The only professional American symphony orchestra to house itself in a cathedral, specifically Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey.
In 1977, they and The Cathedral Choir released A Christmas Masterpiece: Handel’s Messiah.
They became the first orchestra from New Jersey to take up a summer residence, in Ocean Grove, California. One of their first concerts there took place on 15th August 1985, with special guests, Eric and Oscar Shumsky, an all-Mozart affair that comprised the master’s La Finta Semplice overture, “Sinfonia Concertante”, and “Symphony No. 29 in A major, K. 201”.
On 1st June 1986, they capped off their season with Aaron Copland’s “Concerto for Clarinet”, Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings”, and Carl Maria von Weber’s “Quintet in B flat for Clarinet and Strings”. Avery Fisher Prize-winning clarinetist Richard Stoltzman was the featured soloist.
Met bass Jerome Hines joined them and the Columbia University Glee Club on 1stFebruary 1987 for music from Modest Moussorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov and Sergei Prokofiev’s score of Ivan the Terrible.
On 18th April 1987, they again collaborated with the Columbia University Glee Club, as well as David Eisler and the Drew University Chroale in a performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass at Alice Tully Hall in New York.
They teamed up with The American Boychoir and the New York Vocal Consort for the 1987 stocking stuffer, On Christmas Day.
On 16th October 1988, they reunited with the Drew University Chorale, Met Opera mezzo-soprano Jacalyn Bower and pianist Zenaida Manfugas for an afternoon of music by Johannes Brahms, including his “Alto Rhapsody”, “Piano Concerto No. 1 in D”, and “Symphony No. 3”.
They celebrated New Year’s Eve 1988 with soprano Evelyn de la Rosa, who sang selections from Johann Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus. The mostly-Viennese program also featured music by Franz Joseph Haydn, Franz Lehar, and Mozart.
On 23rd May 2006, they were joined by members of the Archdiocese of Newark choirs at the Archdiocesan Choral Festival for Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy” and Antonin Dvorak’s Mass in D major.
The Cathedral Choir and Symphony Orchestra mounted a full production of Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites on 24th May 2007.
On 7th May 2010, they reunited with Archdiocesan choristers at the Archdiocesan Choral Festival, and in tandem with the Newark Chapter of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, offered up Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem.
American Boychoir recordings
O Come All Ye Faithful (Frederick Oakeley/John Francis Wade)
Ocaso HR002 (CD: On Christmas Day)
Conductor – James Litton
Music – Cathedral Symphony Orchestra and New York Vocal Consort