Concerts at St. Luke's


Concerts at St. Luke's

Choir of St. Luke in the Fields

2020-21 St. Luke’s Concert Series

Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 8 PM  - a virtual CONCERT

A Sixteenth Century Roman Christmas

 Featuring the Missa Hodie Christus natus est by G.P. da Palestrina, the program will include motets for the Christmas season by Palestrina, Victoria, Peter Philips and Josquin Desprez   
Choir of St. Luke in the Fields
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Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 8 PM  - a virtual CONCERT

Secret Service: Clandestine Catholic Music by William Byrd

 Fra Angelica All SaintsIn the turbulent religious climate of Elizabethan England, William Byrd was forced into isolation in the Essex countryside because of his religion. The 1559 Act of Uniformity prohibited the celebration of Catholic liturgy in England. In spite of this, Byrd composed – and published – a large corpus of music for the Catholic rite, for services that had to be celebrated clandestinely, in the private chapels and homes of sympathetic noblemen.
The program will include Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices, motets for the joyous Feast of All Saints, and a selection of works coded to refer to Jesuit martyrs and divine intervention in a time of persecution.
Choir of St. Luke in the Fields

Click to read program.
Click here to listen to the concert.

 Thursday, MARCH 25, 2021 at 8 PM  - a virtual CONCERT

In the Shadow of the Cross: The Sorrowful Mysteries

H.I.F. Biber Rosary Sonatas
and  Lamentations of Jeremiah by Tomás Luis de Victoria

Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1664-1704), a preeminent violin virtuoso of the 17th-century and Kapellmeister at Salzburg, left a body of extraordinary works for the violin. Preceding J.S. Bach by a generation, Biber’s writing is striking in its complexity and virtuosic demands, stretching the limits of the instrument. His Rosary Sonatas (also called Mystery Sonatas) are especially notable not only for the virtuosic writing, but each sonata also requires a re-tuning of the instrument, called scordatura, providing each with a distinctive character and sonority. In this program, St. Luke's resident baroque violinist Leah Gale Nelson will present three of these "Mystery Sonatas", representing three of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary: The Agony in the Garden, The Carrying of the Cross, and The Crucifixion.
Tomás Luis de Victoria’s settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah contain some of his most intense, mystical and moving music and rank alongside the Requiem as one of his greatest achievements. The program will include his Lamentations for Maundy Thursday along with Tenebrae responsories paired with the Mystery Sonatas.

Leah Gale Nelson, violin in scordatura
Daniel Swenberg,
Dongsok Shin,
chamber organ
Choir of St. Luke in the Fields

Click to read program.
Click here to listen to the concert.

 Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 8 PM  - a virtual CONCERT

Battle Mass!

The Spanish Renaissance master Tomás Luis de Victoria is best known today for his Requiem and Lamentations of Jeremiah, profound and introspective works. Victoria’s Missa Pro Victoria, richly scored for nine voices, is modeled on Clément Janequin's famous battle chanson “La Guerre.” Philip III liked this ebullient nine-voice Mass founded on a secular model more than any of Victoria's other works, and it is in spirit the polar opposite of his Lamentations, featured on our last concert.
Liturgically, “battle masses” were heard in church on festivals where images of combat abound, such as Easter and St. Michael and All Angels. The program will also include motets by Victoria for the Easter season.

Choir of St. Luke in the Fields
Click to read program.
Click here to listen to the concert.

 Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 8 PM  - a virtual CONCERT

Music from the Convent:
Works by Chiara Margarita Cozzolani

Over the last thirty years, performances and scholarship have given us some idea of the remarkable musical world of cloistered nuns in early modern Italy. Chiara Margarita Cozzolani (1602-1677) was a Benedictine nun who lived her life at the convent of Santa Radegonda, near the Duomo in Milan. Despite the era’s many restrictions on women, she published four remarkable collections of sacred vocal music. The imagination and technical virtuosity of the two surviving collections rival that of her male peers, including Monteverdi, Carissimi and Cavalli. Her music displays passionate intensity and experimental impulses. 

The program will include her Messe á 4, selections from her Vespers music for eight voices, motets and dialogues.
Choir of St. Luke in the Fields
Click to read program.


Missa Reges terrae: II. Gloria

Praise for the Choir of St. Luke in the Fields' recording of Pierre de Manchicourt "Missa Reges terrae":

"The performances are bracing, pinpoint realizations of the music, hauntingly beautiful and glowingly soundstaged."
- Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

"Conductor and choristers perform with conviction, letting Manchicourt’s heavenly music sing for itself."
- Early Music Review


David Shuler, Director of Music  
   Phone: 212.633.2167  Email:
Elissa Weiss, Concert Series Assistant  
   Phone: 212.414.7440  Email:



2019-20 St. Luke’s Concert Series

5 Thursday nights at 8 PM -- pre-concert lectures at 7 PM 

Tickets:   $35 general admission; $25 students/seniors
Season subscription: $145
Tickets will be mailed after Labor Day.

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First Concert of the New Season

Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 8 PM

The Church of the Ascension - 5th Ave & W 10th St

William Byrd - The Great Service

Queen Elizabeth William Byrd’s monumental Great Service is often described as the “crown jewel” of Anglican sacred music. It is one of his most magnificent creations, awesome in scale and hugely demanding, with intricate and complex ten-part polyphony and inexhaustible variety. The Great Service consists of the canticles that were sung during the services of Matins and Evensong, as found in the Thomas Cranmer’s newly created 1449 Book of Common Prayer, along with the Creed for Holy Communion. The program will also include psalms, anthems and organ works by Byrd.
Choir of St. Luke in the Fields
Lecturer:  Dr. Lynette Bowring

Thursday, December 5, 2019 at 8 PM  

A French Baroque Christmas: Music of Marc-Antoine Charpentier

The French noël represents a tradition of popular Christmas celebration and rich source of melodies that became a preoccupation of French composers.  The concert will feature Charpentier’s delightful Messe de Minuit (‘Midnight Mass’), written perhaps for Christmas 1694, based on ten of these popular carol melodies. The program will include Charpentier’s oratorio In Nativitatem Domini, H.414, and the O Antiphons.
Choir of St. Luke in the Fields
with Baroque in the Fields, an orchestra of period instruments
Lecturer:  Albert Bellefeuille

Thursday, February 6, 2020 at 8 PM

Music from the Court of Charles V

Charles VThe remarkable Hapsburg dynasty, which at its peak ruled much of Europe and established the first truly global empire, is the inspiration for this program of music that would have been sung by the famed Capilla Flamenca during the reign of Charles V, in the first half of the 16th century.  The concert will feature the sublime Missa Caro mea by Clemens non Papa, based on a motet by Pierre de Manchicourt, and motets by Manchicourt, Gombert, Crequillon and Clemens non Papa. 
Choir of St. Luke in the Fields
Lecturer:  Dr. Raymond Erickson

Thursday, March 12, 2020 at 8 PM 

Johann Sebastian Bach's Motets

J S Bach

Bach’s motets are some of the greatest – and most virtuosic – of all Bach’s choral works. In particular, the large double choir works Singet dem Herrn and Der Geist Hilf represent Bach at his exuberant best.  These motets contain some of Bach’s most profound and intense music. As with virtually every other genre that he composed in, Bach brought motet composition to its pinnacle.
Choir of St. Luke in the Fields
with organ and cello
No lecture 


Thursday, May 7, 2020 at 8pm

Pergolesi Rediscovered

This concert will shed a new light on the great Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, offering two masterpieces, lost for almost 300 years, in their first modern editions.  These new editions of the Mass in D major and the motet Dignas Laudes  are the outcome of recent musicological research carried out by the Centro Studi Pergolesi in Milan, and show a facet of Pergolesi – his energetic and solemn character – that complements and amplifies the dramatic and introspective moods of his most renowned sacred works.
Choir of St. Luke in the Fields
with Baroque in the Fields, an ensemble of period instruments
Lecturer: Dr. Sarah Davies

These programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

DCA logoThese program are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.