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Trinity Church Announces New Music Leader Following Leadership Change

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For greater than 20 months, the acclaimed music program at Trinity Church, certainly one of New York’s wealthiest and strongest church buildings, has had no everlasting chief.

The final individual to carry that place, Julian Wachner, was fired final 12 months after being accused of sexual misconduct, a cost he has denied. Since then, the church has relied on visitor conductors and employees members to assist fill the hole. But on Monday, Trinity introduced that it had discovered a brand new chief: Melissa Attebury, the director of the church’s music training and outreach efforts.

“This is a calling, and I feel very compelled and very excited about doing this,” she stated in an interview.

Attebury will take the rostrum in the beginning of the 2024-25 season, and would be the first lady to carry the place within the church’s 326-year historical past. She stated that whereas she was honored to be a part of the milestone, “my work won’t be focused on the fact that I’m a woman.”

Trinity’s leaders praised Attebury, describing her as a collaborative chief who might assist information the music program in a second of transition. A singer and pianist by coaching, she joined Trinity’s choir in 2006 earlier than rising up the executive ranks.

In an interview, the Rev. Phillip A. Jackson, Trinity’s rector, stated that Attebury “just has Trinity in her bones.”

“She already has brought and will continue to bring stability to the role,” he added.

Trinity’s music program — a choir, a Baroque orchestra and Novus NY, a up to date ensemble, which collectively current lots of of occasions every year — has been in a state of uncertainty since March 2022, when the church fired Wachner after a former Juilliard School worker, Mary Poole, publicly accused him of kissing and groping her at a music competition in 2014, and stated that he ignored her calls for that he cease. Wachner has disputed Poole’s account, saying that whereas they briefly kissed, the encounter was consensual.

Attebury, who has appeared through the years as a vocal soloist with the Trinity ensembles, stated that regardless of its latest challenges, the standard of the music program had not suffered. “We have built a very strong leadership team within the music department,” she stated.

As director of music, she stated, she hopes to convey extra hardly ever carried out works to the stage. Next fall, for instance, the ensembles will carry out Alessandro Scarlatti’s “Saint Cecilia” Mass. And she is going to search to broaden Trinity’s education schemes, which serve about 750 kids in eight public faculties.

“I’m very focused,” she stated, “on raising up the next generation of church musicians.”

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