The Cathedral of St. John the Divine has chosen WQXR host, conductor and organist Kent Tritle to become its Director of Cathedral Music and Organist. In taking on the appointment, he leaves St. Ignatius Loyola Church, where he has been Director of Music Ministries for 22 years.
Tritle will take over at St. John the Divine on Sept. 1, putting him at the helm of music at what is said to be the largest cathedral in the U.S. He succeeds former director Bruce Neswick, who is leaving to become an organ professor at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
A ubiquitous figure on New York's choral scene, Tritle has been Director of Music Ministries at St. Ignatius Loyola Church in Manhattan since 1989, where he oversaw a program of more than 400 services annually, led the church’s professional choir, and developed a 45-voice volunteer parish choir. With graduate and undergraduate degrees from The Juilliard School in organ performance and choral conducting, Tritle also directs the Oratorio Society of New York and Musica Sacra, and is Director of Choral Activities at the Manhattan School of Music and a member of the graduate faculty of The Juilliard School – capacities in which he will continue.
“It is with great joy that I accept the position of Director of Cathedral Music at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine,” said Tritle in a statement. “I have always loved the Cathedral; its place, its mission, and its musical legacy, and I am thrilled to embark with the Cathedral staff on an adventure to take the music program to even greater heights.”
The music program at the Cathedral, always a primary focus for the Cathedral and The Cathedral School, will be expanded under Tritle’s new leadership. Tritle said he will focus on developing the Cathedral choirs, in both liturgical and concert settings, and raising the profile of the concert series.
Tritle comes to the Cathedral three years after its post-fire rededication and the restoration of its Great Organ, one of the world's most renowned instruments. Built in 1911 by Ernest M. Skinner, and enlarged and rebuilt in 1954 by G. Donald Harrison of The Aeolian Skinner Organ Company, the Great Organ is forged from the genius of two of America's foremost organ-builders.
“I could not be more excited by this opportunity to bring Kent Tritle to the Cathedral –he's a gifted musician and a person of deep faith,” said Cathedral Dean, the Very Reverend Dr. James A. Kowalski in a statement.
As host of The Choral Mix with Kent Tritle, the conductor and organist tackles the vibrant and active world of choral music in New York and beyond. Recent shows have covered national choral styles (French, Italian), the choral world of Brahms, madrigals and the great Bach passions.