In the 50th anniversary year of the Paul Winter Consort, seven-time Grammy®-winning saxophonist/bandleader Paul Winter will present his 24th Annual Summer Solstice Celebration at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th St., at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 22, 2019.
This year’s Summer Solstice Celebration will be dedicated to renowned architect I.M. Pei, who recently passed away at the age of 102. Pei was the designer of the Miho Museum in the Shigaraki Mountains of Japan, where the Consort recorded their Grammy-winning album Miho: Journey to the Mountain.
A musician’s and music lover’s dream, the Summer Solstice Celebration is a one-of-a-kind experience showcasing extraordinary musicianship in the awe-inspiring setting and titanic acoustics of the world’s largest cathedral. Paul Winter’s soprano saxophone will be heard with a new, “summer” Winter Consort that will include euphonium virtuoso Clark Goering, masterful Bansuri flutist Steve Gorn, and pianist Jeff Holmes, with Tim Brumfield on the Cathedral’s organ. A deep-toned Balinese gong will also be part of the music, representing the resonance of the Sun.
Bansuri flutist Steve Gorn has studied in India over the past four decades and was featured in the Consort’s album Miho: Journey to the Mountain.
Notes Paul Winter, “Steve Gorn’s wooden Bansuri, the traditional flute of India, is played in a very vocal way, and to me sounds like liquid light.”
Paul Winter and Jeff Holmes are composing new music for the event, which will also feature voices from what Winter calls “the greater symphony of the Earth,” including the pied butcherbird of Australia, the elephant, and the wood thrush.
Paul Winter ponders, “I wonder if in this deep-listening immersion experience, within the stone walls of this canyonesque temple, we might be able to have, even for a fleeting moment, a sense of the greater perspective of the miracle of the cosmos, and of our multi-faceted journey through it with the Sun.”
A floor section for yoga mats will again be provided this year. Audience members may bring their own mats or cushions for yoga or meditation during the performance.
Paul Winter speaks of the uniqueness of this event:
“Summer Solstice is one of the great turning points of the year, when the sun is at its peak and the days abound with the promise of life’s fullness,” Winter says. “My dream, with this sunrise celebration, is to offer an experience of this resonance, in the mystical ambience of these early morning hours, through a deep listening journey within the profound vastness of the largest cathedral in the world.”
Why 4:30 a.m.?
“When I’m awake in the darkness before dawn – as the birds begin to sing, and the Earth prepares for the Sun – I feel as if life is beginning again. There’s something magical about that virginal time, when we’re free of our habitual patterns and obligations. My dream of evoking this feeling in music was the original inspiration for our Summer Solstice Celebration.”
All are invited to a free tea reception in the Nave of the Cathedral following the concert.