Since Bach Vespers is in the format of an evening prayer service, neither tickets nor reservations are required. Bach Vespers is free and open to the public. Whether you identify as faith-filled or not so sure, Lutheran or Luther-who? you are welcome to participate in the singing, prayer, and ritual only to the extent you feel comfortable doing so. Welcome. There will always be a place for you here.
In 1968, as Holy Trinity Lutheran Church marked its 100th birthday, it set out to celebrate its history and the rich tradition of music in the Lutheran Church. Drawing from the high level of music performance in the City of New York, “Evenings with Johann S” was established, based on the ancient Christian service of Vespers. It was the first music series in the Western Hemisphere to present the cantatas of the great Lutheran composer Johann Sebastian Bach within a liturgical context.
53 years, hundreds of performances and two Grammy nominations later, Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity continues to present Bach’s cantatas and other great Baroque and early music masterworks every Sunday evening from October to May.
Fire captivates and mesmerizes. Fire illuminates and contradicts, symbolizing beauty and volatility, destruction and rebirth. Fire can entice us to take risks and cross traditional boundaries. The 55th season of Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity not only features a program of bold choral works by Johann Sebastian Bach that each possess a fiery brilliance, but the words and music this season depict people and events where the act of playing with fire resulted in dramatic disruption, transformation, and change. In addition to five, fiery chorale cantatas based on familiar Lutheran hymns, this season features large-scale narrative works including the Magnificat in D Major, the St. John Passion performed in two parts (on the Sunday of the Passion followed by Good Friday), and the Easter Oratorio. In keeping with the Leipzig tradition not to perform cantatas during the season of Lent, we will be joined in March 2023 by eminent organist, improviser, and church musician Bruce Neswick who will lead us in singing Baroque chorales in the style of Bach’s congregations and perform works based on Bach's favorite Lenten chorales. The words and music of Johann Sebastian Bach have burned brightly at Holy Trinity for more than five decades. Join us as we, too, play with fire: engaging early music and a historic faith in new and compelling ways.