Kent Tritle, Director of Choral Activities at Manhattan School of Music, 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 in his third season as Director of Cathedral Music and Organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City; his seventh season as Music Director of Musica Sacra, the longest continuously performing professional chorus in New York; and his ninth season as Music Director of the Oratorio Society of New York, the acclaimed 200-voice volunteer chorus.
In addition, Kent Tritle is host of the weekly radio show “The Choral Mix with Kent Tritle” on New York’s Classical 105.9 WQXR. An acclaimed organ virtuoso, he is also the organist of the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra. He has been a member of the graduate faculty of the Juilliard School since 1996.
Highlights of Kent Tritle’s 2013–14 season include leading three of J. S. Bach’s choral masterworks: St. John Passion at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine; St. Matthew Passion with the Oratorio Society of New York; and Mass in B Minor at Manhattan School of Music. This season he has also 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 five performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the New York Philharmonic led by Alan Gilbert; Musica Sacra for the New York Philharmonic’s presentation of 2001: A Space Odyssey with a live score performance, also led by Alan Gilbert; and the Oratorio Society of New York for Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s led by Sir Roger Norrington.
In 2012–13, Kent Tritle led performances of Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Vaughan Williams’s Mass in G Minor, and Fauré’s Requiem on the “Great Music in a Great Space” series at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine; Britten’s War Requiem, and the New York premiere of Moravec’s Blizzard Voices with the Oratorio Society of New York; performances with Musica Sacra of Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, and Magnificat settings from Monteverdi and Arvo Pärt; and concerts with the choral forces of Manhattan School of Music, including performances of Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610. In addition, Kent was the chorus director of the Carnegie Hall National High School Choral Festival. For the past three years, he has also led the “Mass Appeal Mass” of the “Make Music New York” festival, including the 2012 premiere of a work by Philip Glass in Times Square.
Kent Tritle recently established Manhattan School of Music’s first doctoral program in choral conducting. Renowned as a master clinician, he also gives workshops on conducting and repertoire; in July 2011 he was a featured conductor at the Berkshire Choral Festival. At Juilliard, he currently directs a graduate practicum on oratorio in collaboration with the school’s Vocal Arts Department and teaches choral conducting.
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, earning praise for building the series into one of the highlights of the New York concert scene. From 1996 to 2004, he was Music Director of the Emmy-nominated Dessoff Choirs, winners of the ASCAP/Chorus America award for adventurous programming of contemporary music.
Kent Tritle has prepared choruses for conductors Alan Gilbert, Philippe Entremont, Christoph von Dohnányi, Leonard Slatkin, Michael Tilson Thomas, Robert Spano, Gerard Schwarz, Vladimir Spivakov, Nicholas McGegan, Leon Botstein, and Dennis Russell Davies. Among the soloists with whom he has collaborated are singers Renée Fleming, Jessye Norman, Hei-Kyung Hong, Marilyn Horne, Susanne Mentzer, Susan Graham, and Sherrill Milnes; cellist Yo-Yo Ma; pianist André Previn; and actor Tony Randall.
As an organ recitalist, Kent Tritle performs regularly in Europe and across the United States. With the Philharmonic he has performed Saint-Saëns’s Organ Symphony conducted by Andrew Davis, 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 holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from the Juilliard School in organ performance and choral conducting.