Classical Music and Crypts: The Appeal of Unexpected Venues

Lawrence Brownlee and Damien Sneed perform at The Crypt Sessions. Photo Credit: (Andrew Ousley

Lawrence Brownlee and Damien Sneed perform at The Crypt Sessions. Photo Credit: Andrew Ousley

Classical music performed in a crypt: It’s a literal take on underground music — and the brainchild of Andrew Ousley of Unison Media. The series is called The Crypt Sessions, and it features classical musicians performing in the crypt at the Church of the Intercession at 155th Street and Broadway in New York City.

The monumental Gothic revival church is where Ed Koch and Alexander Hamilton are buried, and it was also a shooting location for the TV series 666 Park Avenue, reports Patrick David Stearns for WQXR. Stearns experienced Metropolitan Opera star Lawrence Brownlee’s hourlong recital of songs and spirituals with pianist Damen Sneed.

“The ashes of the parishioners are buried in the crypt,” Brownlee is quoted in the article. “You can’t help but feel the solemnity.”

Stearns continues: “Nor could the listeners resist soaking up the gothic atmosphere during its processional from a pre-concert wine-and-cheese reception, past the adjoining Trinity Church Cemetery, to the crypt itself.”

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