Orchestra of St. Luke's

Last updated
Orchestra of St. Luke's
chamber orchestra
Founded 1974 (1974)
Location New York City, US
Principal conductor Bernard Labadie
Website Orchestra of St. Luke's

The Orchestra of St. Luke's (OSL) is an American chamber orchestra based in New York City, formed in 1974.

Chamber music form of classical music composed for a small group of instruments

Chamber music is a form of classical music that is composed for a small group of instruments—traditionally a group that could fit in a palace chamber or a large room. Most broadly, it includes any art music that is performed by a small number of performers, with one performer to a part. However, by convention, it usually does not include solo instrument performances.

Orchestra large instrumental ensemble

An orchestra is a large instrumental ensemble typical of classical music, which combines instruments from different families, including bowed string instruments such as the violin, viola, cello, and double bass, brass instruments such as the horn, trumpet, trombone and tuba, woodwinds such as the flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon, and percussion instruments such as the timpani, bass drum, triangle, snare drum and cymbals, each grouped in sections. Other instruments such as the piano and celesta may sometimes appear in a fifth keyboard section or may stand alone, as may the concert harp and, for performances of some modern compositions, electronic instruments.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.


The orchestra performs at several venues in New York City, including:

Carnegie Hall concert hall in New York City

Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east side of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park.

Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts

Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts is a former estate near Katonah, New York United States, approximately 50 miles (80 km) north of New York City. Today it serves as a live music venue for symphonic, opera, chamber, American roots, and jazz, performances. The estate and its historic home are legacies of their original owners, Walter and Lucie Rosen. The Caramoor Summer Music Festival is held there every summer. It also runs educational programs, and can be rented for events such as weddings.

Saint Thomas Church (Manhattan) Church in New York City, United States

Saint Thomas Church, located at the corner of 53rd Street and Fifth Avenue in the borough of Manhattan in New York, New York in the United States, is an Episcopal parish church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. It is also known as Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue or as Saint Thomas Church in the City of New York and was incorporated on 9 January 1824. The current structure, completed in 1914, is the fourth church built to house this congregation and was designed by the architects Ralph Adams Cram and Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue in the French High Gothic Revival style.

Orchestra of St. Luke's is the orchestra for Paul Taylor Dance Company. [1]

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Paul Taylor Dance Company, is a contemporary dance company, formed by dancer and choreographer Paul Taylor (1930—2018). The modern dance company is based in New York, New York and was founded in 1954.

The orchestra owns and operates the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, and is located (alongside Baryshnikov Arts Center) at 450 West 37th Street in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood. [2]

Baryshnikov Arts Center Baryshnikob Arts Centre

The Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) is a foundation and arts complex opened by Mikhail Baryshnikov in 2005 at 450 West 37th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The top three floors of the complex are occupied by the Baryshnikov Arts Center, which provides space and production facilities for dance, music, theater, film, and visual arts. The building also houses the Orchestra of St. Luke's DiMenna Center for Classical Music.

Hells Kitchen, Manhattan Neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City

Hell's Kitchen, sometimes known as Clinton, is a neighborhood on the West Side of Midtown Manhattan in New York City. It is traditionally considered to be bordered by 34th Street to the south, 59th Street to the north, Eighth Avenue to the east, and the Hudson River to the west. The area provides transport, medical, and warehouse-infrastructure support to Midtown's business district.


The core of the orchestra is the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, which was founded in 1974 as an ensemble of 21 to 22 musicians. It is named for the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, Greenwich Village, in Manhattan, where the ensemble first performed. Michael Feldman, a music teacher in Manhattan, was the first de facto conductor of the ensemble. The larger Orchestra of St. Luke's was formally founded in the summer of 1979 at the Caramoor International Music Festival in Katonah, New York, as the festival's resident orchestra. The organisation of the orchestra's musicians falls into a three-tier roster, with the second tier of 20 players utilised for chamber orchestra concerts, and the third tier of 20 to 30 musicians for use in concerts that require larger ensembles. [3] The pool of musicians for the orchestra generally derives from freelance New York City musicians. The orchestra musicians themselves decide on the hiring and dismissal, and assignments, of the players, without a central music director. [4]

Church of St. Luke in the Fields church building in Manhattan, United States of America

The Church of St. Luke in the Fields is an Episcopal church located at 487 Hudson Street between Christopher and Barrow Streets at the intersection of Grove Street in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The church was constructed in 1821-22 and has been attributed to both John Heath, the building contractor, and James N. Wells.

Greenwich Village Neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City

Greenwich Village often referred to by locals as simply "the Village", is a neighborhood on the west side of Manhattan, New York City, within Lower Manhattan. Broadly, Greenwich Village is bounded by 14th Street to the north, Broadway to the east, Houston Street to the south, and the Hudson River to the west. Greenwich Village also contains several subsections, including the West Village west of Seventh Avenue and the Meatpacking District in the northwest corner of Greenwich Village.

Katonah, New York CDP in New York, United States

Katonah is one of three hamlets and census-designated places (CDP) within the town of Bedford, Westchester County, in the U.S. state of New York, specifically northern Westchester. The Katonah CDP had a population of 1,679 at the 2010 census.

The orchestra's first titled conductor was Roger Norrington, the music director from 1990 to 1994. Sir Charles Mackerras was the orchestra's second music director, from 1998 to 2001, but with limited administrative work and only for the designated 3-year period, per his request. [4] Donald Runnicles was the orchestra's next titled conductor, with the title of principal conductor, from 2001 to 2007. In December 2011, the orchestra announced the appointment of its current principal conductor, Pablo Heras-Casado, with immediate effect, and with an initial contract through 2015 and an extension through September 2017. [5] Heras-Casado is scheduled to conclude his principal conductorship of the orchestra at the close of the 2018-2019 season, and subsequently to take the title of conductor laureate, the first conductor to be named to this titled post with the orchestra. In May 2017, the orchestra announced the appointment of Bernard Labadie as its next principal conductor, effective with the 2018-2019 season. [6]

Sir Roger Arthur Carver Norrington is a British conductor. He is the son of Sir Arthur Norrington and his brother is Humphrey Thomas Norrington.

Charles Mackerras Australian conductor

Sir Alan Charles Maclaurin Mackerras was an Australian conductor. He was an authority on the operas of Janáček and Mozart, and the comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan. He was long associated with the English National Opera and Welsh National Opera and was the first Australian chief conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Donald Cameron Runnicles, OBE HonFRSE is a Scottish conductor.

The orchestra has also announced a Bach Festival in June 2019 [7] , as well as the first edition in July 2019 of an annual composition Institute. [8]

Orchestra of St. Luke's has premiered more than 100 orchestral and chamber works by such composers as John Adams, Joan Tower, Gabriela Lena Frank, Anthony Davis, Nicholas Maw, André Previn, George Tsontakis, Bryce Dessner, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. The orchestra has appeared on more than 100 recordings, four of which have won Grammy Awards: John Adams's Nixon in China , Samuel Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915 , Listen to the Storyteller with Wynton Marsalis, and Bel Canto with Renée Fleming. In 2003, the orchestra launched its own record label, St. Luke's Collection. [9]

The orchestra's current president & executive director is James Roe. Its current board chairman is Norman S. Benzaquen.

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  1. Brian Seibert (2018-03-11). "Paul Taylor Classics Outshine New Dances". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  2. James R. Oestreich (2011-03-09). "House Warmed, the Orchestra of St. Luke's Settles In". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
  3. Susan Elliott (1998-06-19). "St. Luke's: Playing Where The Action". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
  4. 1 2 Allan Kozinn (2002-02-03). "A Courtship of Conductor and Orchestra". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
  5. "Pablo Heras-Casado Named Principal Conductor of Orchestra of St. Luke's" (PDF) (Press release). Orchestra of St. Luke's. 6 December 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
  6. "Bernard Labadie Named Principal Conductor of Orchestra of St. Luke's" (PDF) (Press release). Orchestra of St. Luke's. 3 May 2017. Retrieved 2017-05-06.
  7. Michael Cooper (2018-09-13). "With Bach and Paul Taylor, Orchestra of St. Luke's Plans Its Future". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-10-13.
  8. "Orchestra of St. Luke's Announces the Creation of The Annual DeGaetano Composition Institute" (PDF) (Press release). Orchestra of St. Luke's. 25 September 2018. Retrieved 2018-09-25.
  9. James R. Oestreich (2003-05-04). "No One Tells Them What to Record". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-12-24.