Bernard Labadie’s Inaugural Season as OSL’s Principal Conductor Kicks Off with Opening Carnegie Hall Series Concert on October 25, 2018 Featuring Haydn’s “Nelson Mass” and Mozart’s Requiem

Chamber Music Season Opens December 2018 with Baroque Program Focused on Italian Composers, Continues with an All-Mozart Program in February 2019, and All-Mendelssohn Program in May 2019

Maestro Labadie to Receive Honorary Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from Manhattan School of Music and is Named Distinguished Artist in Conducting and Orchestral Activities

The 42nd Season of Free School Concerts Introduces Public School Students to the Life and Work of Jerome Robbins, and to Music in Color's 2019 Composer Gabriela Lena Frank


New York, NY, May 7, 2018 — Orchestra of St. Luke’s (OSL) today announced additional details of its 2018–2019 season—the Orchestra’s 44th—including its signature Chamber Music Series, Music in Color, and Free School Concerts celebrating the Jerome Robbins centenary. The previously announced 32nd–annual subscription series presented by Carnegie Hall opening on October 25 will mark the official start of Bernard Labadie’s tenure as Principal Conductor of the Orchestra. The series will feature a season-long focus on Haydn, a specialty of both the conductor and the Orchestra.

The Chamber Music series features three programs that will be presented this year at The Brooklyn Museum, Merkin Concert Hall, The Morgan Library and Museum, and The DiMenna Center for Classical Music. The 3rd season of Music in Color will celebrate composer Gabriela Lena Frank with free school programs and community concerts in the five boroughs in spring 2019. The Orchestra joins the international celebration of the Jerome Robbins Centennial with a series of free concerts in Fall 2018 for New York City School students that presents the choreographer’s life and work with live music and dance with New York City Ballet Principal Dancer, Daniel Ulbricht and other dancers from the Company. In October 2018, St. Luke’s will join the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys in a program that will showcase the Fifth Avenue Church’s new organ. In June 2018, the Ensemble will present Facets of Brahmsthe second iteration of the Ensemble’s chamber music festival—followed by OSL’s summer residency at Caramoor, a free concert at the Naumberg Orchestral Concerts in Central Park featuring soprano Sherezade Panthaki and concertmaster Krista Bennion Feeney, and its debut at Tippet Rise Art Center in Montana.

In recognition of his contributions to the performance of Baroque, Classical, and Early Romantic repertoire, Bernard Labadie will receive an Honorary Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Manhattan School of Music (MSM), when the school holds commencement on May 11, 2018. In September 2018—the start of Manhattan School’s Centennial season—Labadie takes on an official role at MSM as Distinguished Visiting Artist in Conducting and Orchestral Activities. With Orchestra of St. Luke’s participation, Labadie will lead students in side-by-sides, master classes, and various conducting projects.

"I'm excited about the official launch of this New York chapter in the fall,” said Bernard Labadie. “I look forward to many fruitful collaborations with two prestigious organizations—the wonderful musicians of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and the renowned Manhattan School of Music as it embarks on its 100th anniversary.”

“Orchestra of St. Luke’s has a lot to celebrate in the 2018–19 season,” stated President and Executive Director James Roe. “From Bernard Labadie’s eagerly awaited arrival as Principal Conductor to the official reopening of the DiMenna Center for Classical Music’s Cary Hall and other spaces—which suffered water damage during the cold winter—to the second iteration of the Ensemble’s new Chamber Music Festival with Facets of Brahms this coming June. And there are exciting new initiatives to be announced soon.OSL is expanding its artistic footprint in New York and we are very proud of these achievements.”

Details of the new programming, along with the Carnegie Hall series, and spring and summer 2018 performances by Orchestra of St. Luke’s, follow in this release. Performances with the acclaimed chorus MasterVoices, including a musical theater work by Kurt Weill, will be announced shortly.


At the heart of every OSL season are the intimate concerts that reflect the Orchestra’s origins as a group of virtuosic chamber musicians and highlight the strength of the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble. Taking place at multiple venues, OSL’s 2018–2019 Chamber Music Season draws connections with other art forms and contextualizes intriguing musical rarities with celebrated masterpieces.

The series opens with music of the Italian Baroque, programmed to complement two exhibitions at the Morgan Library & Museum. These are Pontormo: Miraculous Encounters, featuring the artist’s magnificent Visitation altarpiece for the church of San Michele Arcangelo in Carmignano, Italy, a masterpiece of Florentine Mannerist art displayed for the first time in the U.S. (September 7, 2018–January 6, 2019); andDrawing in Tintoretto's Venice (October 12, 2018–January 6, 2019). A performance will take place at the Morgan Library on December 5. The opening performance is on December 4 at Merkin Concert Hall, and a third concert will take place at Brooklyn Museum on December 9.

The winter 2019 Chamber Music Series program pairs a late work of Mozart, his Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K. 581, with the rarely-heard Grande sestetto concertante, an anonymous 1808 string sextet setting of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola and orchestra, K. 364. Performances take place on February 5, at Merkin Concert Hall, February 6 at the Morgan Library & Museum, and February 10 at the Brooklyn Museum. The spring program, Mendelssohn the Prodigy, Sunday, April 28 at the Brooklyn Museum, April 30 at Merkin Concert Hall, and May 1 at The Morgan Library, showcases the composer’s youthful genius with his Violin Concerto in D Minor, and Octet for Strings, Op. 20, composed when he was 13 and 16 respectively.


Bernard Labadie has chosen Haydn as the theme for his inaugural season as Principal Conductor, showcasing the Orchestra’s strong affinity for this composer. Curated with an eye to interesting musical juxtapositions, the series will offer a variety of perspectives on Haydn’s music and influence. The opening concert on October 25 features La Chapelle de Québec, the choir founded and directed by Maestro Labadie, in its first appearance with OSL. The program pairs Haydn’s Mass in D Minor, Hob. XXII: 11, “Nelson Mass,” in Haydn’s original orchestration with Mozart’s Requiem, K. 626, in the version completed by Robert Levin. Soloists include acclaimed American mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, German tenor Lothar Odinius, French-Canadian bass-baritone Philippe Sly, and American soprano Lauren Snouffer.

The second concert of the series, also conducted by Labadie, takes place on February 28. It features Haydn’s Symphony No. 45 in F-sharp Minor, “Farewell” in all its theatricality, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 19 with soloist Paul Lewis in his concerto debut in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium, and a Mozart concert aria taken from a revised scena and rondo from Idomeneo sung by rising soprano Ying Fang.

On April 18, OSL Conductor Laureate Pablo Heras-Casado takes the podium for a program highlighted by Ravel’s exuberant Piano Concerto in G Major performed by Hélène Grimaud. The program also pairs Haydn’s Symphony No. 103 in E-flat Major, “Drumroll” with Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1 which the composer himself designated “Classical” and for which he cites Haydn as his inspiration.

In addition to the subscription series, on October 5, OSL performs with Jonas Kaufman when the acclaimed tenor makes a much-anticipated return to Carnegie Hall with a recital featuring operetta and popular songs celebrating the great Austrian tenor Richard Tauber. Jochen Rieder will conduct.


On October 18, St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble joins the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys for a program showcasing the Church’s new organ, featuring two great works of the organ repertoire: Poulenc’s Concerto en Sol mineur, and Barber’s Toccata Festiva, The program also continues OSL’s celebration of the Leonard Bernstein centenary with a performance of the composer’s Chichester Psalms. Works by Parry and Janáček round out the program.


OSL continues to engage audiences beyond the concert hall with its acclaimed programs, bringing more than 20 free concerts to New York City’s five boroughs, through its Community Concert series, School Programs, and the Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s. The DiMenna Center for Classical Music also welcomes hundreds of young people, neighbors on Manhattan’s West Side, and music lovers to various events throughout the year. In its more than 40-year history, Orchestra of St. Luke’s has reached more than 1.2 million students and given more than 1,000 performances, and continues its commitment to connecting young people to the joy of classical music.


Launched three years ago as an extension of OSL’s Free Community Concerts and Free School Concerts, Music in Color presents an annual focus on a composer of color through orchestral and chamber music, and features performances across all five boroughs of New York City. Next season, the series celebrates California-born composer Gabriela Lena Frank, whose multicultural roots, in particular her Latina heritage, have been a major influence and source of inspiration for her work. In addition to works by Frank and composers who inform her music, the series will present five new works by emerging composers from Frank’s innovative training program in Northern California. Each performance will be accompanied with narration by writer-performer-educator Kirya Traber. Presented free of charge, concerts open to the general public, as well as specially adapted programs for school audiences, will take place in Spring 2019.


For its fall 2018 School presentation, OSL collaborates with New York City Ballet Principal Dancer, Daniel Ulbricht, dancers from New York City Ballet, and children from Manhattan Youth Ballet on a program that is part of the international celebration of the Jerome Robbins Centennial. The centennial commemoration of the legendary ballet and Broadway choreographer, launched in fall 2017 and continuing through 2018, will include dozens of performances, discussions, film showings, exhibitions, and other events. Fifty cultural institutions across the globe are participating, including BAM, the 92nd Street Y, Vienna State Ballet, and Rome Opera. The free OSL program will be presented to approximately 5,000 students from more than 30 public schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Additional details on the centennial are available here.


A specially designed program will introduce schoolchildren to the music and life of composer Gabriela Lena Frank. Among the featured works is Two Peruvian Dances, which Frank wrote specifically for young musicians. Concerts will be performed by members of OSL, with the participation of the Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s.  Gabriela Lena Frank will be the pianist for her work Cuentos Errante, a collection of four folk songs. Concerts will take place in March 2019, and actress and playwright Kirya Traber will be the narrator.


Celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2018, Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s (YOSL) is an after-school orchestra program, developed and carried out in partnership with the Police Athletic League (PAL) and local schools. Created as a program to promote ensemble playing as an agent for social change, such as Venezuela's El Sistema, YOSL aims to provide children with an opportunity to excel musically, build lasting relationships, and learn essential life skills. Students receive daily musical instruction with OSL musicians and teaching artists at PAL’s Duncan Center, and have many opportunities to perform throughout the year. YOSL also offers in– and after–school string instruction at three local elementary schools in its Clinton-Hudson Yards neighborhood.


The 20,000+ square foot DiMenna Center for Classical Music has taken on an increasingly important role in the musical life of New York City. Located at 450 West 37th Street, The DiMenna Center is acoustically optimized for classical music rehearsal and recording. It continues to be an invaluable resource during the 2018–2019 season offering local and touring musicians access to affordable, state-of-the-art facilities.  Now the OSL’s permanent home, the Center also hosts free OSL community and education events throughout the season. It will fully reopen by fall 2018 at a date to be announced, following extensive repairs due to damage from a burst frozen water pipe in January 2018.




The Facets of Brahms series this June features St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble performing three programs curated to highlight different perspectives of the musical life of the Romantic-era master. The series includes Seasons of Brahms, June 5, 6 and 10; Brahms & The Schumanns, with pianist Pedja Muzijevic, June 12, 13 and 17; and Brahms & the Search for a Symphony, June 19, 20 and 24. Discussions led by noted scholars, and musicians will take place prior to each Brahms program.


This June and July, the 39th year of Orchestra of St. Luke’s summer residency at Caramoor will again give the Orchestra pride of place in the season opening and closing concerts, along with a mid-season performance. Founded in 1945, the beloved summer concert series brings thousands of music lovers to its bucolic Westchester setting to hear world-renowned artists and ensembles. To kick off the season on June 16, OSL is joined by award-winning singer-actress Audra McDonald for a program of Broadway standards and more-recent works, led by music director Andy Einhorn. On June 30,making his OSL and Caramoor debut, Ludovic Morlot leads a program of works by Tchaikovsky and Smetana, and the New York premiere of Matthew Aucoin’sEvidence.  And closing out the 2018 Caramoor season on July 29, Bernard Labadie conducts a program of works by Mozart and Handel, featuring mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, one of today’s leading interpreters of this repertoire. Mozart’s Symphony No. 36 in C, “Linz” highlights the program.


St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble will make its debut on the Tippet Rise Art Center’s Summer Concert series with three concerts this July. The 10,260-acre working ranch at the foot of Montana’s Beartooth Mountains launched its summer series two years ago and has quickly attracted some of the world’s leading artists and ensembles. On July 14, at 11 AM, members of St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble will perform works by Bach and Beethoven, and at 6:30 PM, they’ll be joined by pianist Pedja Muzijevic for works of Brahms and Schumann that are featured in the Facets of Brahms series. On July 15, the artists will perform a family concert.


In summer 2018, Orchestra of St. Luke’s joins a distinguished roster of ensembles performing in the annual Naumburg Orchestral Concert Series. The free, outdoor concerts began in 1905 and today the concert series is the oldest of its kind in the United States. The concerts have been held in the bucolic setting of Central Park since the Naumburg Bandshell opened in 1923.  For the July 31concert, OSL will perform an all-Vivaldi program highlighted by the much-loved Four Seasons. The soloists are Sherezade Panthaki, soprano, and Krista Bennion Feeney, violin.WQXR’s Terrance McKnight is the evening’s host.