanied by a continuo group — Raymond Nagem, organist; Arthur Fiacco, cellist; Roger Wagner, bassist — and its strengths were apparent from the first notes of the Bach motet “Jesu, Meine Freude” (BWV 227). Chief among them was solid, thoroughly unified sound in the chorale movements that frame the motet and punctuate its more ornate verses. And in Bach’s more freely contrapuntal writing, Mr. Tritle oversaw a superbly balanced, carefully sculptured performance.
~Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, March 30, 2012 [full text]

Bringing freshness, let alone novelty, to a performance of Handel’s “Messiah” is a challenge. But the Oratorio Society of New York, under its music director, Kent Tritle, certainly did so on Monday night at Carnegie Hall with a vibrant performance of the piece in the seldom-heard arrangement by Mozart…It was a pleasure to hear the Oratorio Society’s splendid performance of Mozart’s beguiling arrangement under Mr. Tritle, in his seventh season as music director.
~Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, December 21, 2011 [full text]

To anyone who regularly attends choral concerts in New York, Kent Tritle is surely a name to be reckoned with. As the organist and choral director of the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola on Park Avenue from 1989 until this summer, Mr. Tritle nurtured one of the city’s most formidable music programs. Factor in his activities as the music director of Musica Sacra and the Oratorio Society of New York, his regular show on WQXR-FM and his steady roles with the New York Philharmonic, the Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music, and Mr. Tritle can seem ubiquitous.  In a surprising development in July, Mr. Tritle announced his departure from St. Ignatius Loyola to assume the position of director of cathedral music and organist for the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on the Upper West Side. … On Wednesday evening Mr. Tritle inaugurated his new role with a solo recital on the cathedral’s Great Organ….
~Steve Smith, The New York Times, November 25, 2011 [full text]

This was his final performance as director of the superb St. Ignatius choir and orchestra, and it seemed that the 10-minute standing ovation that ended the evening was as much for Mr. Tritle’s work over all as for the score and the richly textured, finely polished, high-energy performance.
~Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, September 15, 2011 [full text]

The Choir and Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola, conducted by Kent Tritle, the mastermind of Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, were everywhere excellent. The chorus seized its real opportunity to shine as a whole in the Handel anthem, to glorious effect…
~James R. Oestreich, The New York Times, May 26, 2011 [full text]

Kent Tritle, who is in his sixth season as music director at the Oratorio Society, seemed keenly aware of this work’s pitfalls and deftly avoided them. His pacing was impeccable: the work’s overall shape and the tempo relationships among the recitatives, arias, ensembles and choruses were carefully judged but never fussy. Even such seemingly small considerations as the transitions between movements were considered: a couple of seconds of anticipatory silence between the chorus “Then Did Elijah the Prophet Break Forth” and the tenor aria “Then Shall the Righteous Shine Forth” perfectly captured the shift from public to private devotion. The Oratorio Society is huge — the roster lists 174 vocalists — but Mr. Tritle had it singing with such transparency that even in the densest passages the words came through clearly, as did each strand in Mendelssohn’s rich harmonic fabric.
~Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, April 28, 2011 [full text]

With 32 fine choristers and 26 orchestra players, the forces were just big enough to make a consistent impact in the large hall, if never an overwhelming one. And it was a particular pleasure to hear the interweaving lines and individual words in the choruses and double choruses play off one another with such clarity…
~James R. Oesteich, The New York Times, February 24, 2011 [full text]

The thirty-two-voice chorus produced a polished, even sound across its four/eight parts (many of the choruses are scored for double choir), with tight ensemble and crisp diction…Kent Tritle conducted energetically, with clear, often poetic gestures…(Handel’s Israel in Egypt)
~Derek Greten-Harrison, Opera News, February 23, 2011 [full text]

A welcome New York revival of Handel’s oratorio Jephtha took place at the Church of Ignatius Loyola on October 13, with the church’s own choir and orchestra under their music director, Kent Tritle, plus a sextet of capable soloists….Jephtha shows Handel’s innovative skill at adapting Baroque conventions to a more fluid, conversational style. …  Under Tritle’s alert but unstressed pacing, the appropriately small chorus and orchestra executed their work with verve and discretion.
~John W. Freeman, Opera News, January 2011 [full text]

Musica Sacra follows period practice traditions regarding tempos and ornamentation. The orchestra performed beautifully throughout the evening, with transparent textures, a buoyant pulse and expressive phrasing. Its spry and nuanced playing, both soft-spoken and dramatic in turns, was aptly matched by the fleet, cleanly enunciated and radiant singing of the chorus, which performed with immaculate flair…
~Vivian Schweitzer, The New York Times, December 23, 2010 [full text]

A particular delight of the New York classical music season at its teeming height is the way seemingly unrelated events intersect to produce a spontaneous minifestival, or at least a theme. It happened last week on consecutive evenings, when two of the city’s finest professional church choirs presented contrasting Handel oratorios touching on more or less parallel Old Testament subjects…
~James R. Oesteich, The New York Times, October 17, 2010 [full text]

[Kent Tritle] is the founding director of Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, an invaluable series at St. Ignatius Loyola, which opened its season on Sunday afternoon with an organ recital by Mr. Tritle. For all his success at galvanizing choruses and orchestras, it is always gratifying to hear Mr. Tritle play the organ in a recital, the solo activity at the core of his artistry…While he dispatched the grand, rhapsodic and virtuosic Con moto maestoso movement from Mendelssohn’s Sonata No. 3 in A, it certainly added to the experience to see Mr. Tritle’s nimble hands and feet at work. He did appear a few times in the choir loft to acknowledge the applause of the audience, including a final standing ovation.
~Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, September 13, 2010 [full text]

With the select 32 members of the Musica Sacra chorus and a chamber orchestra of experienced players, Mr. Tritle conducted an impressively transparent and vibrant “Messiah.” He has worked extensively in the early-music movement. Yet there was no interpretive agenda evident here. The tempos tended to be fleet and the textures clear. But from the first phrases of the orchestral sinfonia that begins the piece, played with crisp but unexaggerated articulation of the dotted-note rhythms, the music-making was beguilingly natural.
~Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, December 22, 2009 [full text]

Hearing the British composer John Tavener’s Requiem in its United States premiere at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola on Wednesday night, in the opening concert of the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space series, you felt literally engulfed in pantheistic ecstasy.
~Steve Smith, The New York Times, October 9, 2009 [full text]

Free fantasy and structural formality (the fugue and the chaconne demand both) coexist, and Mr. Tritle deftly balanced the tension between them in a driven, rich-hued performance…He also did as much for Bach’s expansion on Buxtehude’s techniques in the “Wedge” Prelude and Fugue in E minor (BWV 548), playing the prelude assertively and bringing remarkable transparency to the strands of involved counterpoint in the fugue.
~Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, September 18, 2009  [full text]

Contemporary works were the main business of Kent Tritle’s Sacred Music in a Sacred Space concert on Wednesday evening at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola. But perhaps as a point of reference — as a way to show how far some sacred choral music has traveled, and how completely other works are linked to the past — Mr. Tritle opened his program with a setting of “Lux Perpetua Lucebit Sanctis Tuis,” by the 16th-century composer Philippe de Monte. …The works could hardly have been more varied, but they flourished consistently in the lush, seamless blend that Mr. Tritle’s 32-voice Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola produced.
~Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, February 12, 2009  [full text]

The Top Ten Classical Events
(From #4 “Bernstein at 90”): One especially reverberant moment came during Chichester Psalms [October 1, 2008, Sacred Music in a Sacred Space concert], which calls for singing the 23rd Psalm in Hebrew. When 11-year-old Andres Felipe Aristizabal intoned the word “Adonai,” it was impossible to disbelieve those green pastures.
~Justin Davidson, New York Magazine, December 7, 2008

The end of Rosh Hashanah brought a pairing of Bernstein’s and Beethoven’s great humanist pleas—Chichester Psalms and the Ninth Symphony—performed in the dazzling nave of St. Ignatius Loyola for the series “Sacred Music in a Sacred Space.” Bernstein would have been pleased at the sympathies between Beethoven’s rock-splitting radicalism and the hard-won simplicity of his own score, between the hortatory German of the “Ode to Joy” and the exuberant Hebrew Psalms. The lusty opening movement got softened a bit by the church’s reverberations, but the payoff was a final timpani blow that an archangel might have struck. Conductor Kent Tritle wrapped the rest of the Psalms in a golden shroud of sound…
~Justin Davidson, New York Magazine, October 5, 2008 [full text]

The playing [of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 by the Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola] was unified and electrifying … and in the last [movement], the balance between the orchestra, chorus and soloists was just about perfect.
~Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, October 3, 2008 [full text]

If the Department of Justice investigated conducting monopolies, its agents would be taking a close look at Kent Tritle. Just under two decades ago, [Kent Tritle] started the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space series at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola and quickly turned its resident choir into a finely polished, stylistically nimble ensemble. In 2005 he was appointed music director of the venerable Oratorio Society of New York, and this year he added Musica Sacra to his portfolio. That accounts for a significant quotient of high-profile concert choirs in New York, and in the last week Mr. Tritle led concerts by all three.
~Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, May 22, 2008 [full text]

The performance [by the Oratorio Society of New York of Brahms’s “Tragic” Overture] was an animated one…clean and crisply enunciated.  [In Brahms’s German Requiem]…the effect was magical, the musicianship superb. …[What was] memorable was the good effort of these dedicated musicians, amateurs in the best and noblest sense of the word.
~Fred Kirshnit, The New York Sun, May 22, 2008  [full text]

Mr. Tritle, his superb chamber choir and an orchestra of mostly modern instruments gave a viscerally thrilling performance [of Monteverdi’s Vespro Della Beata Vergine with the Choir and Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola]. …The soul of the performance was in the malleability of Mr. Tritle’s tempos and dynamics. …When Mr. Tritle and his choir were at their best – in their bright-edged rendering of the “Dixit Dominus” and their warm-hued “Ave Maris Stella,” for example – they tapped into the sublime joy of the work more thoroughly than any ensemble I’ve heard perform these Vespers in a long while.
~Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, May 16, 2008  [full text]

Magicians are generally ill advised to reveal their tricks, but when the conductor Kent Tritle let the audience in on a few crafty secrets during a concert [including Schnittke’s Concerto for Choir] by the Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola on Wednesday night, the tactic paid off. As it happened, understanding how Schnittke’s effects were created did not undercut a sense of awe inspired by the intense emotions they conjured…the singers did themselves proud, delivering a deeply heartfelt account with polished tone and excellent diction.
~Steve Smith, The New York Times, February 15, 2008  [full text]

RECORDING REVIEWS

cd391Messages to Myself:  New Music for Chorus A Cappella
Musica Sacra/ Kent Tritle – MSR Classics

The choir, as usual, is incandescent. I can’t think of an American ensemble that is any better at balance, variation in tone coloring, warmth, or technical acumen than this bunch…This country should be proud to sport such an ensemble, and conductor Kent Tritle has obviously not let standards wane one little bit.
~Audiophile Audition, May 22, 2014

This is a fascinating survey of a cappella music written by living composers over the past 25 years … there’s not a single work in this mixed sacred-secular program that lacks a high level of musical craftsmanship, imaginative treatment of texts, or strong listener appeal. … This is a sweetly sonorous and technically refined chamber ensemble of just under 30 voices, and Tritle has surely drawn some of New York’s finest vocalists to its ranks.
~American Record Guide, May/June 2013

coolofthedayCool of the Day, A Cappella Gems through the Centuries
Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola

Beautiful disciplined voices, clear diction, precise intonation, homogeneous ensemble, an arching legato line, and solid rhythmic direction—are met in full, with the happy result of a monumental work [Strauss’s German Motet] stunningly performed, captured and preserved on disc. … I know of no other recording that matches the depth and beauty of these performances.
~Fanfare, May/June 2012

Schnittke-revised-CD-coverGinastera’s The Lamentations of Jeremiah and Schnittke’s Concerto for Choir with the Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola

The Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola sings with an almost desperate affection in both of these works, while director Kent Tritle (also now taking over the reins of Musica Sacra) maintains a firm grip on the overall pace to wonderful effect. Highest recommendation.
~Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition, April 14, 2009

wondrouslove_cdWondrous Love

The 18 voices of the St Ignatius Loyola choir make up the core of one of the nation’s finest church choirs. Its members are all solo-grade professionals who are active in New York City’s rich opera, oratorio, and period performance scenes. Their singing offers an especially full-throated approach to vocal production, on top of tremendous expressive and dynamic range. Their program is a stunning traversal of mostly ancient and modern music. One of the album’s chief glories is a rich and ringing account of JS Bach’s motet, Komm, Jesu, Komm. This choir’s rich, vibrato-heavy sound doesn’t carry over into all their work. The Renaissance pieces-delivered in crystal-clear straight tone demonstrate their remarkable vocal discipline and finesse. This is one of the albums I’d pull out in a flash to prove to fussy skeptics that America has church choirs that needn’t take a back seat to the best European ones.
~American Record Guide, September/October 2006

All this music is extremely well served by what is evidently an expert choir that has been splendidly trained. The choir makes an excellent sound, and their tuning,balance and diction are all first rate. …Suffice to say that they turn in as good a performance as I’ve heard.
~MusicWeb-International.com

The versatility of conductor and singers is evident in their seemingly effortless traversal of such varied musical material.
~Choral Journal, October 2006

romantic_cdThe Romantic Organ

What a major artist Kent Tritle is! Surely he’s our next Virgil Fox and/or E. Power Biggs; he combines the classical approach of the latter with the romantic massiveness of the former. …You’ll not hear better recordings of this kind of music on any label I’m aware of; and Tritle’s performance of Liszt’s “Prelude and Fugue on the name of B.A.C.H.” is the single finest rendition I’ve ever heard.
~Patrick Meanor, Listener Magazine, Winter 1997