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J.S. Bach's St. John Passion: Good Friday at Saint Peter's NYC

Saint Peter’s Church presents J.S. Bach’s Passion According to Saint John, BWV 245, much as the great cantor would have performed it in liturgical setting.

Saint Peter’s Choir and Period Orchestra is led from the harpsichord by Cantor Bálint KarosiGene Stenger (tenor) sings the Evangelist. Other soloists include Elliott Encarnacion (tenor), Matthew Sullivan (bass), Daniel Moody (countertenor), and Nola Richardson (soprano).

St. John Passion at Saint Peter’s, 2017

Bach wrote this masterwork during his first year in Leipzig and presented it on Good Friday, April 7, 1724 at the Nikolaikirche. For the Passion’s first hearers, the work's highly expressive quality would have been heightened as, except for the performance of Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, BWV 1 for the festival of Palm Sunday celebrated just five days prior, no public or private festivities would have been held in Leipzig throughout the preceding weeks of the liturgical time of Lent.

Today, New York City experiences a gap similar to that of Leipzig in the early 1700s as it is generally only during Lent, Holy Week or Eastertide that choirs present either Bach’s St. John Passion or St. Matthew Passion. Saint Peter’s is pleased to be part of this annual tradition of bringing the Passion to life, with a more than 50-year history of presenting one or the other of these beloved masterworks at noon on Good Friday.

A performance much as Bach would have presented the Passion: in liturgical context and with period instruments made possible by members of Saint Peter’s Church and generous donations from people like you.

The liturgy starts at 12:00 p.m. and runs for approximately three hours.