Press Release

October 02, 2017

2017 White Light Festival Presents U.S. Premiere of The Psalms Experience

White Light Festival

Isabel Sinistore / Amanda Angel

212.671.4195 / 212.875.5863

[email protected] / [email protected]


2017 White Light Festival Presents U.S. Premiere of

The Psalms Experience


Series Comprises Choral Settings of All 150 Psalms

by 150 Composers Spanning 1,000 Years of Music Over 12 Concerts


Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Netherlands Chamber Choir, Tallis Scholars, and

Norwegian Soloists’ Choir Unite for Unprecedented Choral Music Event


November 1–11, 2017


New York, NY (October 2, 2017) — This fall, Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival will present the U.S. premiere of The Psalms Experience, an unprecedented choral project featuring four world-renowned choirs traversing 1,000 years of music over the course of 12 thematic concerts. Staged in four illuminated spaces across New York City November 1–11, the project will present all 150 psalms set to music by 150 composers, from Bach and Handel to living composers from around the globe, including new commissions by Caroline Shaw, Nico Muhly, and David Lang, among others. 


For nearly 3,000 years, humans have reached out to the divine through the Psalms, the Hebrew Bible’s book of hymns revealing the gratitude, fear, and longing of the human heart. For nearly as long, these texts have inspired musicians and artists to explore the profoundly personal, yet universal, themes within the texts.


The Psalms Experience brings together the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, the Netherlands Chamber Choir, the Tallis Scholars, and the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir to survey centuries of primarily a cappella works in languages from Aramaic to Armenian to German, across repertoire that speaks to the traditions of each choir. Performances will take place at St. Paul’s Chapel at Trinity Wall Street, the New York Society for Ethical Culture, James Memorial Chapel at Union Theological Seminary, and Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.


"There are no more universal expressions of hope, doubt, longing, fear, vengeance, and grace than the Psalms. The only book in the Bible where humans address God directly, this poetry has spoken to those across world cultures and spiritual traditions for thousands of years," said Jane Moss, Lincoln Center's Ehrenkranz Artistic Director. "In these challenging times, this project looks to these ancient texts and the glorious choral music they've inspired to celebrate their unifying force and ask what they can teach us today as individuals and as a community."


Each performance places select compositions within a thematic framework: Mortal Leadership, Divine Guidance; Faith; Justice; Powerlessness and Redemption; State of Humankind; Gratitude; Abandonment; Lamentation; Security and Trust; Pilgrimage of Life; Celebration of Life; and Consequences of Power. Concert introductions, a free panel discussion that kicks off the series, and an online gallery juxtaposing the Psalms with powerful contemporary photos from The New York Times’ archive will further examine the history, spirituality, and contemporary relevance of the Psalms.


The eighth annual White Light Festival runs from October 18 through November 15. With more than 35 events presented in 13 venues throughout the city, the international festival will explore transcendence, interior illumination, and faith in the human spirit, as exhibited through artistic expression across continents and centuries.


Tickets for all concerts in The Psalms Experience start at $25 and are available online at, by calling CenterCharge at 212.721.6500, or at the David Geffen or Alice Tully Hall Box Office (Broadway and 65th Street). 



The Psalms Experience was conceived by Tido Visser, artistic director of the Netherlands Chamber Choir, who observed the extraordinary breadth of choral repertoire based on the Psalms. He was aided by theologian Gerard Swüste, of Amsterdam, who divided the 150 psalms into 12 central themes. Each theme provides a focal point for one concert, with the psalms arranged to provide a narrative structure. Meanwhile, musicologist and composer Leo Samama researched the extensive repertoire of choral settings to select settings for all 150 psalms. Additional commissions from world-renowned composers added to the literature.



Nine living composers have been commission to write new settings of psalms, adding to the rich collection of psalms literature already in the choral repertoire. The Psalms Experience will present a world premiere by Caroline Shaw and the U.S. premieres of works by Michel van der Aa, Mohammed Fairouz, William Knight, David Lang, Zad Moultaka, Nico Muhly, Evelin Seppar and Isidora Žebeljan. (See biographies below).



Wednesday, November 1–Saturday, November 11



David Rubenstein Atrium (Broadway between 62nd and 63rd Streets)

Wednesday, November 1 at 6:00 pm

John Schaefer, moderator


Join WNYC’s John Schaefer and special guests for a free panel discussion that explores the history of the Psalms, their many musical traditions, the challenges of translation, and their contemporary relevance in a more secular world. Panelists include scholar and Psalms translator Robert Alter, musicologist Neil W. Levin, and David Van Biema, TIME magazine’s former chief religion writer.



St. Paul’s Chapel (209 Broadway between Fulton and Vesey Streets)

Thursday, November 2 at 7:30 pm


Choir of Trinity Wall Street

Julian Wachner, conductor

Introduction by Rev. Phillip A. Jackson, Vicar, Trinity Wall Street


A White Light Lounge follows the performance.


The opening concert of The Psalms Experience examines the delicate interplay of love and fear that has long defined our leaders—both mortal and divine.


            THOMAS ARNE: O Praise the LORD (Psalm 2)

            FRANCISCO VALLS: Dilexisti justitiam (1742) (Psalm 45)

            WILLIAM KNIGHT (UK): New work (commission, world premiere) (Psalm 21)

            GIACHES DE WERT: Reges tharsis et insulae (Psalm 72)

            FELIX DRAESEKE: Der Herr ist König, Op. 56 (Psalm 93)

            WILLIAM BYRD: Dominem secundum multitudinem (Psalm 94)

            MICHAEL PRAETORIUS: Venite exultimus Domino (Psalm95)

            JAMES MacMILLAN: A New Song (Psalm 96)

            JOHANN HEINRICH ROLLE: Der Herr ist König (Psalm 97)

            DAMIANO SCARABELLI: Jubilate Deo (Psalm 98)

            WILLIAM BOYCE: The Lord is King, be the people never so impatient (Psalm 99)

            ROBERT WHITE: Exaudiat te Dominus (Psalm 20)



St. Paul’s Chapel (209 Broadway between Fulton and Vesey Streets)

Saturday, November 4 at 5:00 pm


Choir of Trinity Wall Street

Julian Wachner, conductor

Introduction by Rev. Phillip A. Jackson, Vicar, Trinity Wall Street


Explore the mysteries of faith through this collection of psalms set to music by Rachmaninoff, Charpentier, Pachelbel, and others.


           GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN: Ein feste Burg ist uns’re Gott (Psalm 46)

           EDWARD ELGAR: Great is the Lord (Psalm 48)

           NICOLA LeFANU: The Little Valleys (Psalm 65)

           GIOVANNI GABRIELI: Plaudite, psallite, jubilate, omnes terra (Psalm 66)

           ALLESANDRO GRANDI: Deus misereatur nostri (Psalm 67)

           PLAINCHANT:  Psalm 76

           SEVERUS GASTORIUS: En vänlig grønskas rika dräckt (Psalm 8)

           THOMAS TOMKINS: The Heavens declare (Psalm 19)

           JEWISH PRAYER: Kol Adonai (Psalm 29)

           SERGEI RACHMANINOFF: Blagoslovi duche Moye,Op. 37, No. 2 (Psalm 104)

           GIOVANNI BERNARDINO NANINO: Laudate pueri (Psalm113)

           MARC-ANTOINE CHARPENTIER: Confitebor tibi, Domine (Psalm 111)

           JOHANN PACHELBEL: Jauchzet dem Herrn alle Welt (Psalm 100)



St. Paul’s Chapel (209 Broadway between Fulton and Vesey Streets)

Saturday, November 4 at 7:30 pm


Choir of Trinity Wall Street

Julian Wachner, conductor

Introduction by Rev. Phillip A. Jackson, Vicar, Trinity Wall Street


A White Light Lounge follows the performance.


The Psalms express an ancient quest for justice and have inspired composers from the 12th century to 21st. Here, the Choir of Trinity Wall Street performs settings from medieval plainchant to Bruckner to a premiere by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lang.


            WILLIAM BILLINGS: The Bird (Psalm 11)

            IMPROVISATION:  Psalm 12

            ANTON BRUCKNER: Os justi meditabitur (Psalm 37)

            PASCHAL de l’ESTOCART: Peuple oyez et l’aureilles pretez (Psalm 49)

            THOMAS CREQUILLON: Quid gloriaris in malitia (Psalm 52)        

?            GOTTFRIED AUGUST HOMILIUS: Dennoch bleib ich stets an dir (Psalm 73)

            NICOLAS GOMBERT: Confitebimur tibi, Deus (Psalm 75)

            PLAINCHANT: Beatus vir qui timet Dominum  (Psalm 112)

?            NED ROREM: Mercy and Truth Are Met (Psalm 85)         

?            DAVID LANG (USA): if I sing (commission, U.S. premiere) (Psalm 101)

?            MICHEL-RICHARD de LALANDE: Benedictus Dominus Deus meus (Psalm 144)



St. Paul’s Chapel (209 Broadway between Fulton and Vesey Streets)

Sunday, November 5 at 5:00 pm


Choir of Trinity Wall Street

Julian Wachner, conductor

Introduction by Rev. Phillip A. Jackson, Vicar, Trinity Wall Street


A White Light Lounge follows the performance.


Humanity has long wrestled with our seeming powerlessness, especially when it comes to changing the past. From this arises a common desire for redemption. Explore these themes through works by composers from Josquin des Prez and Rameau to Britten and Ives.


            JOHANNES OCKEGHEM: Sicut cervus, from the Missa pro defunctis: Tractus (Psalm 42)

            JOHN EVERETT (ed. East): I’ll trust God’s word (Psalm 56)

?            ROBERT PARSONS: Deliver me from mine enemies (Psalm 59)

?            CHARLES IVES: Save me O God (Psalm 54)

?            FRANÇOIS REGNARD: Domine exaudi orationem meam, cum deprecor (Psalm 64)

            JEAN PHILIPPE RAMEAU: Laboravi clamans (Psalm 69)

            BENJAMIN BRITTEN: Deus in adjutorium meum (Psalm 70)

            SIGISMONDO d’INDIA: Timor et tremor (Psalm 55)

            CHRISTOPH BUEL: Domine Deus, salutis meae (Psalm 88)

            ORLANDE DE LASSUS: Custodi me, Domine (Psalm 140)

            SVEN-DAVID SANDSTRÖM: Hear my prayer, O Lord (Psalm 102)

            WILLIAM KNYVETT: O God, my heart is fixed (Psalm 108)

            JOSQUIN des PREZ: Domine, ne in furore (Psalm 38)



New York Society for Ethical Culture (2 West 64th Street at Central Park West)

Thursday, November 9 at 6:30 pm


Netherlands Chamber Choir

Peter Dijkstra, conductor

Introduction by Rev. Winnie Varghese, Director of Justice and Reconciliation, Trinity Wall Street


Throughout the history of Western music, sublime artists have used the Psalms as a starting point for pondering our place in the universe. In this concert, composers including Tallis, Bach, Purcell, Monteverdi, and Michel van der Aa sound out the Psalms’ existential yearnings.


           J.S. BACH: Lobet den Herren alle Heiden (Psalm 117)

           MOHAMMED FAIROUZ (USA / UAE): Diversions (commission, U.S. premiere) (Psalm 14)

           HANS LEO HASSLER: Beatus vir qui non abiit, from Cantiones sacrae 1591 (Psalm 1)

           THOMAS TALLIS: Dominus quis habitabit (Psalm 15)

           HEINRICH SCHÜTZ: Wohl dene, die ohne Wandel leben (Psalm 119)

           LUDOVICO DA VIADANA: Exsultate justi (Psalm 33)

           RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: O praise the Lord (Psalm 148)

           SAMUEL WESLEY: In exitu Israel (Psalm 114)

           MICHEL VAN DER AA (The Netherlands): Shelter (commission, U.S. premiere) (Psalm 5)

           BO HANSSON: Du har varit vår tillflykt från släkte till släkte (Psalm 90)

           CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI: Lauda Jerusalem (Psalm 147)



New York Society for Ethical Culture (2 West 64th Street at Central Park West)

Thursday, November 9 at 8:30 pm


Tallis Scholars

Peter Phillips, conductor

Introduction by Rev. Winnie Varghese, Director of Justice and Reconciliation, Trinity Wall Street

The many expressions of psalmic gratitude are highlighted in this praiseworthy concert, including works by Haydn, Schubert, and a premiere by Nico Muhly.


           CLAUDIO MERULO: In tribulatione mea (Psalm 18)

           TOMÁS LUIS DE VICTORIA: Credidi propter quod (Psalm 116)

           JOSEPH HAYDN: Maker of all! Be thou my guard (Psalm 41)

           ORLANDO GIBBONS: Sing unto the Lord (Psalm 30)
           PHILIPPE DE MONTE: Donnez au Seigneur gloire (Psalm107)

           MOGENS PEDERSON: Min Siel nu loffue herren (Psalm 103)

           SAMUEL SEBASTIAN WESLEY: Blest is the man (Psalm 32)

           JEAN MOUTON: Benedicam Dominum in omni tempore (Psalm 34)

           FRANCISCO GUERRERO: In conspectu Angelorum (Psalm 138)

           SALAMONE ROSSI: Odesha ki anitani (Psalm 118)

           FRANZ SCHUBERT: Tov lehodos, D. 953 (Psalm 92)

           NICO MUHLY (USA):  Marrow (commission, U.S. premiere) (Psalm 63) 

           PIERRE DE LA RUE: Lauda anima mea Dominum (Psalm 146)



New York Society for Ethical Culture (2 West 64th Street at Central Park West)

Friday, November 10 at 6:30 pm


Norwegian Soloists’ Choir 

Grete Pedersen, conductor

Introduction by Rev. Winnie Varghese, Director of Justice and Reconciliation, Trinity Wall Street


Across continents and millennia, humans have cried out in despair, feeling abandoned by their creator. Psalms from proverbial wilderness are heard here in Armenian, Russian, Latin, and German translation, as well as a new commission in Aramaic by Lebanese composer Zad Moultaka.



                        (Psalm 44)

            ZAD MOULTAKA (Lebanon): Sakata (commission, U.S. premiere) (Psalm 60)

?            JOHN BLOW: O God, wherefore art thou absent (Psalm 74)          

?            JACHET DE MANTUA: In die tribulationes (Psalm 77)

?            TRADITIONAL GAELIC: Gaelic Chant from the Isle of Lewis (Psalm 79)

            KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI: Song of Cherubim (Psalm 80)

?            TRADITONAL ARMENIAN: Trad. Armenian Orthodox Chant (Psalm 83)

?            OLIVER BROWNSON (arr. Grete Pedersen): Think, mighty God (Psalm 89)

            PER NØRGÅRD: Ad te Domine Clamabo, from Four Latin Motets, No. 3 (Psalm 28)

            OTTO OLSSON: Ad Dominumcum tribularer clamavi (Psalm 120)

            LUCA MARENZIO: Super flumina Babylonis (Psalm 137)

            JOHANN SCHEIN: Der Herr denket an uns / TRADITIONAL (arr. Grete Pedersen):

                         Ned i vester soli glader (Psalm 115)




New York Society for Ethical Culture (2 West 64th Street at Central Park West)

Friday, November 10 at 8:30 pm


Netherlands Chamber Choir

Peter Dijkstra, conductor

Introduction by Rev. Winnie Varghese, Director of Justice and Reconciliation, Trinity Wall Street


Psalms of mourning need no translation, whether composed during the Dutch Renaissance, Mendelssohn’s Germany, or 20th-century America. The Netherlands Chamber Choir gives voice to human suffering through multilingual expressions of lamentation and the balm of miraculous music.


            FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY: Mein Gott, warum hast Du mich verlassen, Op. 79, No. 3   

                     (Psalm 22)

?            PHLIBERT JAMBE DE FER: A toi, mon dieu, mon cœur monte (Psalm 25)

?            ADRIAEN WILLAERT: Domine quid multiplicati sunt (Psalm 3)

?            JEAN BERGER: The eyes of all wait upon Thee (Psalm 145)

?            ISAAC ALBÉNIZ: Domine in furore tuo (Psalm 6)

?            OTTO NICOLAI: Herr auf Dich traue ich (Psalm 31)

?            CIPRIANO DE RORE: Usquequo, Domine (Psalm 13)

?            CLAUDIN DE SERMISY: Dont vient cela Seigneur (Psalm 10)

?            CONSTANTIJN HUYGENS: Dilataverunt super me (Psalm 35)

?            COSTANZO PORTA: Voce mea ad Dominum clamavi (Psalm 142)

?            ALBERT BECKER: Die Toren sprechen in ihrem Herzen, Op. 83, No. 4 (Psalm 53)

?            HUBERT PARRY: Lord, let me know mine end, from Songs of Farewell, No. 6 (Psalm 39)




James Memorial Chapel, Union Theological Seminary (3041 Broadway at 121st Street)

Saturday, November 11 at 1:00 pm???


Tallis Scholars

Peter Phillips, conductor

Introduction by Esther J. Hamori, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible, Union Theological Seminary


Perhaps there is no more recognizable psalm text than “The Lord is my shepherd.” Danish composer Carl Nielsen gives this psalm new life, and a collection of early music explores trust in that which is greater than the self.


            TIBURTIO MASSAINO: Conserva me, Domine (Psalm 16)

            THOMAS RAVENSCROFT: O God, that art my righteousness (Psalm 4)

?            FERDINAND DI LASSO: Sperate in Domino (Psalm 62)

?            MELCHIOR FRANCK: Quantas ostendisti (Psalm 71)

?            HERBERT HOWELLS: One thing I have desired (Psalm 27)

?            MARCIN LEOPOLITA: Mihi autem (Psalm 139)

?            GIOVANNI CROCE: Miserere mei (Psalm 51)

            PAUL SCHOENFELD: Hateih hashem (Psalm 86)

            GESUALDO DA VENOSA: Exaudi, Deus, deprecationem meam (Psalm 61)

            ALEXANDER HOROLOGIUS: Miserere mei, Deus (Psalm 57)

            CASPAR OTHMAYR: Wer in dem Schutz des Höchsten ist (Psalm 91)

            CARL NIELSEN: Dominus regit me, from Three Motets, Op. 55, No. 2 (Psalm 23)



James Memorial Chapel, Union Theological Seminary (3041 Broadway at 121st Street)

Saturday, November 11 at 3:00 pm


Norwegian Soloists’ Choir

Grete Pedersen, conductor

Introduction by Esther J. Hamori, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible, Union Theological Seminary


Embark on a sojourn through the generations from the Spanish Renaissance to today, featuring works by Palestrina, Brahms, Arvo Pärt, and a premiere by Estonian composer Evelin Seppar.


            FARTEIN VALEN: Ice hebe meine Augen (Psalm 121)

?            ARVO PÄRT: Peace upon you, Jerusalem (Psalm 122)

?            GIOVANNI PIERLUIGI DA PALESTRINA: Ad te levavi oculus meos (Psalm 123)

?            SCOTTISH TUNE (arr. Peter Maxwell Davies): Psalm 124, from Three Organ Voluntaries  

?            HEINRICH ISAAC: Qui confidunt in Domino (Psalm 125)

?            JOHANNES BRAHMS: Selig sind die da Leid tragen, from Ein deutsches Requiem (Psalm 126)

            HEINRICH IGNAZ VON?BIBER: Nisi Dominus (Psalm127)

?            CRISTÓBAL DE MORALES: Beati omnes (Psalm 128)

?            EVELIN SEPPAR (Estonia): Psalm 129 (commission, U.S. premiere) 

?            INGVAR LIDHOLM: De profundis, from A Dreamplay (Psalm 130)

?            WILLIAM MUNDY: Domine, non est exaltatum (Psalm 131)

            GUILLAUME BOUZIGNAC: In pace, in idipsum. Si dedero somnum (Psalm 132)

?            JEAN RICHAFORT: Ecce quam bonum (Psalm 133)

?            KARIN REHNQUIST: När natten skänker frid (Psalm 134)



James Memorial Chapel, Union Theological Seminary (3041 Broadway at 121st Street)

Saturday, November 11 at 5:00 pm


Netherlands Chamber Choir

Peter Dijkstra, conductor

Introduction by Esther J. Hamori, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible, Union Theological Seminary


Even in times of trial, the Psalms provide joyful poems of celebration, such as these euphoric settings by Poulenc and Virgil Thomson, among others.


            ANDREAS HAMMERSCHMIDT: Machet die Tore weit (Psalm 24)

            CAROLINE SHAW: and the swallow (commission, World premiere) (Psalm 84)

            CHIARA MARIA COZZOLANI: Dixit dominus (Psalm 110)

            GEORGE KIRBYE: Praise ye the Lord, for he is good (Psalm 136)

            ADRIANO BANCHIERI: Omnes gentes plaudit (Psalm 47)

            THOMAS ATTWOOD WALMISLEY: O give thanks unto the Lord (Psalm 105)

            SAMUEL HOLYOKE: The Lord, the Sovereign, sends his summons forth (Psalm 50)

            VIC NEES: Fundamenta ejus (Psalm 87)

            HENRY PURCELL: O give thanks unto the Lord, Z 33 (Psalm 106)

            JAKOB HANDL (JACOBUS GALLUS): Laudate Dominum (Psalm 150)
?            RUGGIERO GIOVANNELLI: Cantate Domino (Psalm 149)

            JAN TOLLIUS: Sicut fluit cera (Psalm 68)

            ISIDORA ŽEBELJAN (Serbia): Psalm 78 (commission, U.S. premiere) 

            ALEXANDER GRECHANINOV: Praise the name of the Lord, Op. 34 (Psalm 135)

            FRANCIS POULENC: Exultate Deo (Psalm 81)



Alice Tully Hall

Saturday, November 11 at 8:30 pm


Tallis Scholars

Peter Phillips, conductor

with members of Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Netherlands Chamber Choir, and Norwegian Soloists’ Choir 

Introduction by John Schaefer


A White Light Lounge follows the performance


Woven throughout the Psalms are pleas to shift the earthly balance between those in power and the powerless. In this concluding concert, the Tallis Scholars explore settings by Handel, Gabrieli, and others. All the themes of The Psalms Experience then culminate in the Renaissance splendor of Thomas Tallis’s Spem in alium, in which members of all four choirs join forces to offer up an ecstatic expression of praise.


            PLAINCHANT: Psalm 58, according to the Church of Rome (Psalm 58)

?            SIGMUND HEMMEL: Deus stetit in synagoga (Psalm 82)

?            JAN PIETERSZOON SWEELINCK: Du malin le meschant voulouir (Psalm 36)

            CLAUDE LeJEUNE: Après avoir constamment attendu (Psalm 40)

            GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL: In the Lord I put my trust (Psalm 9)

?            SCOTTISH METRICAL PSALM: O Lord give ear to my just cause (Psalm 17)

            ANDREA GABRIELI: Domine Deus meus, in te speravi (Psalm 7)

?            ?GUGLIELMO ARNONI: Judica me Domine (Psalm 26)

?            ORAZIO VECCHI: Velociter exaudi me (Psalm 143)

?            GAVIN BRYARS: Lord, I cry upon thee (Psalm 141)

?            JAN VAN DIJK: Dieu de ma louange, ne te tais point (Psalm 109)

            SAMUEL SCHEIDT: Richte mich Gott, und führe (Psalm 43)

?            THOMAS TALLIS: Spem in Alium




Choir of Trinity Wall Street

The Grammy-nominated Choir of Trinity Wall Street, under the direction of Julian Wachner, can be heard both in New York City and around the world. The choir leads the liturgical music on Sundays at Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City, while performing at many other concerts and festivals throughout the year. Critically acclaimed annual performances of Handel’s Messiah are part of its long and storied tradition. The choir has toured extensively throughout the United States, and recent seasons have seen performances at Paris’s Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and London’s Barbican Centre.


Julian Wachner, Conductor

Music director Julian Wachner enjoys an international profile as conductor, composer, and keyboard artist. As director of music and the arts at New York’s historic Trinity Wall Street, Wachner oversees an annual season of hundreds of events, with duties including conducting Trinity’s flagship weekly series, Bach at One, canvassing the entire choral-orchestral output of J.S. Bach, and leading Compline by Candlelight, Trinity’s innovative variation on an ancient monastic ritual. Also at Trinity Wall Street, Wachner serves as the principal conductor of NOVUS NY (Trinity’s resident contemporary music orchestra), the Trinity Baroque Orchestra, and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street.


Netherlands Chamber Choir

The Netherlands Chamber Choir has been a world-class choir for more than 80 years. Since the very beginning the choir has been known for being adventurous and innovative, presenting commissions by both well-known composers and young talent, and it maintains a continuous search for new formats and exciting collaborations. The choir has been praised by critics within and outside the Netherlands. Since September 2015 Peter Dijkstra has been chief conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Choir; he was preceded by Uwe Gronostay, Tõnu Kaljuste, Stephen Layton, Risto Joost, and founder Felix de Nobel.


Peter Dijkstra, Conductor

Peter Dijkstra is one of today’s most sought-after choral conductors. Born in 1978, he studied choral conducting, orchestral conducting, and voice at the conservatories of The Hague, Köln, and Stockholm. From 2005 to 2016 Dijkstra was artistic director of the Bavarian Radio Choir in Munich. In 2007 he was appointed music director of the Swedish Radio Choir, a position he still holds. Since September 2015 Dijkstra has also been chief conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Choir, after serving as first guest conductor for several years. In the Netherlands, Dijkstra is artistic leader of vocal ensemble MUSA and first guest conductor of vocal ensemble The Gents.


Tallis Scholars

Over four decades of performance and a catalog of award-winning recordings, Peter Phillips and the Tallis Scholars have done more than any other group to establish sacred vocal music of the Renaissance as one of the great repertoires of Western classical music. They have sought to bring Renaissance works to a wider audience in churches, cathedrals, and venues on every inhabited continent, including the Royal Albert Hall, the Sistine Chapel, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Philharmonic Hall Berlin, Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Seoul Arts Center Korea, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Wigmore Hall, Beijing Concert Hall, and the Sydney Opera House. The Tallis Scholars continue to develop their exclusive sound and to bring fresh interpretations to music by contemporary composers such as Arvo Pärt, Tavener, Eric Whitacre, Nico Muhly, and Francis Jackson.


Peter Phillips, Conductor

Peter Phillips has made an impressive, if unusual, reputation for himself in dedicating his life’s work to the research and performance of Renaissance polyphony. He founded the Tallis Scholars in 1973, with whom he has now appeared in almost 2,000 concerts and made over 60 discs, encouraging interest in polyphony all over the world. Apart from the Tallis Scholars, Phillips continues to work with other specialist ensembles. He has appeared with the BBC Singers, Collegium Vocale Gent, and the Netherlands Chamber Choir, and is currently working with the Chœur de Chambre de Namur, Intrada of Moscow, Musica Reservata of Barcelona, and El León de Oro of Orviedo. He gives numerous masterclasses and choral workshops every year around the world.


Norwegian Soloists' Choir

The Norwegian Soloists’ Choir occupies a unique position in the musical life of Norway. The choir has given over 200 premiere performances, of which over 70 have been of works by Norwegian composers. The choir was established in 1950 by the Norwegian Soloists’ Society with the aim of becoming an elite ensemble for performing choral music to the highest possible standard. The choir’s first conductor was Knut Nystedt, who led the ensemble for 40 years. Since 1990 the choir has sung under the leadership of Grete Pedersen, internationally acclaimed for her stylistically assured and musically convincing performances.


Grete Pedersen, Conductor

Since 1990 the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir has sung under the leadership of Grete Pedersen, internationally acclaimed for her stylistically assured and musically convincing performances. Through a great number of concerts in Norway and abroad, recordings for radio and television, and CD recordings, she has become one of the most noted and sought-after conductors in the Nordic countries. In 1984 Pedersen founded the Oslo Chamber Choir, of which she remained the conductor until 2004. More recently she has worked with the Rundfunkchor Berlin, SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart, and the Bavarian Radio Choir.


Michel van der Aa, Composer (Concert 5: State of Humankind)

Michel van der Aa is one of today’s most sought-after composers and stage directors. A pioneer in the realms of new music and technology, his staged works—incorporating film and sampled soundtrack—are a seamless hybrid of musical theater and multimedia. Winner of the 2015 Johannes Vermeer Award and 2013 Grawemeyer Award, van der Aa’s imaginative music theater works have received critical and public acclaim internationally. His repertoire also includes concert works and chamber music for small ensemble, soloists, and soundtrack. Van der Aa’s music has been featured at many leading international festivals and is performed regularly by orchestras and ensembles worldwide. Since 2011 van der Aa has been a “house composer” with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. This position led to the creation of several major works, including a new violin concerto written for Janine Jansen. He served as composer-in-residence at the 2017 Lucerne Summer Festival, and was featured composer at the 2017 Musica nova Helsinki Festival.


Mohammed Fairouz, Composer (Concert 5: State of Humankind)

Mohammed Fairouz (b. 1985) is one of the most frequently performed, commissioned, and recorded composers of his generation. Hailed by The New York Times as an important new artistic voice and by BBC World News as one of the most talented composers of his generation, his large-scale symphonies, operas and oratorios all engage major geopolitical and philosophical themes with persuasive craft and a marked seriousness of purpose. Fairouz recently became the youngest composer in the 115-year history of the Deutsche Grammophon label to have an album dedicated to his works with the spring 2015 release of Follow, Poet. The album, which launched the label’s Return to Language series, includes two works that exalt the transformative power of language: his elegiac song cycle Audenesque and the ballet Sadat. The album has met with broad critical acclaim and received highbrow and brilliant distinctions in New York Magazine’s taste-making Approval Matrix.  Fairouz’s solo and chamber music attains an intoxicating intimacy, according to New York’s WQXR. A composer who describes himself as obsessed with text, he has been recognized by New Yorker magazine as an expert in vocal writing and described by Gramophone as a post-millennial Schubert. His principal teachers in composition include György Ligeti, Gunther Schuller, and Richard Danielpour, with studies at the Curtis Institute and New England Conservatory. Fairouz’s works are published by Peermusic Classical. He lives in New York City.


William Knight, Composer (Concert 1: Mortal Leadership, Divine Guidance)

William Knight is a professional singer and composer who specializes in composing choral music from a singer’s perspective. He has had works performed and commissioned by ensembles such as the Nederlands Kamerkoor (Netherlands Chamber Choir), the Utrechtse Studenten Cantorij, Kamerkoor NEXT, Het Ronsard Trio, and the Windsor Consort. An early-music specialist, the Netherlands-based artist is a core member of the Nederlands Kamerkoor and a founding member of the Windsor Consort. He sings with several choirs, including Collegium Vocale Gent, Cappella Amsterdam, Egidius Kwartet, BBC Singers, Capilla Cayrasco, De Nationale Opera in Amsterdam, and Glyndebourne. As a soloist he has appeared at concert halls such as Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Barcelona's Palau de la Música, Antwerp's deSingel, and Moscow's Tchaikovsky Concert Hall. He has performed in a variety of oratorios throughout Europe, with music ranging from Bach to Purcell to Britten.


David Lang, Composer (Concert 3: Justice)         

David Lang is one of the most highly regarded American composers writing today. Recent premieres include his opera, the loser, which opened the 2016 Next Wave Festival at BAM, for which Mr. Lang served as composer, librettist, and stage director; the public domain for 1,000 singers at the 2016 Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center; his chamber opera anatomy theater at the Los Angeles Opera and Prototype Festival in New York; and the concerto man made for So Percussion and a consortium of orchestras, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, and recently performed with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra. Mr. Lang’s the little match girl passion won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for music. Commissioned by Carnegie Hall and based on a fable by Hans Christian Andersen and Lang’s own rewriting of the libretto to Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, the recording of the piece was awarded a 2010 Grammy Award for best small ensemble performance. Lang’s recent work simple song #3, written as part of his score for Paolo Sorrentino’s film Youth, received many honors in 2016, including nominations for Academy, Golden Globe, and Critics’ Choice Awards. Mr. Lang has also been the recipient of the Rome Prize, Le Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and Musical America’s 2013 Composer of the Year Award. In addition to his work as a composer, Mr. Lang served as Carnegie Hall’s 2013–2014 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair, and is currently a professor of composition at the Yale School of Music and artist-in-residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He is also co-founder and co-artistic director of New York’s legendary music collective Bang on a Can.


Zad Moultaka, Composer (Concert 7: Abandonment)

Zad Moultaka is a Lebanese-born composer, pianist, and visual artist whose music explores fundamentals of Western contemporary styles with characters of Arabic traditions and expressions. Together with Catherine Peillon, he founded the Mezwej Ensemble, a project that crosses artistic borders and boundaries to examine these differing musical traditions. His compositions range from choral music to ensemble music, including chamber pieces, solo vocal works, opera, film music, and sound installations. He has collaborated with artists from around the world, including the Netherlands Radio Choir, Schönberg Ensemble, Montréal’s Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, the Orchestre National de Lorraine, and many others. His creations as a painter have been exhibited in Beirut, Abu Dhabi, Paris, and most recently as the 2017 Venice Biennale where he represented his native Lebanon.


Nico Muhly, Composer (Concert 6: Gratitude)

Nico Muhly (b. 1981) is an American composer and sought-after collaborator whose influences range from American minimalism to the Anglican choral tradition. The recipient of commissions from The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and others, he has written more than 80 works for the concert stage, including the forthcoming opera Marnie. Muhly is a frequent collaborator with choreographer Benjamin Millepied and, as an arranger, has paired with Sufjan Stevens, Antony and the Johnsons and others. His work for stage and screen include music for the Broadway revival of The Glass Menagerie and scores for films including the Academy Awardwinning The Reader. Born in Vermont, Muhly studied composition at the Juilliard School before working as an editor and conductor for Philip Glass. He is part of the artist-run record label Bedroom Community, which released his first two albums, Speaks Volumes (2006) and Mothertongue (2008). He lives in New York City.


Evelin Seppar, Composer (Concert 10: Pilgrimage of Life)

Evelin Seppar (b. 1986) started composing at the age of 15, and studied with composer Alo Põldmäe for four years before entering the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in 2006. There she studied composition with René Eespere and received a bachelor’s degree in 2010. During the academic year of 2008/09 she studied composition with Ole Lützow-Holm at the Academy of Music and Drama, University of Gothenburg, as part of the European Exchange Erasmus Program. She completed her master’s degree cum laude at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre under Toivo Tulev and Helena Tulve in 2012 and is currently living and working in Tallinn. Seppar has written for solo instruments, various ensembles, solo voice, choir, orchestra, and electronics and has made different arrangements. Her biggest works so far are the operas Teine and Icarus and the large-scale vocal works Lighthouse and Cities. During her studies she has participated in master classes with Erkki-Sven Tüür, Tapio Tuomela, Lasse Thoresen, Veli-Matti Puumala, Marco Stroppa, William Brooks, Michaël Lévinas, Oscar Bianchi, and others. She has also participated in workshops with the Helsinki Chamber Choir and the Latvian Radio Choir. Seppar has recently written for the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, the Netherlands Chamber Choir, and the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir, among others. Her music has been performed in Estonia, Latvia, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Germany, Italy, China, and the U.S.


Caroline Shaw, Composer (Concert 11: Celebration of Life)          

Caroline Adelaide Shaw is a New York–based musician. She is the youngest ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, for her enigmatic composition Partita for 8 Voices. Her career defies categorization—she performs as a violin soloist, chamber musician, and as a vocalist in the Grammy-winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth. Recent commissions include works for Carnegie Hall, the Guggenheim Museum, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra with Jonathan Biss, and mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter. She also frequently collaborates with Kanye West. Currently a doctoral candidate at Princeton, Caroline also studied at Rice and Yale. Caroline loves the color yellow, otters, Beethoven’s Opus 74, Mozart opera, the smell of rosemary, and the sound of a janky mandolin.


Isidora Žebeljan, Composer (Concert 11: Celebration of Life)

Isidora Žebeljan (Belgrade, 1967) is Serbia’s most outstanding and internationally acclaimed composer. She first attracted international attention with her opera Zora D, which has been performed across Europe since its 2003 premiere in Amsterdam, directed by David Pountney. Her work has been commissioned by internationally prominent institutions and festivals, including the Venice Biennale, Bregenz Festival, Berlin Philharmonic Foundation, Accademia Musicale Chigiana Siena, University of Kent, Musiktheater im Revier Gelsenkirchen, Genesis Foundation London, City of London Festival, Eduard van Beinum Foundation, and the International Horn Society, among others. Žebeljan’s works are performed by some of the world’s most celebrated artists, including the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic Octet, Brodsky Quartet, I Solisti Veneti, Torino’s RAI National Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Chamber Choir, London Brass, and many more. Her compositions are regularly performed in Europe, Israel, the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Asia. She is a Professor of Composition at the Belgrade Faculty of Music, regularly appears as a conductor and pianist of her works, and is an advocate for other composers from her native Serbia. Among other excellent reviews and critical opinions, Sir John Eliot Gardiner has expressed admiration for “the skill, craft and imaginative range” of her music, and “its kaleidoscopic range of timbres and, indeed, its many moods.”



The White Light Festival is a presentation of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (LCPA), which serves three primary roles: presenter of artistic programming, national leader in arts and education and community engagement, and manager of the Lincoln Center campus. A presenter of more than 3,000 free and ticketed events, performances, tours, and educational activities annually, LCPA offers 16 series, festivals, and programs, including American Songbook, Avery Fisher Career Grants and Artist program, David Rubenstein Atrium programming, Great Performers, The Performing Arts Hall of Fame at Lincoln Center, Lincoln Center at the Movies, Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Awards, Lincoln Center Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Lincoln Center Vera List Art Project, Midsummer Night Swing, Mostly Mozart Festival, White Light Festival, the Emmy Award–winning Live From Lincoln Center, which airs nationally on PBS, and Lincoln Center Education, which is celebrating 41 years enriching the lives of students, educators, and lifelong learners. As manager of the Lincoln Center campus, LCPA provides support and services for the Lincoln Center complex and the 11 resident organizations: The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Juilliard School, Lincoln Center Theater, The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, New York Philharmonic, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, School of American Ballet, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.


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The White Light Festival presentation of The Psalms Experience is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


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Artist catering provided by Zabar’s and


Use of New York Times Photographs does not constitute sponsorship of this event by The New York Times Company.


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High Resolution Images Return to Top

Netherlands Chamber Choir
Caption: THE PSALMS EXPERIENCE: Netherlands Chamber Choir
Photo Credit: Remco van der Kruis
Size: 3000x2000
Tallis Scholars; Peter Phillips, director
Photo Credit: © Kevin Yatarola
Size: 3750x2500
Norwegian Soloists’ Choir
Caption: THE PSALMS EXPERIENCE: Norwegian Soloists' Choir and Grete Pedersen
Photo Credit: Marte Christensen
Size: 4367x2915

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