On May 3, 2019, The Cecilia Chorus of New York, led by Music Director Mark Shapiro, performed three works for chorus, mezzo-soprano solo and orchestra: Brahms Alto Rhapsody, Elgar The Music Makers, and the premiere of Fifty Trillion Molecular Geniuses by The Brothers Balliett, on words by TED speaker and best-selling author Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor (My Stroke of Insight). Soloists were Renée Tatum (Brahms), Amanda Lynn Bottoms (Balliett), and Naomi Louisa O’Connell (Elgar).

Dr. Taylor attended the performance and was memorably serenaded by chorus, soloist, orchestra, and audience in a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday,” as the concert took place on the eve of her sixtieth birthday.


“Congratulations to all on an epic concert and massive success.”

“The performance was outstandingly beautiful. We had such a spiritual and profound experience like it is very rare to see nowadays.”

“The three offerings complemented one another wonderfully. An evening of beautiful music, singing, conducting.”

“Marvelous programming. So engaging from the first piece to the closing notes.”

“Impressive soloists!”

“The chorus has never sounded crisper, clearer…so engaging.”

“The Balliett piece was a new masterpiece.”

“Terrific concert. The Elgar was wonderful!”

“Bravo on a wonderful concert at Carnegie Hall. The Brothers Balliett piece was fascinating and the men’s chorus in the Brahms was luscious. All of it, quite splendid.”

“The concert was one of the best your chorus has ever presented. Highlighting the mezzo-soprano in a triptych of works was such a unique idea. Superb. And the Balliett piece was totally terrific: whimsical and fun and elegant all at once.”

“What a treat! Haunting, powerful, and soothing - all that!

“The concert last night was breathtakingly beautiful!”

“We loved the chorus; their sound was beautiful. Thanks so much for a splendid concert.”

“We loved being in the audience Friday!  My friends knew the Brahms and the Elgar and both pieces are favorites of theirs. They were thrilled to hear them again, and to hear them so beautifully performed”

“Really superb! What a sublime treat.”

“What a glorious concert! Bravo!”

“Jill Taylor must be a very happy woman to have heard her ordeal recounted so beautifully.”

“I was at your concert last night. Work of Art. Congratulations.”

“Fifty Trillion Molecular Geniuses completely blew me and my friend away. What a piece! What a performance!”

“What a thrilling concert...absolutely beautiful! Great achievement.”

“I was especially moved and actually astonished at how beautiful the Balliett piece was.”

“The entire evening was terrific.”

“I never heard the chorus sound so much like one voice as I did during the Elgar.”

“Wonderful program last night!! Possibly my favorite.”

“The Balliett work is mind-blowing. Putting a stroke to music is such an amazing idea. The words, the soloist, and the chorus were powerful.”

“What a great concert last night! The Brahms and Elgar were gorgeous and I really loved the Brothers Balliett piece.”

“Thank you for a beautiful and touching evening of music. Bravi!”

“What a unique experience!”

“The new piece was just wild, with alternating patterns of beauty and weird effects. The Elgar (delivering  the beautifully de-gendered O’Shaughnessy text) gave me the purest dose of sound the Cecilia Chorus can produce. That’s when I lose myself in imagining I’m there, in the choral folds.”

“The show last night was phenomenal!! It was incredible to hear Dr. Taylor’s writing put to music and to experience the symbolism in the other pieces. I was speechless.”

“The Elgar was truly beautiful.”

“You delivered a wonderful evening. The soloists were magnificent. The chorus rose to every occasion and sounded strong and tender and clean and rich-in-tone. It was a beautiful concert.”

“Congratulations on achieving this wonderful event. It was a great message of hope and inspiration throughout the entire evening.”