The Amor Artis Chorus and Orchestra has been one of New York's beloved institutions for more than fifty years. It gained renown as a pioneer of the early music revival in the United States and for performing Baroque masterworks in period-instrument style. It has performed and recorded a great range of standard and lesser-known repertoire, and has premiered many important works for New York audiences. It commissions new pieces and revives old ones.
Amor Artis has issued more than fifty recordings, spanning works of five centuries, and has won five Record-of-the-Year awards from Stereo Review. It has recorded on seven labels, including its own Amor Artis Edition, and has performed in the city’s most important concert halls. Under its founder, Johannes Somary, it issued the first recordings ever of Handel’s oratorios Theodora and Jephtha and was the first group in New York to perform Bach’s Mass in B minor with a period-instrument orchestra. It has toured Europe many times and performed in more than twenty countries. It has also served as the choir in residence for three prominent Manhattan churches.
Amor Artis has always given wide scope to the meaning of its name—love of art. A single season of concerts is enough to suggest the path-breaking richness of its programming: The group commemorated the 90th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth in a sold-out concert at the Jewish Museum (praised by The New Yorker); performed the first part of the Messiah in a “rush hour” concert at a church near Grand Central Station (praised by The New York Times); and helped celebrate Rossini’s 150th birthday with selections from his best-loved operas—all within the space of a few weeks.
We are an institution New Yorkers look to for solace and meaning. When memorials were held in Yankee Stadium and St. Patrick’s Cathedral after 9/11, Amor Artis was there, making music with renowned musicians from around the world.
Founded with all professional musicians, the Amor Artis Chorus has grown to include both pros and skilled amateurs, united in their devotion to an art that will outlive them. Led by an able young director, Ryan Brandau, they are showing that this devotion—this music—endures beyond any one person. So long as there are people, so long will there be love of art: Amor Artis.