Trinity Wall St. lands Wachner; hopes to expand


BY Michael Mandelkern

After performing the world over, composer and conductor Julian Wachner is coming back to New York City. Born in Hollywood, Wachner moved to the city when he was nine to attend the St. Thomas Choir School and he’s returning as the new director of music and the arts for Trinity Wall Street, the over 300-year-old Episcopal parish in Lower Manhattan.

According to Wachner, who has composed over 80 original works and performed in countries such as France, Greece and Russia, Trinity “was looking for someone with an international scope” and artistic diversity beyond just choir experience. And Wachner fits that bill perfectly.

Since he left New York City to attend Boston University, he has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Music Academy of the West, the Calgary Philharmonic and the San Diego Symphony. As a junior at B.U. he played with the Boston Pops Orchestra. One of his career highlights is performing at Tanglewood, home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

He begins his non-contractual position on September 7, and will manage all professional and community music and arts programming at Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel. As the main conductor of the Trinity Choir, Wachner will lead concerts, recordings and worship services. And he’s focused on expanding the programs’ artistic range beyond music; he hopes to incorporate theater, painting and dance, all aimed at transforming Trinity Wall Street into a “major artistic destination.”

The church will offer programs for all age groups. The Trinity Youth Choir, ages 5 to 18, has students from P.S. 89, P.S. 234 and Stuyvesant High School. No musical experience is required and it is a nonreligious program. Wachner plans on enlarging the programs to accommodate the mass influx of families with children who have moved Downtown in the past few years.

“It’s all about giving back to the community,” he said, emphasizing his interest in forging stronger relationships with local schools. “Our activities will be a resource for all…it’s about having the doors open,” he said.

Wachner is currently music director of the Grammy Award-winning Washington Chorus at the Kennedy Center. He is also an associate professor of music at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, and serves as the principle conductor of Opera McGill, a position he will maintain through the 2010-2011 academic season. 

Wachner came from a family of musicians; his father was a flutist and is mother was a concert pianist.

“I’ve always been around the upper echelon… I could read music before English,” he said, noting his mother still has material he wrote at the age of nine.

As he prepares for his new position, Wachner is sure he will settle in Manhattan. Though he hasn’t made the official move yet, he “would like something downtown,” specifically in Tribeca, due to its close proximity to work, multiple subway lines and “fantastic energy.”