Musicians in Residence

St. John’s Episcopal Church is both visually and sonically beautiful – the perfect venue for concerts of many types. In addition to the concerts of our Music at the Red Door series, St. John’s the musical home of a number of artists and ensembles.

Christa Rakich, Organ Artist-in-Residence

Christa Rakich recently retired from a position as Music Director at St. Mark the Evangelist Church in West Hartford. She lives in Bloomfield and maintains an active career as a performer and recording artist. She has served on the faculties of Westminster Choir College, Brandeis University, New England Conservatory, and the University of Connecticut, and as Assistant University Organist at Harvard. Previous Artist-in-Residencies have included the University of Pennsylvania and First Lutheran Church in Boston.

As a Fulbright Scholar, Christa studied for two years with Anton Heiller at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, Austria. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Organ and German from Oberlin College, where she was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. After receipt of her Master’s degree with honors from New England Conservatory, she was asked to join the faculty there, serving ultimately as department co-chair.

A prizewinner at international organ competitions (notably Bruges 1976), Rakich has received particular acclaim for her interpretations of the music of J.S. Bach. With keyboardist Peter Sykes, she performed a complete cycle of Bach’s keyboard works in a series of 34 concerts aptly named Tuesdays With Sebastian.  The concerts raised a total of $20,000 for Boston area charities.

With keyboardist Susan Ferré, Rakich is a founding performer of the Big Moose Bach Festival in Berlin, New Hampshire. The festival presents cantatas, chamber music and keyboard music of J.S. Bach in rural New Hampshire each summer. As Vice-President of the Boston Clavichord Society, Rakich also pursues an active interest in the clavichord.

The New World Trio, Ensemble-in-Residence

For more than three decades, the New World Trio has brought the excitement and intimacy of chamber music to live audiences throughout New England. Founded in 1985 by violinist Anhared Stowe, New World provides a unique experience for music lovers with its mix of both standard repertoire and contemporary works. With each performance, New World brings new vitality to established masterworks; these are paired with contemporary pieces, with each complementing the other in depth and beauty. “…New World has been (Hartford’s) one reliable source of chamber music since its founding…” says the Hartford Courant. The New World Trio is in residence at St. John’s starting with their 2017-2018 season. Visit www.newworldtrio.org for details.

The Madsingers

Although the name implies “madly singing,” or “singing angrily,” the actual play on words is “madrigal singers.” This long-established group meets on Wednesday mornings (9:30-11:00) to sight-sing great unaccompanied choral music. Although madrigals are a staple of the group’s repertoire, sacred and secular choral works of any type are included, as well as canons and more. Members are encouraged to submit ideas. The time together is a fast-paced mix of true sight-reading and learning, as Director Mattie Banzhaf provides fascinating informal historical and musical perspective. All interested singers are welcome to join! Contact Mattie for details at mattiebanzhaf@gmail.com