Friday, November 12, 2021

The Cecilia Chorus of New York Presents Margaret Bonds’s The Ballad of the Brown King: A Christmas Cantata at 8 PM on December 10 at Carnegie Hall

The Cecilia Chorus of New York, Mark Shapiro, Music Director, Presents Margaret Bonds’s The Ballad of the Brown King: A Christmas Cantata and Handel/Mozart “Vest-Pocket” Messiah on December 10 at Carnegie Hall

What:  The Cecilia Chorus of New York Presents Margaret Bonds’s The Ballad of the Brown King: A Christmas Cantata (text by Langston Hughes) and Handel/Mozart “Vest-Pocket” Messiah

When:  Friday, December 10 at 8:00 PM

Where: Carnegie Hall, Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, 57th St & 7th Ave


New York, NY – The Cecilia Chorus of New York, Mark Shapiro, Music Director, will present the Carnegie Hall premiere of The Ballad of the Brown King: A Christmas Cantata (1954) by American composer Margaret Bonds on a text by Langston Hughes in Bonds’s original orchestration, along with their 50-minute "vest-pocket" Messiah by G.F. Handel, in the orchestration by W.A. Mozart on Friday, December 10, 2021, at 8:00PM in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall, 57th Street & 7th Avenue in Manhattan.

The performance will be with chorus, orchestra, and soloists Brandie Inez Sutton, soprano (; Joshua Blue, tenor ( and Justin Austin, baritone ( All are featured in The Metropolitan Opera’s current season.   

Maestro Shapiro writes, “Celebrating the work of composers outside the mainstream isn't new to The Cecilia Chorus. And neither is singing holiday classics in Carnegie Hall. But combining the two in a powerful fusion of musical, historical, and social traditions feels joyous and right to us this holiday season. Nearly 70 years after Black composer Margaret Bonds deftly infused classical structure with the rich American flavors of spirituals, jazz, and blues in her Christmas cantata, The Ballad of the Brown King, we’re honored to present its Carnegie Hall premiere. We've pulled out all the stops in casting three internationally renowned soloists. And in a harmonious juxtaposition, by no means happenstance, we’re delighted to introduce our 'vest-pocket' Messiah, compressing Handel’s 150-minute epic into a crisp, exhilarating 50-minutes.”

Tickets start at $25 and are available at For more information about this concert, visit or call 646-638-2535. CCNY Carnegie Hall concerts are ADA accessible. For MTA transportation information, visit

Please note that proof of vaccination and masks will be required for admission to this concert. Details are subject to change due to the ongoing health risks of COVID-19. Check for the most up-to-date information.

About the Chorus:

Founded in 1906, The Cecilia Chorus of New York, winner of the ASCAP/Chorus America Alice Parker Award, has evolved into one of the finest avocational performing arts organizations in New York City. The 150-voice chorus has been described as “reliably venturesome” (The New Yorker, 2017) and “admirable,” (New York Times, 2017). Recent highlights have included commissions from The Brothers Balliett, Jonathan Breit, Tom Cipullo, and Raphael Fusco; collaborations with five-time Obie Award-winning actor Kathleen Chalfant, two-time Tony Award-winning actor Stephen Spinella, and opera singers Julia Bullock and Ryan Speedo Green; the New York premieres in Carnegie Hall of the Mass in D and The Prison by Dame Ethel Smyth; the world premiere of Fifty Trillion Molecular Geniuses by The Brothers Balliett; and the US premiere of Messe Romane by Thierry Escaich. Much more at

Mark Shapiro was appointed the seventh Music Director of The Cecilia Chorus of New York in 2011. Music Director of The Prince Edward Island Symphony and Artistic Director of Cantori New York, he is one of a handful of artistic leaders in North America to have won a prestigious ASCAP Programming Award six times, achieving the unique distinction of winning such an award with three different ensembles. The New York Times has characterized his conducting as "insightful" and acknowledged its “virtuosity and assurance” and “uncommon polish.” The Star-Ledger calls his artistic leadership “erudite and far-reaching.” Bio at

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