The music ministry at the Cathedral seeks to fill every heart with the sound of God’s peace and joy. Through the finest music of several centuries the musicians of the Cathedral provide an ever expanding vocabulary to proclaim God’s eternal message.
Careful preparation and rehearsals by the choral musicians of the Cathedral support our commitment to offer our fullest and most enriching praise to God in the highest. The repertoire of the Cathedral choirs ranges from Gregorian chant and masses of Palestrina to works commissioned by the Cathedral from the leading composers of today. The music of composers such as Bach, Britten, Faure, Mozart, Palestrina, Purcell, Tallis and Tavener are characteristic of the high quality of music offered each week in the Cathedral.
Choral Evensong is sung on the second Sunday of the month at 3:00 PM throughout the program year.
Choral Eucharists are usually sung at the 11:00 AM service on the first Sunday of each month and at many of the Principal Feasts celebrated at the Cathedral. We also celebrate Morning Prayer & Holy Eucharist Rite II usually on the fourth Sunday of each month at the Cathedral, allowing the choirs to sing a more varied assortment of Canticles and more fully explore the riches that the Anglican Tradition has to offer.
The Cathedral is very fortunate to possess one of the finest organs in the Southwest, built by the Kansas based company of Reuter. Each Sunday the organ is heard not only in congregational singing and accompanying choral works but also in major works of the organ repertoire, played the Cathedral organists. The Sunday preludes and postludes played on the organ are drawn on the vast repertoire of the organ literature. Works of Buxtehude, Bach, Couperin, Dupré, Franck, Mendelssohn, Messiaen, and Vierne are heard on regular basis.
Through Friends of Cathedral Music the Cathedral also commissions new choral works written for the Cathedral Choir as part of the Cathedral Commissions program. The commissioning scheme began in 2006 with a new work by the American composer,Stephen Paulus. In 2007 new works were commissioned from two composers Judith Bingham and David Arcus. The 2008 commission went to New York based composer Anthony Piccolo and the 2009 commission to two composers Tarik O’Regan. In the 2010-2011 season, the commission was awarded to Canadian composer, Andrew Ager. He wrote a setting of the Te Deum text for choir and organ, in addition to writing a solo organ work based on the Gregorian chant of the Te Deum. The 2012 commissioned composer was Philip Moore, former Organist & Master of Music at York Minster. In 2013, we welcomed commissioned composer Nicholas White who wrote the first-ever Cathedral Commission which involved both our Cathedral Choir and Choristers. Following in these footsteps we were very pleased to have Andrew Carter from York, UK write a work for the Cathedral Choir and Choristers to celebrate the 20th anniversary season of Friends of Cathedral Music. The 2014-15 commissioned composer for Friends of Cathedral Music, was awarded to Toronto based composer Stephanie Martin who wrote a setting of the John Donne text, Ascension, premiered on Ascension Sunday. The 2015-2016, 10th anniversary commissioned composer for Friends of Cathedral Music, was awarded to Minnesota based composer Aaron David Miller who composed a setting of the canticles, Magnificat and Nunc dimittis (Rite II).
The 2016-2017 Cathedral Commission has been awarded to British composer Cecilia McDowall. She will compose a work for the season of Lent which will be premiered, Sunday, March 5th at the 11 a.m. service. It is being co-sponsored by Dr. Todd Parker, Col. (ret.) Kenneth Moorhead and Dr. David and Ann Stinchcomb.
The role of the music ministry in the outreach of the Cathedral is considerable. An annual concert series allows parishioners as well as those who cannot attend on a Sunday morning the opportunity to attend superb musical events throughout the year. Advance tickets to all Friends of Cathedral Music concert and special events are available for purchase through this new website at www.fcmabq.org.
Members of the Cathedral Choir and Choristers on the front steps of Washington National Cathedral, June 2016.
(Photo Credit: Tanner Gay)