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Five Boroughs Music Festival Presents Theotokos Ensemble in Cantatas, Yesterday and Today on December 7

November 14, 2023 | By Morahan Arts & Media


PR Contact: Katlyn Morahan | Morahan Arts & Media 
katlyn@morahanartsandmedia.com | 646.378.9386

Five Boroughs Music Festival Presents
Theotokos Ensemble in Cantatas, Yesterday and Today 
on December 7

Theotokos Performs Traditional and Newly-Composed Cantatas 
in Side-By-Side Concert with 5BMF


New York, NY (November 14, 2023) — New York City’s Five Boroughs Music Festival (5BMF) presents the Theotokos ensemble in Cantatas, Yesterday and Today on Thursday, December 7, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Church. In its 5BMF debut, Theotokos performs old and new church music, linking the liturgical traditions of the Baroque with contemporary compositional voices.

One of the jewels of human achievement is the concept of “complete” church music: original music composed and assigned to every event in the church’s liturgical year. This has been famously accomplished by Palestrina, J.S. Bach, and a handful of others; Telemann’s Harmonischer Gottesdienst is a lesser-known complete cantata cycle, perfectly suited for a chamber ensemble like Theotokos. 

Embodying the baroque church ensemble, Theotokos is the ensemble-in-residence at St. Mary's Church and composes and performs a new cantata every week based on and tightly linked with the liturgical readings assigned to that date. Doug Balliett – bassist, composer, and leader of Theotokos – is engaged in creating his own contemporary “complete” church music cycle, with cantata-masses for every event in the three-year Catholic calendar. Cantatas, Yesterday and Today pairs two Telemann cantatas – those assigned to the first two weeks of Advent – with two newly-composed cantatas by Balliett.

Concert Information
Theotokos: Cantatas, Yesterday and Today
Thursday, December 7, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.
St. Mary’s Church | 440 Grand St. | New York 10002
Tickets: Pay-what-you-will (sliding scale, no suggested donation). Reservations are required via the ticket link. 
Link: https://5bmf.org/events/theotokos/ 

Georg Philipp Telemann – Daß Herz und Sinn, o schwacher Mensch, TWV 1:194 (1726)
Doug Balliett – Cantata for the First Sunday of Advent
Telemann – Endlich wird die Stunde schlagen, TVW 1:440 (1725)
Balliett – Cantata for the Second Sunday of Advent

Raha Mirzadegan, soprano
Lukas Papenfusscline, tenor
Will Copeland, violin
Clay Zeller-Townson, bassoon
Doug Balliett, viola da gamba
Elliot Figg, Harpsichord

About Theotokos
Theotokos is the living embodiment of a baroque church ensemble. In residence at St. Mary's on Grand Street on the lower east side of NYC, every week a new cantata is composed and performed by the group, based on and tightly linked with the liturgical readings assigned to that date. In addition, theologically relevant baroque and pre-baroque music is regularly performed, ranging from Palestrina to Telemann, early American church music, and beyond. Theotokos also runs a Gregorian Chant club, open to all, which regularly meets to chant mass and the divine office. In 2021 Theotokos began a fruitful collaboration with the Juilliard School Historical Performance program. Other guest performers have included Davóne Tines, Jean Rondeau, Myriam Rignol, Thomas Dunford, and William Christie.

About Five Boroughs Music Festival
Since 2007, Five Boroughs Music Festival (5BMF) has brought virtuosic chamber music performances of the highest caliber to every borough of NYC, cultivating new audiences for the genre and encouraging music lovers to look beyond Manhattan for outstanding performances. Lauded as “imaginative” by The New York Times, “enterprising” by The New Yorker, and “vital” by WQXR’s Operavore blog, 5BMF’s commitment to musical outreach and diverse programming has distinguished it as a standout presence in the New York City arts community from its earliest days.

5BMF’s artist roster of over 500 individual performers and ensembles is comprised of talented emerging artists and distinguished musicians alike, representing a diverse range of musical genres and styles. Its venues are just as eclectic, and have included performing arts spaces, cultural centers, and historic New York City landmarks such as Federal Hall, Pregones Theater, Flushing Town Hall, King Manor Museum, Brooklyn Historical Society, the Alice Austen House, and the Staten Island Museum, to name merely a few.

As champions of new music, 5BMF has commissioned over 70 composers and presented world premieres of their works all across New York City, most notably the borough-wide tours of its quinquennial commissioning project, the Five Borough Songbook Volumes I, II and III. 5BMF’s outreach initiatives continue to expand every year, and have included program-related interactive lectures and discussions, public masterclasses with world renowned performing artists, and free public programming. Learn more at www.5bmf.org.

Image at top of release courtesy of Theotokos

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