Throughout its 175-year history, music has held a place of high esteem in the rich life of St. Bartholomew’s Church. Some of the greatest names in American church music, including Leopold Stokowski, David McK. Williams and Harold Friedell have served as past Directors of Music.
William K. Trafka carried that tradition forward as Director of Music, organist, and Artistic Director of the Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation (MMPAF), the engine behind the midtown concert series, Great Music at St. Bart's, for more than 30 years until his retirement in 2018.
Sacred music at St. Bart’s reflects the diversity of our worship styles but is firmly rooted in the Anglican choral tradition. There are many opportunities for musicians of all ages and abilities, regardless of religious affiliation, to participate in this extensive choral program. In addition, the Summer Festival of Sacred Music, offering great settings of the Mass, takes place each Sunday morning at 11 am at St. Bartholomew's Church during the summer months.
St. Bartholomew's is also a center of music outside the liturgical realm. The Great Music series offers outstanding concerts of choral and organ works in the church and chamber music in the chapel. In addition to performances by St. Bartholomew's Choir, Boy and Girl Choristers and resident organists, past concerts have included performances by the Tallis Scholars, the choirs of Canterbury Cathedral, St. John's College in Cambridge and St. Paul's Cathedral.
The church's Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ, the largest in New York City and one of the great examples of the American Classic organ, is central to the liturgical and concert life of the church.