Multi-Grammy-nominated Julian Wachner’s 2017-18 season was punctuated by an extensive outburst of compositional creativity including “Gaudé: An LB Anniversary for Large Orchestra”, commissioned by the Colorado Music Festival; “TS Variations”, commissioned by the Royal College of Canadian Organists; “Psalm 90”, composed for The Tallis Scholars, Norwegian Soloists Choir, Netherlands Chamber Choir, and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street for Lincoln Center’s White Lights Festival; “Regina Coeli à 8” for the Ora Singer’s “ORA100” recording project with Harmonia Mundi; “Epistle Mass”, written in collaboration with librettist Royce Vavrek for Trinity Wall Street’s Mass Reimaginings project; and a festival setting of “I’ll Praise my Maker” which was premiered at the opening ceremony of the American Guild of Organists Regional Convention in Richmond, Virginia.
Wachner’s other compositional work has been variously described as “jazzy, energetic, and ingenious,” (Boston Globe), having “splendor, dignity, outstanding tone combinations, sophisticated chromatic exploration…a rich backdrop, wavering between a glimmer and a tingle...,” (La Scena Musicale) being “a compendium of surprises,” (Washington Post) and as “bold and atmospheric,” while having “an imaginative flair for allusive text setting,” and noted for “the silken complexities of his harmonies” (New York Times). The American Record Guide noted that, “Wachner is both an unapologetic modernist and an open-minded eclectic – his music has something to say.”
As Director of Music at New York’s historic Trinity Church Wall Street, Wachner oversees an annual season of hundreds of events, with duties including conducting Trinity’s flagship weekly series, Bach-at-One, canvassing the entire choral-orchestral output of J. S. Bach, and leading Compline-by-Candlelight, Trinity’s innovative fully-improvised variation on an ancient monastic ritual. In addition, Wachner curates the long-standing and cherished series Concerts-at-One, presenting an eclectic program of weekly concerts for Lower Manhattan and beyond through its HD live webcasting. Also at Trinity Wall Street, Wachner serves as the Principal Conductor of NOVUS NY (Trinity’s resident contemporary music orchestra), the Trinity Baroque Orchestra, and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street.
An award-winning organist and improvisateur, Wachner’s solo recital at the Spoleto Festival USA featured an improvised finale that inspired one reviewer to conclude, “this stupefying wizardry was the hit of the recital, and it had to be heard to be believed,” (Post and Courier, South Carolina). As a concert pianist, in his recent Kennedy Center Rachmaninoff performance, the Washington Post noted, “Wachner dazzled with some bravura keyboard work, both in the rhapsodic accompaniments to the songs and…in the highly virtuosic transcription of the Dances."
Photo by Peter Adamik