Music Directors

2011 - Present Mark Shapiro

1965 - 2010 David Randolph

195? - 1965 David L. Buttolph

1942 - 195? Hugh Ross

1937 - 1942 Willard Sektberg

1936 - 1937 Leon Barzin

1906 - 1936 Victor Harris


2014 - World premiere in Carnegie Hall of Tom Cipullo’s Credo for a Secular City

2013 - New York premiere in Carnegie Hall of the Mass in D (1891) by Dame Ethel Smyth

2012 - World premiere of our first-ever commissioned work for Carnegie Hall, Divis Ceteraby Raphael Fusco

2006 - Creation of The Second Century Fund

1988 - First appearance as the South Street Seaport's Singing Christmas Tree

1969 - First performance at Carnegie Hall

1965 - Transformation to a mixed chorus begins

1922 - New York premiere of Mahler Symphony no. 3

1906 - The St. Cecilia Chorus was established


The Cecilia Chorus of New York has been directed by Maestro Mark Shapiro since 2011.  Under his dynamic leadership, the Chorus is experiencing vigorous artistic and institutional growth, achieving many firsts.  In 2012 the Chorus premiered its first-ever commissioned work for a Carnegie Hall performance, the cantata An Ode from Horace: Divis Cetera by Raphael Fusco.  This milestone led to a second commission, Tom Cipullo’s Credo for a Secular City, which received its world premiere in Carnegie Hall in 2014.  Other notable accomplishments include the long-delayed New York premiere in 2013 of the Mass in D by Dame Ethel Smyth, which the composer completed in 1891; and a rare revival of The Christmas Story (1949) by neglected American master composer Peter Mennin, a former president of The Juilliard School.

A secular, unaffiliated organization, The Cecilia Chorus of New York was founded in 1906 as The St. Cecilia Chorus by Metropolitan Opera coach Victor Harris, as a 17-member women’s chorus.  In 1922 the Chorus appeared with The Philharmonic Society of New York under Willem Mengelberg in the first New York performances of Mahler's Symphony No. 3, in both the old Metropolitan Opera House and Carnegie Hall.  Harris continued as the Chorus’s conductor until 1936; his successors included Leon Barzin and Hugh Ross.

From 1965 until his death in 2010, the chorus was led by the distinguished broadcaster, writer, conductor and composer David Randolph.  During Maestro Randolph’s remarkable tenure, The Cecilia Chorus of New York achieved important milestones and enjoyed prominent collaborations.  Notable performances include a concert presented by Oxford University Press to celebrate the 500thanniversary of its founding, and the North American premieres of Fanny Mendelssohn’s Oratorium nach Bildern der Bibel and a Mass by Antonio Salieri, with playwright Peter Shaffer, the author of Amadeus, in attendance.   The Cecilia Chorus of New York has also premiered works by Mrs. H.H.A. Beach, Deems Taylor, Virgil Thomson, and many others.

The Cecilia Chorus of New York has performed under the conductors John Alldis, Lukas Foss, John Nelson, and Romano Gandolfi of La Scala.   Members of The Cecilia Chorus of New York appeared in the filmThe Preacher’s Wife, participated in a recording with Liza Minnelli to support AIDS research, and performed at the United Nations.

Since 1969 the Chorus has presented semi-annual concerts at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall; several of the Carnegie Hall concerts have been broadcast by radio station WNYC. The Cecilia Chorus of New York Collection of Recorded Concerts as well as the David Randolph Collection of the maestro’s scores and other documents now enjoy a permanent home in the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.

In July 2011, Mark Shapiro was appointed the seventh Music Director of The Cecilia Chorus of New York.