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“a broad, wide-ranging and powerful performance”

"positively thrilling"

 New York Times
 

 

"A HYPNOTICALLY BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCE"

OPERA NEWS

 

2018-2019 CONCERT SEASON

LET’S BE SOCIAL

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SUPPORT SMSS

 
 

We need your help!

Sacred Music in a Sacred Space is not an endowed program—each season we must raise the necessary funds to cover our artistic and operating expenses. Please join us in making these extraordinary performances possible. No contribution is too large or too small, and each one goes a long way to make certain that music will be ringing from this sacred space for years to come.

 

PAST SEASONS

NEWS

PRESS

I have my come-to-Arvo moment (Condemned to Music, David Patrick Stearns)

Somber Arvo Part Choral and Orchestral Music for Somber Times (New York Music Daily)

All-Pärt Concert Reflects Embrace Of Music History (Classical Voice North America)

Conductor Tõnu Kaljuste Brings Estonian Music To Life (Classical Post)

We are honored that WQXR has selected Arvo Pärt: The Sound of the Sacred as one of November's must-see classical concerts

New York’s Sacred Music in a Sacred Space Kicks off Season with I WISH IT SO (Broadway World)

Sacred Music in a Sacred Space Announces 18-19 Season (Broadway World)

Happy Error: The Week in Classical Music (New York Times)

"I haven’t encountered much Poulenc in recent years, except for the farcical opera “Les Mamelles de Tiresias,” heard twice: at Tanglewood in 1997 and at the Juilliard School in 2015. I can’t say that I thought a lot about what I was missing, but I was forcibly reminded on Wednesday evening, by Sacred Music in a Sacred Space’s Poulenc program at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, just how delightful his best works are. Renée Anne Louprette played the Organ Concerto beautifully, and K. Scott Warren conducted St. Ignatius choirs in Poulenc’s crowning Gloria, with Wendy Baker as an excellent soprano soloist."
JAMES R. OESTREICH

Duruflé Requiem (Opera News)

Exploring Choral Music in New York (Epoch Times)

Review: At St. Ignatius Loyola, Bach’s Mass in All Its Elements (New York Times)

Concert Review: The Heavy Weight of Faith (Superconductor)

Transcending the Gloom Outside of St. Ignatius Loyola (Lucid Culture)

An Echo of Rachmaninoff: St. Ignatius Loyola Choir Performs ‘All-Night Vigil’ (New York Times)

MEDIA

 

RECORDINGS

ADDITIONAL RECORDINGS AVAILABLE AT CONCERTS ONLY

 SILENT NIGHT: Music for Advent and Christmas  Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola

SILENT NIGHT: Music for Advent and Christmas

Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola

 RACHMANINOFF VESPERS  Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola

RACHMANINOFF VESPERS

Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola

 JUBILATIONS! Music for Organ, Brass and Percussion  Nancianne Parrella, organ St. Ignatius Brass Kent Tritle, conductor

JUBILATIONS!
Music for Organ, Brass and Percussion

Nancianne Parrella, organ
St. Ignatius Brass
Kent Tritle, conductor

 THE ROMANTIC ORGAN Kent Tritle, Organ

THE ROMANTIC ORGAN
Kent Tritle, Organ

 KENT TRITLE, Organ

KENT TRITLE, Organ

 "THE ORGANISTAS" (DVD) The Making of the N.P. Mander Organ

"THE ORGANISTAS" (DVD)
The Making of the N.P. Mander Organ

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ABOUT SACRED MUSIC IN A SACRED SPACE

K. Scott Warren, Artistic Director

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Warmth, richness, intimacy and excellence have always been the signature of SACRED MUSIC IN A SACRED SPACE, a series simply called "invaluable" by The New York Times. Located in the opulent Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York City, Sacred Music in a Sacred Space is committed to presenting the finest sacred choral and organ repertoire spanning over 1,000 years of music history. Known for their artistic excellence, the renowned Choir and Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola present exhilarating performances of large-scale choral masterpieces as well as more intimate and reflective settings by lesser-known composers. Internationally-acclaimed organists may also frequently be heard on the Church's magnificent N.P. Mander Pipe Organ, the largest tracker organ in New York City.

TICKETS &
customer service

(212) 288-2520
9-9 Monday - Friday
12-5 Saturday & Sunday

GENERAL INQUIRIES

concerts@stignatiusloyola.org

LOCATION

Church of St. Ignatius Loyola
980 Park Avenue
at 84th Street
New York, NY 10028

DIRECTIONS

The Church of St. Ignatius Loyola is easily reached via the 4, 5, and 6 subway lines (86th Street station), or buses on Madison, Lexington and Fifth Avenues, and on 86th Street.

PARKING

Street parking can be difficult to find, but there are a number of parking garages nearby. There are garages on 83rd Street (between Park and Lexington Avenues) and 84th Street (between Park and Lexington Avenues), as well as near the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

ACCESSIBILITY

The Church of St. Ignatius Loyola is wheelchair/walker accessible via the ramp entrance on 84th Street (between Park and Madison Avenues).

The restrooms are NOT easily accessible by wheelchair. The most easily accessible restrooms are in the Parish House (980 Park Avenue). There are two steps down from the street level into the Parish House and there is a restroom on that ground floor.

For reserved seating concerts, there is available seating for wheelchairs and companions. Please look for the Wheelchair and Wheelchair Companion tickets when purchasing. For general seating concerts, follow the directions of the ushers. Please call ahead (212-288-2520) to discuss any special seating requirements.

 
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CHOIR OF ST. IGNATIUS LOYOLA

 

Hailed by the New York Times as “a finely polished, stylistically nimble ensemble,” the Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola is comprised of New York’s finest professional singers. The core group of 17 members sings a demanding schedule of weekly parish worship services in a wide range of repertoire, with particular emphasis on new works, the sacred Renaissance repertoire, and Gregorian chant. The choir expands as required for the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space Concert Series. Each member is a soloist in his or her own right in a variety of genres including early music, opera, oratorio, and contemporary repertoire. The Choir may be heard on recordings for the MSR Classics and AMDG labels.

 

N.P. MANDER ORGAN

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The N.P. Mander Organ at 25

by K. Scott Warren

One evening in 1994, while browsing through organ CDs at Barnes and Noble, I ran across a hot-off-the-press recording of the new Mander organ at St. Ignatius Loyola in New York City.  I didn’t live in New York at the time, but had heard about the new instrument and the well-deserved acclaim it was receiving at quite a young age. Within minutes of my purchase, I was sitting in front of my living room speakers, encased in sumptuous sounds reminiscent of the organs at the Riverside Church and the Mormon Tabernacle. The organist was none other than the church’s director of music ministries, Kent Tritle, who played with deft, articulate command and elegantly subtle nuance as he plumbed the tonal depths of the new instrument. Mr. Tritle, along with then-pastor the Reverend Walter F. Modrys, and the brilliant John Pike Mander, formed the team spearheading the creation of the four-manual, 68-stop organ, dedicated in recital by David Higgs on April 27, 1993, to an overflow crowd. Within months of its dedication, the organ had achieved international status. 

What a privilege it was six years later to visit St. Ignatius and sit at the keydesk of this landmark instrument. From the brilliant fire of the harmonic reeds to the broad scope of the string celestes to the liquid flutes and the warmth of the foundations, not to mention the beautifully piquant color reeds and the en chamades that crown the ensemble, there was no part of this instrument that didn’t fire the imagination. The opportunity to play an organ such as this, especially when married to the ravishing acoustic of St. Ignatius, was and is still a pinnacle experience.

When organist and builder set out to create such a distinctive instrument, the question of durability and functionality—aesthetic, as well as mechanical—always arises. Will the 50,000 interconnected parts withstand the sometimes harsh climate of New York City, as well as the dirt, and wear and tear? Will the tonal palette sound fresh a quarter-century from now?  Will the organ be able to serve, not just as a showstopping recital instrument, but as a bold leader of song and graceful accompanist as well? Over the last 25 years, it is clear to everyone associated with this organ that it wildly exceeded all expectations, even after a renovation and cleaning of the church that substantially brightened the acoustic. At 25, a pipe organ may be considered “seasoned,” but certainly not old. With a firm commitment from parish, clergy, and musicians, along with the care of highly skilled technicians, such as our extraordinary curator, Larry Trupiano, one should expect more than a century (or even two) of reliable service from a well-designed, conscientiously crafted instrument.  But the quarter-century mark is a good time to look back with gratitude to those whose imaginations and skills brought this instrument into being, and for the manifold ways this organ has thrilled the soul, rejoicing in times of celebration and mourning in the face of sorrow. To this parish, the Mander organ has become a true partner in pastoral ministry.

As a concert and recording instrument, the Mander has been in demand to the point that the guest book at the organ reads like a Who’s Who in the organ world. Recordings by Mr. Tritle, John Scott, Anthony Newman, David Enlow, and Nancianne Parrella (St. Ignatius’s associate organist, 1993–2015), as well as solo recitals by Olivier Latry, Marie Claire-Alain, Gillian Weir, Simon Preston, David Higgs, Stephen Tharp, Thomas Murray, John Scott, Joan Lippincott, Sophie-Véronique Choplin, Paul Jacobs, Mary Preston, David Briggs, Guy Bovet, Thierry Escaich, and countless other luminaries of the organ world—too numerous to name in this space—are a testament to its stylistic flexibility, race car-like responsiveness, and profoundly satisfying sonority. The Mander’s remarkable sonic scope led Olivier Latry to choose St. Ignatius as the American site for his acclaimed cycle of Messiaen’s complete organ works in 2000, along with Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. But the supreme joy of playing the Mander has belonged to the resident organists of St. Ignatius over the years: Kent, Nanci, Renée Anne Louprette (associate director of music, 2005–2011), Andrew Henderson (assistant organist, 2001–2005), myself, and most recently our principal organist, Daniel Beckwith. Whether leading a hymn, accompanying a soloist at a wedding or funeral, or playing solo repertoire, we have all drawn deeply from the well of inspiration this great instrument affords.

As the Mander begins its next 25 years, we are confident in its ability to engage, inspire, and transform future generations as it has done since 1993. We sincerely hope you will make a pilgrimage this year to one of our concerts or masses, to bask in the beauty of the church and experience this crown jewel among New York City’s greatest pipe organs. 

This article originally appeared in The American Organist, October 2017.

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STAFF

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K. Scott Warren
Artistic Director

Since 2011, Director of Music Ministries K. Scott Warren has led a dynamic music team consisting of over 150 individuals, professional and volunteer, in providing music at approximately 400 liturgies annually. He is the principal conductor of the 20-voice professional Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola, which sings a demanding schedule of services throughout the year, with repertoire spanning Gregorian chant to 21st-century masterpieces. The choir, along with the Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola, form the backbone of the parish’s critically acclaimed concert series Sacred Music in a Sacred Space whose recent performances have been lauded by the New York Times as “stirring…positively thrilling” and “broad, wide-ranging, and powerful.” In addition to the vast choral spectrum presented at St. Ignatius, Mr. Warren presides over the four manual, 91-rank N.P. Mander Organ, the largest mechanical action organ in the New York metro area, and an instrument of international stature.

From 2002 to 2018, Mr. Warren served on the music staff of Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York, first as Assistant Organist, then as Organist/Choirmaster beginning in 2006. In this capacity, he led thousands of worship services featuring Emanu-El’s renowned 17-voice professional choir.

As a collaborative musician, Mr. Warren has appeared as organist with the New York Philharmonic, the American Symphony Orchestra, the New York Pops, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the Dresden Philharmonic, in venues ranging from Carnegie and David Geffen Halls to the Ravinia and Bravo! Vail music festivals. Mr. Warren has also had an active career as choral accompanist, working with Voices of Ascension, Musica Sacra, the Choir of Trinity Church, Wall Street, the Oratorio Society of New York, and the New Jersey Oratorio Society, among others. His work as accompanist has been featured on National Public Radio.

Mr. Warren is a native of Dallas, Texas, and a graduate of the University of North Texas, where he studied organ with Dr. Jesse E. Eschbach. His choral music is published by Oxford University Press, and has been performed throughout Asia, Europe, and North America.

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Daniel Beckwith
Principal Organist

Daniel Beckwith is Principal Organist at St. Ignatius Loyola and Assistant Organist at Temple Emanu-El, both in New York City. Mr. Beckwith is also on the faculty at Stony Brook University where he coaches the graduate and doctoral voice performance majors as well as conducts the operas. Former church positions include the posts of Assistant Organist at several New York City Landmark houses of worship: The Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, St. Bartholomew’s Church, and The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. 

Mr. Beckwith has conducted in many of the major opera houses throughout North America and Europe. With a repertoire that spans the 17th through the 20th centuries, he has been hailed as one of the most exciting conductors of his generation. 

Mr. Beckwith’s Metropolitan Opera debut was with Don Giovanni in 1995.  On the strength of these performances, he was engaged for several important debuts conducting the works of Handel, both nationally (Serse, Seattle Opera) and internationally (Rinaldo, Grand Theâtre du Genève; Theodora, Glyndebourne Festival).

His return engagement to the Metropolitan, as well as his San Francisco Opera and Portland Opera debuts was with Don GiovanniLe Nozze di Figaro for the companies of Vancouver, Baltimore, Edmonton and Arizona. Daniel Beckwith’s Australian opera debut in 1998 was with a personal favorite, La Clemenza di Tito. Mr. Beckwith’s return engagement to the Seattle Opera and his debut with the Washington Opera was with Die Zauberflöte.

His love of, and affinity for, the baroque, early classical, and the bel canto repertory has given him the opportunity to perform many of the cornerstone operas of these varying periods: Gluck’s Orphée et Euridice, Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio SegretoLucia di LammermoorIl Barbiere di Siviglia,La CenerentolaL’Elisir d’AmoreL’Italiana in Algeri, and the U.S. Premiere of Handel’s Oreste. The vehicle of his April 2000 New York City Opera debut was a new production of Rameau’s Platée with the Mark Morris Dance Group.

Other operas in Mr. Beckwith’s increasingly diverse repertory include Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in PatriaThe Rape of LucretiaAlcinaGiulio Cesare,The Crucible, Roméo et Juliette, Susannah, Don Pasquale, Carmen, Mozart’s Il Re Pastore, Turandot, Falstaff, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Così fan tutte, Madama Butterfly, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, La Bohème and Ariadne auf Naxos.

A frequent partner with soprano Renée Fleming, they have performed in concert at Carnegie Hall, Spain’s Santander Festival and television appearances on Good Morning America, The View and Martha Stewart Living.

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Nancianne Parrella
Organist Emerita

Nancianne Parrella is Organist Emerita of the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York City. For 22 years, she played a prominent part in the acclaimed concert series Sacred Music in a Sacred Space as organ soloist, continuo player, and accompanist for choral and orchestral works. During the recent seasons in New York, she played concerts with Voices of Ascension directed by Dennis Keene; at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine; and with Musica Sacra and Oratorio Society at Carnegie Hall with Kent Tritle conducting. Nancianne and K. Scott Warren have performed together often as duo pianists for many of the leading choral ensembles in New York City.

Nancianne’s signature Organ Plus! recitals, regular audience favorites on the N.P. Mander Organ Recital Series, demonstrated the versatility of the organ in combination with Victoria Drake, harp; Jorge Avila, violin; and Arthur Fiacco, violoncello. In addition to New York City performances, she brought Organ Plus! to Ohio, New Jersey, Texas, and Long Island.

Nancianne was the founding director of Intermezzo, the chamber music series at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, SC. Her organ performances with orchestra have included: the Saint Saëns Symphony No. 3, “The Organ Symphony” with The Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola and the Fort Worth Symphony; Stephen Paulus’ Concerto for Organ, Timpani, Percussion, and Strings at New York’s AGO Regional Convention; and the University of Massachusetts Amherst Symphony Orchestra, which included Poulenc Concerto for Organ, Strings, and Timpani as well.

She also performed with the New York Philharmonic in Lorin Maazel’s farewell concerts of the Britten War Requiem, and recorded it with Kurt Masur conducting; and she has been heard in recent recitals at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine; Methuen Memorial Music Hall; at Trinity Church, Wall Street, and at Princeton University Chapel.

Among America’s preeminent choral accompanists, Nancianne is an Emeritus Faculty member of Westminster Choir College of Rider University Princeton, where she was accompanist and assistant director of the famed Westminster Choir and Symphonic Choir directed by Joseph Flummerfelt. She toured and recorded extensively with Westminster Choir in Europe, America, Taiwan and Korea.

Nancianne was long associated with America’s pioneering choral conductor, Robert Shaw, with whom she toured and recorded in America, France, and Brazil. She has also collaborated with conductors: Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, and Lorin Maazel with the NY Philharmonic; Wolfgang Sawallisch of the Philadelphia Orchestra; Zdenek Macal and Neeme Järvi of the NJ Symphony; and James Bagwell and Louis Langreé in New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival.

Her CD labels include MSR; Delos; Gothic; Dorian; Chesky; Telarc, and Teldec. She is featured on two Pheasant Eye DVDs, The Organistas and Creating the Stradivarius of Organs, revealing the development of the N. P. Mander Organ, one of the largest tracker-action organs in New York City.

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Robert Reuter
Associate Director of Music

Robert Reuter, conductor, singer, and pianist, was appointed Associate Director of Music in September of 2012 at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York City, where he works closely with director K. Scott Warren in contributing and shaping the church’s vibrant liturgical music program and concert series Sacred Music in a Sacred Space

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Robert began his involvement in music ministry while in grade school as a member of the church choir.  He eventually became accompanist, cantor and choir director at St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Parish in San José, California.  From 2001-2006, he also served as accompanist for the Santa Clara University Mission Choir, providing music at many of the weekly liturgies at historic Mission Santa Clara de Asís in Santa Clara, California.

Since joining the music staff at St. Ignatius Loyola in 2007, Robert has had the pleasure of working with all of the church’s professional and volunteer ensembles.  He currently sings with, and occasionally conducts the 18 voice professional Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola, which offers repertoire at liturgies and concerts ranging from Gregorian chant to the latest choral masterpieces.  He is director of the church's 50-member Parish Community Choir, which can be heard at the annual Christmas and Rejoice in the Lord concerts, as well as many of the major Christmas, Holy Week and Easter liturgies.  Robert is director and accompanist for Canticum Sacrum, an advanced volunteer ensemble which offers musical support for the weekly 7:30 Sunday evening liturgies.

In the 2009-2010 season, Robert made his Sacred Music in a Sacred Space concert series debut, conducting the combined choirs and orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola on Giovanni Gabrieli’s much beloved O Magnum Mysterium in the series’ annual Christmas Concerts.  The following season, he conducted the New York Premiere of Cecilia McDowall’s Christus Natus Est at the Christmas Concerts, as well as an all a cappella concert with Kent Tritle.  The a cappella concert was recorded and commercially released in 2011 as Cool of the Day on the MSR label.

When not contributing to the musical aspects of Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, Robert enjoys being the behind-the-scenes "go-to-guy" in his position as Technical & Logistics Coordinator.  Responsibilities include crafting detailed schematics for each concert, running the lighting and sound systems, and helping to ensure an overall smooth concert experience for the musicians and audience members alike.  Robert is a graduate of Santa Clara University.

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Maureen Haley
Director of Children's Choirs and High School Choir

Maureen Haley was a member of the professional choir at St. Ignatius for 21 years. An active musician in New York and New Jersey, she accompanies school choruses in the area and teaches voice and piano privately. She is passionate about providing choral experiences for young people.  In 2014, Ms. Haley made her conducting debut at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia with the girls and boys of the Pennsylvania Girlchoir and Keystone State Boychoir.  She guest lectures at Monmouth University, where she familiarizes future music teachers with the Kodaly methodology. Ms. Haley currently teaches music at The Brearley School.

As a professional singer, Ms. Haley has worked and recorded with musicians such as Michael Tilson Thomas, Kent Tritle, Zubin Mehta, Richard Westenburg, Meredith Monk, Mark Morris, Steve Reich and Robert DeCormier, singing Renaissance through Contemporary and Folk repertoire.  She has received critical acclaim in the New York Times.

Ms. Haley received her Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in piano from Penn State University, and her Master of Music with a concentration in voice from Queens College, CUNY.  She completed her Kodaly certification at Westminster Choir College and James Madison University.  A lover of foreign languages, Ms. Haley has pursued post-graduate language studies in Latin, French, Spanish, Hebrew and German.

She is a past New Jersey Symphony Master Teacher, a national conference committee member for the Organization of American Kodaly Educators and is an officer in the New Jersey state chapter. 

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Michael Sheetz
Music Associate

Music Director, conductor, collaborative pianist, and educator Michael Sheetz is a versatile and rising professional in his field. A believer of the power of music to heal and build bonds of fellowship and change, Michael, in the words of conductor Kent Tritle, has “that magic combination of talent, charisma, integrity and a willingness to do the hard work.”

Michael serves as Music Associate at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, where he performs in and helps to administrate the acclaimed Sacred Music in a Sacred Space concert series. He also music directs, conducts and accompanies in its liturgical music program with the Wallace Hall Family Mass Choir and Orchestra and the Parish Community Choir. Here he programs music to cultivate the spiritual life of the community and to feature and nurture the rising young musical talent in the parish. Michael is also the Director of Choirs at Hunter College of the City University of New York, where he directs the 100+ voiced College Choir and select Chamber Singers Ensemble. As Assistant Music Director of Musica Sacra, New York City’s longest continuously performing professional choral ensemble, Michael conducts, prepares, and accompanies in performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Some of his previous appointments include Faculty Assistant at The Juilliard School, Assistant Conductor of the Fairfield County Chorale and as a choral scholar and accompanist at the Oratorio Society of New York and Manhattan School of Music.

Most recently, Michael helped prepare the Musica Sacra Chorus for performances of the NY Philharmonic live screenings of Amadeus and 2001: A Space Odyssey, and New York City Ballet performances of Stravinsky’s Les Noces and Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other Lincoln Center collaborations include Beethoven Symphony 9, Walton Henry V, Ives Symphony No. 4 and the complete choral works of Edgard Varèse at the Lincoln Center Festival. He has been the Assistant Choral Director at the New York Philharmonic for performances of Holst’s The Planets, and Associate Conductor for Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms at The Juilliard School. 

As a conductor of new music, he has assisted in performance preparation with composers Meredith Monk, Michael Gilbertson, Jocelyn Hagen, Evan Fein, Frank Ferko, Julius Revie and Gisle Kverndokk. As a collaborator, Michael has worked with conductors Philippe Entremont, Alan Gilbert, Jane Glover, Pablo Heras-Casado, Bernard Labadie, Andrew Litton, John Nelson, Sir Roger Norrington, and Bramwell Tovey, among others. His playing can be heard on Eternal Reflections: The Choral Works of Robert Paterson, AMR label, and Angel with the St. Ignatius Children’s Choirs, MSR Classics. His collaborative playing has been featured on live broadcasts on WQXR and Vermont Public Radio, and has been called “consistently excellent” by the American Record Guide Review.

 As a teaching artist Michael leads an Educational Outreach Program through Musica Sacra, where he travels to at-need public schools and community centers throughout New York City to engage students in classical music appreciation and performance. He holds a Master of Music and two Professional Studies degrees from Manhattan School of Music, and is a graduate from Vassar College. He resides in New York City with his wife Diana.

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Sara Murphy
Executive Director, SMSS Concerts

Sara Murphy is Executive Director of Sacred Music in a Sacred Space. In this capacity she manages areas such as advertising, marketing, communication, ticketing and fundraising for Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, as well as general operations. 

Sara has been actively involved in liturgical music since beginning in the church choir in grade school, serving as a cantor in high school, and continuing as a choir member and cantor at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, DC, Sacred Heart Cathedral in Newark, NJ, and here at St. Ignatius Loyola.

From 1998-2011, Sara was a staff member at the Biblical Archaeology Society, publisher of Biblical Archaeology Review magazine, most recently as editor of the society’s award-winning network of web sites and extensive email newsletter program.

As a vocal soloist, Sara has been called “a gorgeous, deep, dark mezzo-soprano” by the New York Times. Sara’s recent engagements include two European debuts: Ulrica in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera at Opera Theater of Rome under the baton of Jesús López-Cobos, and Mary in Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer with the RAI Orchestra conducted by James Conlon.

Her 2017 performance of Mary Magdalene in Elgar’s The Apostles with American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall was “sung with great depth of feeling and luxuriant tone ... One of the evening’s high points was her intense performance” (Opera News). Sara portrayed Mother Bayard and Cousin Ermengarde in Hindemith’s The Long Christmas Dinner with American Symphony Orchestra at Lincoln Center, the live recording of which topped The New York Times’ Classical Playlist and was one of Opera News’ Best Recordings of the Year in 2015.

Sara has appeared in numerous performances with the Cincinnati Symphony at the May Festival conducted by James Conlon: Verdi’s Otello, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mahler Symphony No. 8, Beethoven Symphony No. 9 and Tchaikovsky’s Ode to Joy. With the American Symphony Orchestra and conductor Leon Botstein she has performed Elgar’s The Apostles, Ligeti Requiem, Schnittke’s Nagasaki and Hindemith’s The Long Christmas Dinner. Her portrayal of Britten’s Phaedra, Barber’s Dover Beach and High Priestess (Aida) at Ravinia with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Conlon won acclaim from the Chicago Tribune: “a rich, voluminous mezzo voice, excellent diction and an acute feeling for words and music.” She has joined Oratorio Society of New York for several sold-out performances of Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall, as well as presentations of Mahler Symphony No. 8 and Verdi Requiem.

Sara earned a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and a Master's degree from Catholic University.

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Danya Katok
Music Administrator

Danya Katok, originally from State College, PA, is Music Administrator of the music department at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola. She also sings regularly with the professional 20-voice choir, under the direction of K. Scott Warren. She is on the music faculty at Hunter College and received her doctorate in Voice Performance from The CUNY Graduate Center. She taught on the music faculties of Brooklyn College from 2013-2016 and Bronx Community College from 2011-2013.

As a singer, Danya’s versatility is her greatest strength, described as a “chameleon” by BistroAwards.com. Notable performances include Max in Where the Wild Things Are with New York City Opera (a role for which she was praised by The New York Times as being “superb,”) soprano soloist in Haydn’s The Creation with Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, soprano soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra, Commère in Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts with Mark Morris Dance Group, soprano soloist in Brahms’ Requiem with Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Chamber Choir, the world premiere of O Night Divine at York Theater Company (Off-Broadway), Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music with New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble, featured soloist with The Boston Pops in “An Evening of Cole Porter” (“…keep an eye on Katok,” The Boston Globe reported,) and her very own cabaret at Don’t Tell Mama.

A two-time Vocal Fellow at Tanglewood Music Center and first-ever New Voices in American Song Fellow at SongFest, Danya has worked closely with song and opera composers, including Libby Larsen, John Musto, Oliver Knussen, and Richard Hundley. She has enjoyed premiering new works by up-and-coming composers, such as Stuart Paul Duncan's Lament with the Cornell Festival Chamber Orchestra, Michael Strauss' Sassafras Dawn with members of the Mid-Atlantic Symphony, James Sproul's October, and David Bridges’ The Hill Wife, a "quartet for two people" where she played the violin and sang. She has received numerous awards in the contemporary music space, including the Phyllis Bryn-Julson Award for 20th/21st Century Music, Tanglewood’s Grace B. Jackson Prize, and the Ernst Bacon Prize for American Art Song. Other awards include Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Mid-Atlantic region), Winner of the Annual Teaneck Cabaret Competition, and Winner of the Baltimore Music Club Vocal Competition.