Zachary Nelson, Baritone

Zachary Nelson, Baritone

Bloch sacred service
bernstein chichester psalms

Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 8pm
Concert at The Church of the Ascension, Fifth Ave at Tenth Street, NYC

Featuring Baritone Zachary Nelson

Commissioned in 1965 by the Cathedral at Chichester, England, for its annual choral festival, American composer Leonard Bernstein described his Chichester Psalms as “popular in feeling,” with “sweetness along with more violent moments.” Despite its brevity, the work possesses considerable scope, journeying through extroverted joy, prayer, anxiety, the warring of nations, and, with the last phrases of music, peace. And, while it is a setting of sacred Hebrew psalms, the Bernstein of West Side Story is unmistakably present.

Ernest Bloch’s 1934 Sacred Service (“Avodath Hakodesh”) constitutes a milestone in the history of liturgical music: Sacred Service is the only composition on a large scale written for Jewish worship by a major composer. Built upon the text for the Sabbath Morning Service, its inspiration emerges from the human spirit, and as was Bloch’s hope, it transcends and embraces all humanity. Singing the central cantorial solo will be the brilliant young American baritone, Zachary Nelson.


Zachary Nelson, a native of Annapolis, Maryland, has been praised for his rich and powerful baritone, as well as his ability to embody dramatic and comic characters on the operatic stage. The 2016-2017 season brings debuts at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Donner in Das Rheingold and Enrico Ashton (cover) in Lucia di Lammermoor, Escamillo in Carmen with Den Norske Opera, and a fourth season with the Santa Fe Opera as Enrico Ashton in Lucia di Lammermoor.

A graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, PA, Mr. Nelson performed many roles including: Belcore in L'Elisir D'Amore, Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera, the title role in Falstaff, Michele in Il Tabarro, Sancho Panza in Don Quichotte, Mandryka in Arabella, Golaud in Pelléas et Mélisande, and Masetto in Don Giovanni. Mr. Nelson is also a graduate of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Awards Mr. Neslon has garnered are: The George London Award from the 2012 George London Foundation, 1st prize prize from the 2012 Opera Index Competition, The 2012 Liederkranz Foundation Competition (General Opera Division), and the 2012 Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation. Also, 2nd prize from the 2011 Gerda Lissner Competition, the 2011 Giulio Gari Foundation, and the 2011 Loren Zachary Competition.