We are very pleased to announce that Nicholas White has been chosen as the new Music Director of The Boston Cecilia. He succeeds Donald Teeters who led the chorus from 1968 to 2012.
White is a Grammy-nominated composer and conductor as well as organist, pianist, and singer with experience in many different styles of music. Born in London and educated at Clare College, Cambridge, White has lived in the United States since 1989. He is Director of Chapel Music & Organist at St. Paul’s School, in Concord, New Hampshire, where he lives with his wife, the cellist Kate Jensik, and their young son. He is also Head of the Arts Department at St. Paul’s.
White, who is 45 years old, has performed widely in the United States and received commissions across the world. He is former Artistic Director of Joyful Noise, a choral organization in Northwest Connecticut. In 2003 he founded Tiffany Consort, an ensemble of eight professional singers whose first CD, “O Magnum Mysterium,” was nominated for a Grammy award. He has published several other CDs. White has served as Assistant Organist & Choirmaster of the Washington National Cathedral in D.C., Organist & Choirmaster of St. Michael’s Church in New York City, also St. John’s Episcopal Church in Beverly Farms, among other positions.
This past February, White’s setting of Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, “The Raven,” commissioned by Dumbarton Concerts, was presented in Washington to critical acclaim. His large-scale “Magnificat,” for solo soprano, chorus, organ, brass, and percussion, was premiered at the National Cathedral in 1997. “Full Freedom,” for multiple choirs, instrumentalists, and dancers, was the 2002 choral tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at the Kennedy Center in Washington.
On March 16th, The Boston Cecilia performed White’s “From Earth to Heaven,” for soprano, chorus, organ, and string quartet, in a program celebrating the centenary of Benjamin Britten. The original version, commissioned by the Eastman School of Music, is for solo soprano and organ. The Boston Cecilia premiered this new setting of secular and sacred poems in Middle English, which White dedicated to the chorus.
The Boston Cecilia, founded in 1874, is one of Boston’s oldest performing arts organizations. B.J. Lang was it first conductor, introducing many major works to Boston audiences, among them Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, and Brahms’s Requiem. In 1892 Dvorak led them in his own Requiem. Max Fiedler treated Cecilia as the official chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, before handing Cecilia’s baton to Arthur Fiedler who held it for 16 years. Stravinsky conducted Cecilia in his Symphony of Psalms. Saint Cecilia was a Roman noblewoman who, on her assassins’ third attempt, finally succumbed to martyrdom. She is associated with the organ and thus the patron saint of musicians. Painters from Botticini to Domenichino and poets from Dryden to Pope, have exalted her. “Blessed Cecilia,” wrote the poet W.H. Auden, lines which Britten set to music and the chorus sang in March, “Blessed Cecilia, appear in visions to all musicians, appear and inspire.”