Concerts, recitals, and other music events are held throughout the year in the sanctuary and Old Buttonwood Hall.
Concerts@First had its debut concert in June, 2006 when the First Church Choir performed Bach’s B Minor Mass. In 2009 and 2010 organist Andrew Senn captivated audiences by accompanying silent movies, Phantom of the Opera and Hunchback of Notre Dame. In between, instrumental and vocal concerts have enriched the cultural life of Center City. The 2012-13 Season will feature five concerts. All will be free except for the April 28 concert where admission will be $10 a person.
Saturday, October 27 - 7:30pm
Our season starts with the now annual tradition of a silent film. Because of its enormous popularity and timelessness (and that fact that it works so well, visually, in our sanctuary), we will be showing The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The music will be improvised by Andrew Senn on the organ–and he promises that, although the same movie was shown three years ago, because the music is all spontaneous, the soundtrack will be entirely different!
Saturday, November 17 – 7pm
Jean Schneider will be heard in recital performing both small gems and masterpieces of the piano repertoire. The program begins with the spirit and wit of a Haydn sonata followed by Fantasy in C, Op, 17 by Robert Schumann, a passionate and also deeply spiritual work which displays the Romantic composer's creativity at its height. After intermission, Rain-Tree Sketch, a short but evocative piece, by Toru Takemitsu, the contemporary Japanese composer so influenced by Debussy and Messiaen sets the tone for Maurice Ravel's remarkable Gaspard de la Nuit. Composed in 1908 and inspired by the fantastical prose poems of Aloysius Bertrand, it is considered one of the most captivating and virtuosic pieces in the keyboard repertoire.
Saturday, January 26 – 7:30pm
A program of chamber works by Philadelphia composer Michael Djupstrom (b.1980), including Daydreams and Nightvisions, Sejdefu majka buđaše (Sejdefa's Mother Wakes Her), Walimai, Caprice, To the Eastern Sea, and Long, long ago. Walimai was recently awarded both the American Viola Society's Gardner Award and the first Delius International Composition Prize. As a result, Michael and violist Ayane Kozasa traveled to London to present the work as part of the International Delius Study Weekend. The performing musicians — students and recent graduates of the Curtis Institute of Music — include laureates of several international string competitions: Nigel Armstrong, violin, Luosha Fang, violin, Ayane Kozasa, viola, Jeong Hyoun Lee, cello, and Michael Djupstrom, piano.
Saturday, March 9 – 8pm
Jazz Goes to the Opera
Leslie Savoy Burrs has captivated audiences across the United States and Europe with his exciting, distinctive sound - an inspired combination of classical virtuosity and dazzling improvisation. He has appeared as guest soloist and composer with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore, Atlanta, Louisville, New Jersey and Richmond Symphonies. In addition, his performances with the Duke Ellington Band, The Philly Pops and the Moers Jazz Festival in Germany distinguish him as an artist of great depth and versatility.
Sunday, April 28 – 7 pm
The Chancel Choir of First Church takes the spotlight to perform an interesting program of French and English music. Taking advantage of our unique situation with Chancel and Gallery organs, the Messe Solennelle of French composer, Louis Vierne, features the choir, accompanied in surround sound! Writing music in England at the same time but in a very different style was Sir Edward Elgar. Known for his dramatic orchestral music, Elgar also wrote large-scale choral works. (For this concert, there is a ticket charge of $10, available at the door.)
Look for more details on the Concerts@First season in the church announcements along with details on other music events held at First Church.