San Francisco Chronicle
“Wachner … shaped the entire evening with an eye to giving these familiar strains new and vivid life. Not a chorus, not a solo aria, not an orchestral interlude sounded casual or pro forma — every moment crackled with interpretive energy.”
The New York Times
“This is the best ‘Messiah’ in New York.”
The New Yorker
“Julian Wachner, Trinity’s Director of Music and the Arts, brought out the tortured beauty of the piece, leading the unflappable musicians of the Trinity Choir and of Novus N.Y., the church’s in-house contemporary ensemble, with palpable enthusiasm.”
Multi-GRAMMY-nominated conductor, composer, and keyboardist Julian Wachner—named one of Musical America’s Top 30 Professionals of 2018—serves as director of music at Trinity Church Wall Street, overseeing an annual season of hundreds of events at Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel. Wachner served for nine seasons as the music director of the GRAMMY Award-winning Washington Chorus, with whom he won ASCAP’s Alice Parker Award for adventurous programming and Chorus America’s Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence. In March 2018, Wachner was appointed artistic director of Michigan’s Grand Rapids Bach Festival, where he led the 12th biennial festival.
In addition to programming and conducting the music for weekly services at Trinity Church Wall Street, Wachner conducts Trinity’s celebrated Bach + One series, leads the innovative improvised Compline by Candlelight, and curates festivals including Time’s Arrow and the new 12 Nights Festival. Performances and services are webcast live in HD and are available for on-demand viewing on Trinity’s website. Wachner serves as principal conductor of Trinity’s resident contemporary music orchestra NOVUS NY, the Trinity Baroque Orchestra, and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street; and as an organist he gives recitals in the Pipes at One series at St. Paul’s Chapel.
Highlights of Wachner’s current season include a “Season Opener” celebration showcasing some of the works Trinity helped to incubate over the last decade, among them three Pulitzer Prize winners; and the new “12 Nights Festival:” 16 concerts in 12 days with highlights including Handel’s Deborah, a complete cycle of Beethoven string quartets, Bach’s complete Brandenburg Concertos, and a performance of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s five-act opera Dardanus. Outside the church walls, Wachner, NOVUS NY, and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street follow up last season’s world premiere of Ellen Reid’s p r i s m with two fully-staged spring performances at Washington’s Kennedy Center. With the Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Wachner and the choir give Bach performances in Montreal’s Salle Bourgie and at the Leipzig Bach Festival. Wachner also conducts Du Yun’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Angel’s Bone as the highlight of the opera offerings at the Beijing Music Festival, before leading the West Coast premiere of the work at LA Opera in the spring.
Wachner also enjoys an active schedule as a guest conductor. Orchestral engagements have included performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra; Montreal, Pacific, Calgary, and Pittsburgh Symphonies; New York Philharmonic; Seraphic Fire; National Arts Centre Orchestra; Philharmonia Baroque; Hong Kong Philharmonic; Bang on a Can All-Stars; and Apollo’s Fire. He has conducted at San Francisco Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Hawaii Opera Theater, Juilliard Opera Theater, and New York City Opera, as well as for Carnegie Hall Presents, National Sawdust, and the Lincoln Center Festival.
As a composer, Wachner was an artist-in-residence at National Sawdust during the 2018-19 season, and the previous season saw a considerable enlargement of his extensive catalogue of more than 100 works. Premiered works included Gaudé: An LB Anniversary for Large Orchestra, commissioned by the Colorado Music Festival; TS Variations, commissioned by the Royal College of Canadian Organists; and Psalm 90, composed for the combined forces of The Tallis Scholars, Norwegian Soloists Choir, Netherlands Chamber Choir, and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street for Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival. His Regina Coeli à 8 was recorded by London’s ORA Singers on the Harmonia Mundi label, before the piece was given its U.S. premiere by The Choir of Trinity Wall Street under Wachner’s direction. He composed his Epistle Mass in collaboration with librettist Royce Vavrek for Trinity’s “Mass Reimaginings” project; and the premiere of his festival setting of the hymn I’ll Praise My Maker was performed at the opening ceremony of the American Guild of Organists Regional Convention.
Crowning these works was the world premiere of Wachner’s second full-length opera, REV. 23, in Boston, composed to an original text by Boston creator and librettist Cerise Lim Jacobs that was conceived as a comedic fable about Armageddon. The opera’s New York premiere will be at the Gerald Lynch Theater during the 2020 Prototype Festival.
The current season sees the release of five major albums featuring Wachner as conductor: Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 5 on the composer’s Orange Mountain Music label; Ellen Reid’s p r i s m, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Music, on Decca Gold; Epistle, a compilation featuring his own compositions Epistle, Inverted Sky, and Gaudé, along with David T. Little’s Am I Born and shape note selections, on the Acis label; a new composer portrait titled LUNA PEARL WOOLF: Fire and Flood on the Pentatone label’s Oxingale Series, also featuring cellist Matt Haimovitz; and Edward Thomas’s new opera Anna Christie on Broadway Records. In 2017, Wachner, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and NOVUS NY released a recording of Du Yun and Royce Vavrek’s opera Angel’s Bone, winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Music. Other releases include the GRAMMY-nominated recording of Handel’s Israel in Egypt and the GRAMMY-nominated world premiere recording of Julia Wolfe’s 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winner Anthracite Fields. Wachner has also recorded on the Chandos, Naxos, Atma Classique, Erato, Cantaloupe Music, ARSIS, Dorian, and Musica Omnia labels. His music is published exclusively by E.C. Schirmer, and he is represented worldwide by Opus 3 Artists.