The Cathedral Music staff bring professional and education experience that add depth and range to the Music program.
Kent TritleDirector of Cathedral Music & Organist
Kent Tritle is one of America’s leading choral conductors. Called “the brightest star in New York's choral music world” by The New York Times, he is Director of Cathedral Music and Organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City; Music Director of the Oratorio Society of New York, the acclaimed 200-voice volunteer chorus; and Music Director of Musica Sacra, New York’s longest continuously performing professional chorus.
In addition, Kent is Director of Choral Activities at the Manhattan School of Music and is a member of the graduate faculty of The Juilliard School. An acclaimed organ virtuoso, he is also the organist of the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra and on the organ faculty of the Manhattan School of Music.
Kent Tritle founded the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space concert series at New York’s Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, and led it from 1989 to 2011. From 1996 to 2004, he was Music Director of New York’s The Dessoff Choirs. Kent hosted “The Choral Mix with Kent Tritle,” a weekly program on New York’s WQXR, from 2010 to 2014. Kent Tritle’s discography includes recordings on the Telarc, AMDG, Epiphany, Gothic, Pro Organo, VAI and MSR Classics labels.
Raymond NagemAssociate Director of Music & Organist
Raymond Nagem is Associate Director of Music and Organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, and a member of the organ faculty at Manhattan School of Music, where he teaches organ literature, service playing, and improvisation. He completed his D.M.A. at The Juilliard School in May 2016, where he was a student of Paul Jacobs.
A native of Medford, Mass., Dr. Nagem attended the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School and began organ lessons there with John Dunn. He earned his B. A. from Yale University in 2009, as a double major in Music and Psychology, and studied the organ with Thomas Murray, and his M. A. in 2011 from Juilliard. He has worked since 2010 at St. John the Divine, where he has primary responsibility for service playing and choral accompaniment and frequently conducts the cathedral’s several choral ensembles. In addition to these duties, he performs in recital both in New York and across the country.
Highlights for the 2018–19 season include an October recital featuring Karg-Elert’s magnificent and rarely played Organ Symphony, a performance of J. S. Bach’s complete Orgelbüchlein at St. John the Divine, as well as recitals at St. Thomas Fifth Avenue, Trinity College, Hartford, and the Geneva Music Festival. Dr. Nagem’s album Divine Splendor is available on the Pro Organo label.
Bryan ZarosAssociate Choirmaster
Bryan Zaros is a young American conductor recognized for his “strong musical imagination” and “deep sense of musicality and communication.” A native New Yorker, Bryan began his professional musical training as a member of the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus and as a boy chorister and Assistant Choirmaster at The Church of the Transfiguration, NYC. He is the Music Director of the Pro Arte Chorale, an ensemble with a 55-year legacy specializing in the performance of choral/orchestral masterworks, a lecturer at the Manhattan School of Music and is active as a coach and clinician of ensembles in the USA and Europe.
Recent conducting engagements have included invitations with choirs and orchestras in England, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, Sweden, Argentina, Greece, Slovenia, Ireland and Romania. Most notably he has conducted performances at Alice Tully Hall-Lincoln Center, the American Choral Director’s Association Conferences and at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. He is a recipient of several national grants and conducting awards including an American Prize award in Conducting.
Previously, Bryan served as the conductor of the Archdiocesan Choir and Orchestra at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph, Hartford, Connecticut; on the faculty at The Hartt School-University of Hartford and as the Director of Choral Activities at Avon Old Farms School, an exclusive all male boarding college preparatory school in Avon, Connecticut. He received a Bachelor of Music in Sacred Music from Westminster Choir College and a Master of Music in Conducting from the University of Michigan. He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting at the Manhattan School of Music.
Bryan began his tenure as the Associate Choirmaster at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in August 2016 and made his conducting debut with the Cathedral’s Choirs leading them in performance at Westminster Abbey, London. For more information about Bryan, visit bryanzaros.com.
Christina KayMusic Administrator
Soprano Christina Kay’s sharp ear and intimate approach enable her to thrive in both solo and ensemble settings. Her love of opera and fascination with contemporary repertoire have afforded her unconventional opportunities. Most memorably, she appeared as Morman actress-turned-porn-star Daphne Blueberry in the 2019 premiere performance of David Chesky’s satirical opera, La Farranucci. In 2018, Christina made her European debut performing John Cage's Song Books and Julius Eastman's Macle at New Opera Days Ostrava. Also in 2018, she debuted with S.E.M. Ensemble singing the leading role in Petr Kotik's chamber opera, Master-Pieces, for which she was praised as portraying a "vital, intelligent, generous and deeply rewarding" Gertrude Stein (Theater Scene). The show's success led to a subsequent performance at the Ostrava in Prague Festival in November 2018.
Christina's skill with late-Renaissance and Baroque repertoire has taken her to notable summer festivals, including the Carmel Bach Festival's Virginia Best Adams Masterclass, the American Bach Soloists Academy, and the Baroque Opera Workshop at Queens College, where she now serves as Program Administrator. As an ensemble singer, Christina performs with The American Classical Orchestra, ARTEK, GRAMMY® nominated True Concord Voices & Orchestra, and the professional Chamber Choir at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church.
In addition to singing, Christina has enjoyed a variety of part-time arts administration positions. Most recently, she was Development Assistant at Kaufman Music Center and Booking Manager for the world folk band Asaran Earth Trio. Christina completed her undergraduate studies at Gettysburg College/Sunderman Conservatory, and received an M.M. in Vocal Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She currently studies voice with Deborah Birnbaum and is enjoying learning alto and soprano recorders. christinakaysoprano.com
Jie YiMusic Administrator
Jie Yi holds a Doctor of Music Arts degree in conducting from Manhattan School of Music, studying with Kent Tritle. He is the author of Chinese for Singers, the first comprehensive guide for Western singers to use in singing Chinese texts. Dr. Yi is a recipient of the Asian Culture Council Fellowship (2011) and the U.S. China Cultural Institute Fellowship for Young Conductors (2006). In China, he was Chorus Master and Assistant Conductor at the Shanghai Opera from 2008 to 2013.
Dr. Yi conducted Messe de Minuit by Charpentier, Musikalische Exequien by Schütz, and Missa O quam gloriosum by Victoria at the Cathedral in 2018 and 2019. He also conducted Handel’s coronation anthem Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened at Riverside Church in 2018. In 2017, he conducted Bach’s St. John Passion (excerpts) at the Oregon Bach Festival. In 2015, he made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting Xian Xinghai’s Yellow River Cantata with DCINY. In 2011, he participated in the Jarvi Summer Festival in Estonia. In France, Dr. Yi studied with John Nelson and was a semi-finalist of the Besançon International Competition for Young Conductors (2007).
As pianist and vocal coach, Dr. Yi performed at La Lingua della Lirica Festival in Italy (2015– 16) and performed Bellini’s opera I Capuletti e i Montecchi at Manhattan School of Music (2013).
Samuel Kuffuor-AfriyieOrgan Scholar
Samuel Kuffuor-Afriyie is a native of Brooklyn, NY and is currently an MBA candidate at Syracuse University. He earned his B.M in Organ performance and minor in Economics from Syracuse University in 2020, studying with Dr. Anne Laver. Over the last few years, he was the recipient of many scholarship awards such as, the Brooklyn chapter American Guild of Organist scholarship award and the Gregory R. Keefe Memorial Scholarship by the Syracuse Chapter of the American Guild of Organist. Samuel was also an E. Power Biggs Organ fellow through the Organ Historical Society.
Samuel’s Ghanaian heritage has led him to embark on two major projects in his career thus far. He was awarded a grant through Syracuse University’s THE SOURCE foundation to conduct research on Ghanaian traditional music to be later adapted as new compositions for the Organ. The project was presented in lecture presentation in May of 2020. Samuel is working to publish those works as an organ suite. In parallel, he also founded and coordinated The Accra Organ and Choral Music Institute, now known as the Rural Arts Foundation in August of 2019. This event was a weeklong encounter that brought together guest clinicians from the US to conduct workshops and masterclasses on Choral Conducting, Organ Playing and Voice.
Samuel serves as Organ Scholar at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City. He has held other various church positions at St. Leonard’s Anglican Church and Ghana Wesley United Methodist, both in Brooklyn. Grace Episcopal, and director of music for the Syracuse University Catholic Campus Ministry in Syracuse, NY. He wishes to inspire and mentor youth through his music, primarily in the field of the Arts, especially minorities. Samuel enjoys traveling and eating!
For questions or information about the music program, please contact [email protected].