If you believe that classical music is dead, you may be right. Just not in the way that you think. Unless you’re connecting classical music to the border of Harlem and Washington Heights, on the grounds of Trinity Church Cemetery. We’re talking about the Crypt Sessions! Yes, we’re talking dead. Except, very much alive.
Crypt Sessions is a concert series presented and produced by Unison Media and curated by Andrew Ousley, located in the crypt chapel underneath the Church of the Intercession in Harlem. The series features intimate performances by some of the world’s top classical music and opera stars, with programs tailored to the crypt’s extraordinary atmosphere and remarkable acoustic.
We were invited to see Canadian-born violinist Lara St. John who has been described as “something of a phenomenon” by The Strad and a “high-powered soloist” by the New York Times. She brought along Matt Herskowitz who over the course of the last decade has produced a series of critically-acclaimed recordings, premiered his works in settings from New York’s Central Park to Germany’s Köln Philharmonie, collaborated with top classical, jazz and pop artists, and has performed at music festivals across the globe. Needless to say, we cannot thank Andrew Ousley enough for the invitation. It was an unforgettable experience that we can’t wait to have again.
The night started off with a reception catered by Ward 8 Events that included delicious bites, dips and wine to get the evening started. After about an hour of getting to know each other, we all walked outside of the Church, through the elementary and down to the crypt. In case, you don’t know what a crypt is, we Googled it for you: ‘A crypt is a stone chamber beneath the floor of a church or other building. It typically contains coffins, sarcophagi, or religious relics.’ Again, not your typical classical music venue.
As we sat down, we could not help but be transported in time, both in venue and in music. It was a beautiful experience that the venue captured magnificently. Lara and Matt played for just over an hour and took us to Macedonia, Levant, Romania, Israel, Armenia, Russia and Hungary. It was an incredible experience that took place in the most unsuspecting space.
We love New York and do what we do because of our never-ending search to find events like this. Andrew Ousley put together something special; an experience that could only take place in a certain venue on a certain night with a certain crown in front of a certain performance. And, he nailed it. The only problem is getting tickets! We recommend that you visit deathofclassical.com immediately and sign up for their waiting list. Keep an eye out for an email as the event sells out within an hour! Sources tell us that the next venue is in the catacombs at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. Get on that list!
Photo Credit: Andrew Ousley of Unison Media