Dame Ethel Smyth.jpg
I feel I must fight for [my music], because I want women to turn their minds to big and difficult jobs; not just to go on hugging the shore, afraid to put out to sea.
— Dame Ethel Smyth


For soprano, baritone and choir,
with reduced orchestration for piano and bugle

Cantori New York ends the season with the concert-length cantata The Prison by Dame Ethel Smyth, written in 1930. The text is by Smyth’s close friend and preferred librettist, Harry Brewster,  who chose this verse to summarize the piece: “I am striving to reach that which is divine within us, and to merge it in the universally divine.”  Artistic Director Mark Shapiro sees The Prison as Dame Ethel’s own attempt to compose a secular Requiem, possibly in response to Brahms. In recognition of Johannes Brahmss influence on Dame Ethel, the program will also include his Marienlieder.

Guest artists

Chelsea Morris, soprano
Thomas West, baritone (replacing Theo Hoffman)
Jason Wirth, piano

Saturday, May 14, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 15, 2016, 7:00 p.m.

Church of St. Luke in the Fields
487 Hudson Street, New York City


Cantori New York's annual Spring Benefit will take place on May 19, 2016 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Click here to RSVP.

Season at a glance

Visions of Utopia and Apocalypse

In The Valley of Delight: Three Utopian Fragments Paul Crabtree offers three Shaker depictions of the promised land. Siegfried Thiele’s Prophezeiungen and The New Amorous World by Lembit Beecher complete the concert.

November 14th, 2015



A Cantori Holiday

Our annual celebration of the holiday season, with traditional carols, new arrangements and plenty of winter cheer.

December 19th & December 20th, 2015

La remontée des cendres

La remontée des cendres by Frank Ferko, sung in French, is based on Tahar Ben Jelloun’s haunting poem of the same name. Cantori presents Tre nuovi madrigali by 20th-century composer Bruno Bettinelli, and At the Edge of the Earth by the Latvian composer Maija Einfelde.

March 12th, 2016


Ethel Smyth.jpg

The Prison

Dame Ethel Smyth’s The Prison, her last musical composition of significance, imagines a prisoner has an internal dialogue with his soul as the end of his life approaches.

May 14th, 2016