Sing Hallelujah: Holiday Classical Concerts

Arts & Entertainment

by Annie Bergen, 11/21/2012

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New York City is an enchanting place to be during the holiday season. The festive atmosphere is never more evident than in holiday concerts of classical music, which can provide everything from restive contemplation to joyous inspiration. Whether you're rubbing shoulders with a stranger in a Messiah sing-along or experiencing the spine-tingling harmonies of exceptional choirs and a cappella groups, New York has an abundance of offerings capturing the spirit of the season, with many taking place in unparalleled settings. Read on for a selection of concerts throughout the City in December.

November 27 and December 2
A Chanticleer Christmas at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met's Medieval Sculpture Hall provides perfect acoustics for the exquisite harmonies of the male a cappella ensemble Chanticleer, whose holiday concerts have become a tradition in New York. The 12-member group fashions stunning bell-like tones and lingering long notes in everything from medieval chants to familiar holiday tunes in front of the museum's beautiful Christmas tree and Neapolitan Baroque crèche. Two performances are scheduled for each date. For more info, visit

December 9
The Choir of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine at The Metropolitan Museum of Art  
The impassioned choral conductor Kent Tritle has recently taken the helm of the Choir of the Cathedral St. John the Divine. It's all the more reason to hear them showcased in a concert at the Met featuring "O Magnum Mysterium," plus works by William Byrd, Eric Whitacre and Nico Muhly. There are two performances scheduled for December 9. For more info, visit

December 14–15
The New York Pops and Pink Martini at Carnegie Hall
Add a touch of nostalgia to your holiday cheer when the little orchestra Pink Martini performs with the larger New York Pops in two concerts at Carnegie Hall. Pink Martini, known for its retro-symphonic global pop, will add an old-fashioned flair to the performance of songs from their album Joy to the World. Also on the program are selections by Maurice Ravel, Rodgers and Hammerstein and Irving Berlin, all under the direction of Steven Reineke. For more info, visit

December 15–16 
Bronx Arts Ensemble Holiday Concert at Bartow-Pell Mansion
A festive concert at a historic house will transport you back to Old New York. The Bronx Arts Ensemble perform a program of song and narrative celebrating Sinterklaas, the Dutch St. Nicholas, harking back to Olde Nieuw Amsterdam. The setting is the storied Bartow-Pell Mansion in the Bronx. The concerts are free, but tickets are required. Two performances are scheduled for each date. For more info, visit

December 16
Astoria Symphony & Choir Holiday Jubilee at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church 
In Queens, the Astoria Symphony is composed of musicians from all five boroughs and the tristate area. They'll be joined by a choir for a Holiday Jubilee at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Astoria. It's a crowd-pleasing program that includes Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" and Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus," among other works, to be followed by a traditional carol sing-along. For more info, visit

December 16 
My Yiddishe Chanukah at The World Financial Center and Winter Garden
A musical-theater Hanukkah celebration for the whole family, My Yiddishe Chanukah—featuring The National Yiddish Theatre–Folksbiene, an ensemble of performers accompanied by a hip klezmer group under the direction of Zalmen Mlotek—takes place at the Winter Garden at The World Financial Center. For more info, visit

December 16–17
Rotunda Holiday Concert at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
The resounding voices of the Vox Vocal Ensemble have ample room to soar in the sweeping Frank Lloyd Wright–designed rotunda at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Often providing unique arrangements of holiday classics, the group is conducted by New York City Opera artistic director George Steel. For more info, visit

December 17
The National Choral Council – 45th-Annual Handel's Messiah Sing-in at Avery Fisher Hall 
For those who prefer to sing their own Messiah, the National Chorale provides an opportunity for amateur singers to lend their voices to the 3,000-plus-member audience chorus at its annual Messiah sing-in at Avery Fisher Hall. Participants need to bring their own sheet music, but they'll have the guidance of 17 guest conductors who'll make sure sopranos, basses, altos and tenors blend in all the right places. For more info, visit

December 18–22 
Handel's Messiah at Avery Fisher Hall 
There's no shortage of performances of Handel's Messiah during this holiday season, and the New York Philharmonic has slated the perennial favorite for five nights in a row at Avery Fisher Hall. The Philharmonic, accompanied by the New York Choral Artists, will be conducted by French conductor Emmanuelle Haïm. For more info, visit

December 20 and 23
Handel Messiah at Carnegie Hall 
Two groups take on the holiday-season staple at Carnegie Hall. For a tried-and-true rendition of the Messiah, you can't beat the well-oiled machine that is Musica Sacra Chorus and Orchestra (December 20). And The Masterwork Chorus celebrates its 250th performance of Handel's oratorio, part of their repertoire every year since 1957. For more info, visit

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    The Met
    Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10028
  2. 2
    Carnegie Hall
    57th St. and Seventh Ave.
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10019
  3. 3
    Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum
    895 Shore Rd.
    Bronx – Pelham Bay
    NY 10464
  1. 4
    St. Joseph's Catholic Church
    43-19 30th Ave
    Queens – Astoria
    NY 11103
  2. 5
    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
    1071 Fifth Ave.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10128
  3. 6
    David Geffen Hall
    10 Lincoln Center Plaza
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
    NY 10023

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