Music Director Kent Tritle
“New York City’s foremost choral conductor”
~Time Out New York
Kent Tritle is one of America’s leading choral conductors. Called “the brightest star in New York’s choral music world” by The New York Times, he is Director of Cathedral Music and Organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City; Music Director of the Oratorio Society of New York, the Grammy-nominated volunteer chorus; and Music Director of Musica Sacra, New York’s elite professional chorus.
Photo: Jennifer Taylor
Highlights of the 2022-23 season include two world premieres: A Nation of Others, a new oratorio for six soloists, chorus and orchestra by Paul Moravec and Mark Campbell about immigrants’ arrival at Ellis Island in 1921, with the Oratorio Society of New York at Carnegie Hall, and a setting of the Stabat Mater for organ, soloists, chorus, and orchestra by David Briggs at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Kent also leads Robert Paterson’s Whitman’s America (2016) and Bach’s Mass in B Minor with the Oratorio Society; music from 14th-century England and France and a program featuring music of women composers spanning more than five centuries with Musica Sacra; and “Venice: City of Light,” a collaboration with Rose of the Compass, holiday programs, and two organ recitals at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Kent also leads his annual performances of Handel’s Messiah, with Musica Sacra and the Oratorio Society of New York, at Carnegie Hall.
Among Kent’s recent notable performances: at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Verdi’s Requiem, Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand,” and Britten’s War Requiem performed by the Oratorio Society of New York and the Symphony and Symphonic Chorus of the Manhattan School of Music; and with the Cathedral Choir, the New York premiere performance by the Cathedral Choir of Einojuhani Rautaavara’s Vigilia (called by Opera News “a choral concert for the ages”). With Musica Sacra, world premieres of music by Juraj Filas, Michael Gilbertson, and Robert Paterson and an acclaimed performance of Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil. And with the Oratorio Society of New York, the world premieres of the Paul Moravec/Mark Campbell oratorio Sanctuary Road (the recording of which received a Grammy nomination) and Juraj Filas’s Song of Solomon, and Mozart’s arrangement of Handel’s Messiah.
Kent has created high-profile collaborations for his groups with other major players in the New York music scene, directing the Manhattan School of Music Symphonic Chorus for performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the New York Philharmonic led by Alan Gilbert; Musica Sacra for the New York Philharmonic’s live score performances of 2001: A Space Odyssey, also led by Gilbert, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind; and the Oratorio Society of New York for Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s led by Sir Roger Norrington, and Carnegie Hall’s 125th Anniversary Gala. He also led the “Mass Appeal Mass” of the “Make Music New York” festival for three years, including the 2012 premiere of a work by Philip Glass in Times Square.
Kent Tritle is renowned as a master clinician, giving workshops on conducting and repertoire; he leads annual choral workshops at the Amherst Early Music Festival, and recent years have included workshops at Berkshire Choral International, Summer@Eastman and at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. As Director of Choral Activities at the Manhattan School of Music, Kent established the school’s first doctoral program in choral conducting. A Juilliard School faculty member since 1996, he currently directs a graduate practicum on oratorio in collaboration with the school’s Vocal Arts Department.
In more than 150 concerts presented by the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space series from 1989 to 2011, Kent Tritle conducted the Choir and Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola in a broad repertoire of sacred works, from Renaissance masses and oratorio masterworks to premieres by notable living composers, earning praise for building the choir and the concert series into one of the highlights of the New York concert scene. From 1996 to 2004, Tritle was Music Director of the Emmy-nominated Dessoff Choirs. Kent hosted “The Choral Mix with Kent Tritle,” a weekly program devoted to the vibrant world of choral music, on New York’s WQXR from 2010 to 2014.
As an organ recitalist, Kent Tritle performs regularly in Europe and across the United States; recital venues have included the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Zurich Tonhalle, the Church of St. Sulpice in Paris, Dresden’s Hofkirche, King’s College at Cambridge, Westminster Abbey, and St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. With the Philharmonic he has performed Saint-Saëns’s Organ Symphony conducted by Lorin Maazel, Andrew Davis, Antonio Pappano, and David Robertson, and recorded Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem, Britten’s War Requiem and Henze’s Symphony No. 9, all conducted by Kurt Masur, as well as the Grammy-nominated Sweeney Todd conducted by Andrew Litton. He is featured on the DVDs The Organistas and Creating the Stradivarius of Organs.
Kent Tritle’s discography features more than 20 recordings on the Telarc, Naxos, AMDG, Epiphany, Gothic, VAI and MSR Classics labels. Recent releases, including the Grammy-nominated 2018 world premiere performance of the Paul Moravec/Mark Campbell oratorio Sanctuary Road with the Oratorio Society of New York; the 2016 performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, David Briggs’s organ-choral version, and Eternal Reflections: Choral Music of Robert Paterson with Musica Sacra, have been praised by NPR Music, Gramophone, and The American Organist.
Kent is the 2020 recipient of Chorus America’s Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art. Other recent honors include the 2017 Distinguished Achievement Award from Career Bridges and the 2016 President’s Medal for Distinguished Service from the Manhattan School of Music. Kent is on the advisory boards of the Choral Composer/Conductor Collective (C4) and the Clarion Music Society, and was the 2016 honoree at Clarion’s annual gala.
Kent Tritle holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from The Juilliard School in organ performance and choral conducting. He has been featured on ABC World News Tonight, National Public Radio, and Minnesota Public Radio, as well as in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He was featured in Episode 6 of the first season of the WIRED video series “Masterminds,” an installment titled, “What Conductors Are Really Doing.”