Press & Media

“Music director Mary Beekman and her 26 skilled singers are a splendid ensemble, true in pitch in a cappella music, nicely blended and impressively accurate…” (The Boston Globe)

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  • 2022

    October

    “Musica Sacra finds a consolatory warmth in contemporary Northern music”
    Boston Classical Review

    “Musica Sacra opened its season Saturday night at First Church Congregational in Cambrige with a program of contemporary music for chorus and strings (via livestream for this listener). In the event, though, there was more tying together the night’s offerings than simple matters of instrumentation… Compositional singularity, for one.”

    March

    “Musica Sacra sings folk hymns and canticles from England and Estonia”
    WGBH Boston

    “In a recent concert at First Church Congregational in Cambridge, MA, vocal ensemble Musica Sacra sang folk hymns and canticles from two regions that, at first blush, don’t seem to have a whole lot to do with one another: England and Estonia. But, as they proved over the course of the concert, both countries have rich choral traditions that complement each other beautifully.”

  • 2019

    October

    “Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610”: Musica Sacra Celebrates a Genius
    The Boston Music Intelligencer

    “Mary Beekman began her 40th season with Musica Sacra this weekend with a contemplative, orchestrally rich Monteverdi Vespers. Her 31-voice choir, augmented with two guest basses and six soloists, sang largely hashed and changed positions for works featuring a long unison cantus firmus melodies or double choir (like the Nisi Dominus movement). The choir presented a well-unified, finely blended tone throughout, with clear, lightly declaimed Latin text and restrained dynamic contrasts in the five psalm settings.” Laura Stanfield Prichard

  • 2013

    March

    “Baltic Inspirations”
    The Boston Music Intelligencer

    “This most unusual concert was musically and spiritually moving from beginning to end. You can rely on Musica Sacra for beautifully blended singing of extraordinary repertoire.” Susan Miron

  • 2012

    May

    “To Sleep, Perchance to Dream”
    The Boston Music Intelligencer

    “Beekman knows how to program, and her chorus knows how to bring the music and the texts to life. Musica Sacra always impresses, surprises, and delights.” Susan Miron

    March

    “Piteous Beauty”
    The Boston Music Intelligencer

    “…this choral group and Artistic Director Mary Beekman are among Boston’s very best.” Susan Miron

  • 2011

    November

    “St. Matthew Passion” with The Boston Cecilia
    The Boston Globe

    “‘St. Matthew Passion’ soars” Jeffrey Gantz

    May

    “Love, Lust, and Laudations”
    The Boston Music Intelligencer

    “Beekman, to be congratulated on her varied and unhackneyed program within a single geographical focus, elicits sweet, unforced tone and precise intonation from her singers, flexible phrasing and a supple sense of line, and tempos that seem just right.” Virginia Newes

  • 2010

    October

    “Music of Solace”
    The Boston Musical Intelligencer

    “The volunteer group (and its audience) are fortunate in their skilled and inspired leader, whose choice of repertory and overall musicality bring out the best in these dedicated singers.” Virginia Newes

    May

    “Mary’s Playlist”
    The Boston Music Intelligencer

    “Never having heard this jaw-droppingly good chorus before, I was astonished by the sheer beauty of their voices…” Susan Miron

    The Hub Review

    “I think it’s clear from these selections that Ms. Beekman has superb taste, but it’s also an eclectic taste in formal terms, and so the concert ran the gamut from Elgar to Mäntyjärvi.” Thomas Garvey

    March

    “The Spirit is Still Speaking”
    The Boston Musical Intelligencer

    “The chorus’s full involvement truly made this moment like ‘the trumpet call on the day of resurrection, waking the dead from the earth.”

    “Musica Sacra, as directed by Mary Beekman, demonstrates a host of musical virtues: minimal vibrato, allowing fine blend and clear harmonies; excellent intonation; superb dynamic control; precise rhythm; complete mastery of music and words, permitting singers to be in very frequent eye-contact with the conductor which in turn allows her considerable flexibility; and full awareness of the text and effective communication of it to the audience. …It’s not every concert that I leave hoping to hear every piece on the program again.” Geoffrey Wieting

    The Tech (@MIT)

    “Now in completing its fiftieth year, it’s this type of programming that is educational both to audience member and musician alike—a challenging program to perform, certainly, conductor Mary Beekman’s musical choices also pushed the limits of the audience’s imagination and conception of what contemporary choral music is and can be.” Sudeep Agarwala

  • 2009

    November

    “Before, Brahms, and Beyond”
    The Boston Music Intelligencer

    “[T]he singers shaped their lines with superb attention to the composer’s demands with regard to swelling crescendos and diminuendos, which can look finicky on the page, but which bring the phrases vividly to life when presented as naturally as they were here.” Steven Ledbetter

    Mary Beekman Interviewed
    The Boston Globe

    Musica Sacra director Mary Beekman was interviewed by The Boston Globe in recognition of her 30th season with Musica Sacra—the group’s 50th season—which commenced November 8 at Jordan Hall, at the New England Conservatory of Music.

    June

    “In Music is Such Art: Choral Music with Texts from Shakespeare”
    The Boston Globe

    “Music director Mary Beekman and her 26 skilled singers are a splendid ensemble, true in pitch in a cappella music, nicely blended and impressively accurate in difficult passages and subtle dissonances. The sopranos (all women) make as beautiful a boy-soprano sound as can be heard this side of King’s College, Cambridge.” David Perkins

  • 2008

    January

    Mary Beekman Interviewed
    “Weekend America”

    Mary Beekman was a featured guest on “Weekend America” on January 12 in a segment titled “Sound of Winter.”

  • 2007

    June

    “Lord, What Fools These Mortals Be: Renaissance Madrigals Celebrating Love”
    The Boston Globe

    “The chorus’s pure timbre was built on quiet, focused vowels that bloomed into full resonance, echoing artistic director Mary Beekman’s conducting style—she often seemed to be pulling notes from the singers like taffy. The result was a wonderful balance, each chord shaped with sure intonation…. [T]he Italian repertoire … packed its drama into the harmony; Biagio Tomasi’s “Tirsi morir volea,” with near-Wagnerian waves of sound, was particularly beautiful.”

  • 2004

    December

    “Christmas Music for Chorus and Brass,” featuring the Boston première of Gregg Smith’s “A Mary Trilogy”
    The Boston Globe

    “Musica Sacra has achieved an elevated musical standard over a wide range of repertory from the Renaissance to the present… [The Smith was] confident and expressive. Beekman had trained the singers well: the tonal quality was pure and balanced; ensemble discipline was precise; intonation was exact; diction, clear. The technical challenges of the Smith work and of Gabrieli’s “Magnificat” were resolutely met. And the aural halo that surrounded the performances was appropriate to the music and to the season.”

  • 2003

    March

    Musica Sacra Patron Pens Sonnet Following Performance

    Rand Peabody, a faithful and thoughtful Musica Sacra supporter, penned a sonnet while attending our performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Motets on March 15, 2003. With his blessing, here is the lovely poem he wrote while listening to Bach’s Komm, Jesu, komm and Singet dem Herrn.

    • So let the ecstasy arise anew,
    • Dislodge us from too long-accustomed place
    • And lift us on its wings, our souls imbue
    • With glowing artistries of time and space.
    • Let flows of colors blend in rainbowed hue
    • And webs of meaning chaos’ etchings trace.
    • Yea, bring us to the gate, nay, bring us through!
    • Lest we should languish longer, lacking grace.
    • Thus make us members of the raptured crew
    • And fold us into cosmic love’s embrace.
    • Like mothers heed the cries of those born new,
    • Come! Brighten night and greet us face-to-face.
    • Exert your strength and bear us forth today.
    • For otherwise we surely die away.

    We offer our heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Peabody for sharing his work with us.

  • 2002

    October

    Mozart’s “Requiem”
    The Boston Globe

    “Musica Sacra breathes freshness, fire into Requiem.”

    The Cambridge Chronicle

    “Musica Sacra pays homage to Mozart’s Requiem.”