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Celebrating its 150th anniversary during the 2023-2024 season, the Oratorio Society of New York is one of the oldest musical organizations in the United States and has become New York City’s standard for grand choral performance. Founded in 1873 by Leopold Damrosch, the Society has played an integral role in the musical life of the city. In its early years, the Society established a fund to finance the building of a new concert hall, a cause taken up in earnest by the Society’s fifth president, Andrew Carnegie. In 1891, and under the direction of Pyotr Tchaikovsky, the Society helped inaugurate this new Music Hall, which would be renamed Carnegie Hall several years later. The Society continues to perform several times each season at Carnegie Hall. Its annual performances of Handel’s Messiah, a New York holiday tradition unbroken since 1874, have become a holiday favorite with New York audiences. In addition to its collaborations with the New York Philharmonic and Orchestra of St. Luke’s, as well as other performing arts institutions, the Society performs internationally every few years – including tours in Japan, Uruguay, Germany, Italy, and Brazil. The Society is also committed to commissioning and championing new works, including most recently two pieces by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec and Grammy Award-winning librettist Mark Campbell: Sanctuary Road, the recording of which was nominated for a 2021 Grammy Award and is available from Naxos Records. OSNY was awarded the Handel Medallion in 1974, and helped found the New York Choral Consortium. The OSNY membership consists of avocational and professionally trained singers as well as non-singing members. Auditions are held twice annually at the beginning of the fall and winter terms. OSNY is a not-for-profit 501c3 corporation governed by a volunteer board of directors with a professional music staff and executive director.


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