Choir of Newman College Concert Series




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Concert 1

Sunday, May 14, 3:00pm
The Chapel of the Holy Spirit, Newman College

Bach to Bernstein


Johann Sebastian Bach Jesu, meine Freude
Johann Sebastian Bach Lobet den Herrn
Johannes Brahms Es ist das Heil uns kommen her
Leonard Bernstein Chichester Psalms
Leonard Bernstein Choruses from Westside Story and Candide

Leonard Bernstein, in The Joy of Music, describes Johann Sebastian Bach’s music as the ‘white-hot creation of fifty ceaseless years’.  The first concert of the Concert Series juxtaposes the timeless motets of Johann Sebastian Bach with vocal works by two of his greatest admirers, Johannes Brahms and Leonard Bernstein.  Interspersed are chorale preludes by J.S. Bach and Brahms played on the Knud Smenge Organ by the College Organist, David Macfarlane.

The Choir of Newman College
David Macfarlane – Organ soloist, piano


Concert 2

Sunday, September 17, 3:00pm
The Chapel of the Holy Spirit, Newman College

A Room with a View
George Frideric Handel Dixit Dominus
Guiseppe Torelli Ite, procul abite, maestitiae
Antonio Vivaldi Dixit Dominus RV 595
The young Handel embarked on his Grand Tour in 1706 visiting Italy at the behest of the Medici family.  A Room with a View captures the sights, sounds and colours of Handel’s Italian odyssey.  It features Handel’s own Dixit Dominus, brimming with youthful passion and fire, and a selection of music in the new Italian style that so bedazzled Europe at the time.  Also included in the program is the Australian premiere of a recently discovered solo motet by the Italian violin virtuoso, Guiseppe Torelli.  The Choir of Newman College will be accompanied by the Melbourne Baroque Orchestra, an orchestra drawn from Australia’s finest period instrument performers.

Soprano Soloist: Hannah Irvine

The Choir of Newman College
The Melbourne Baroque Orchestra


Concert 3

Saturday, November 25, 5:00pm
The Chapel of the Holy Spirit, Newman College

Blessed Cecilia


Henry Purcell ‘Hail bright Cecilia’ from Ode on St Cecilia’s Day
George Frideric Handel ‘From Harmony’, Ode to St Cecilia
Alessandro Scarlatti Messa di Santa Cecilia
Gustav Mahler ‘Das himmlische Leben’ from Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Herbert Howells A Hymn to St Cecilia
Benjamin Britten Hymn to St Cecilia

Blessed Cecilia is a concert in honour of the patron Saint of Music.  Each year since the sixteenth century her feast day on November 22 has been celebrated with the performance of new compositions in festivities across Europe.  Blessed Cecilia presents some of the most beautiful choral songs written in praise of St Cecilia over the last five hundred years.  The new time of 5:00pm allows you to dine after the concert in the renowned Lygon St precinct, should you wish.

Guest Soloist: Jennifer Cook

The Choir of Newman College
The Melbourne Baroque Orchestra


Services at the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, Newman College

Choral Eucharist

Every Sunday during the Academic Term at 7:00pm

Semester 1:

February 26 – May 28, except for April 16

Semester 2:

July 23 – October 15, except for September 24

Easter Services

Maundy Thursday, April 13, 5:30pm

Good Friday, April 14, 3:00pm

Easter Vigil, April 15, 8:00pm

Easter Sunday, April 16, 11:00am

Compline by Candlelight

All services feature Gregorian chant and polyphonic music proper to the season.
Services commence at 9:30pm on the first Thursday of each month during the Academic Year.

March 2 – Music for the beginning of the Lenten season

April 6 – Music for Lent from Baroque Germany

May 4 – Music for the Easter season by Johann Sebastian Bach

August 3 – Music for the Feast of St Dominic

September 7 – Music from the English Renaissance

October 5 – Music from the Flemish Renaissance

Newman College Service of Lessons and Carols

Sunday, December 3 at 6:30pm


The Choir of Newman College
was established at the beginning of 2002 under the directorship of Gary Ekkel as the chapel choir of Newman College, a residential college of the University of Melbourne, Australia.  The chamber choir seeks to present music in innovative ways, exploring the relationship of music with cuisine, poetry, drama and painting.  It has produced three Medieval plays and initiated a number of projects in combination with performers of Middle Eastern, Central American and African music.  The choir has also undertaken several historical reconstructions of music, including J.S. Bach’s ‘lost’ St Mark Passion, a seventeenth-century Marian Vespers at St Mark’s in Venice, a Cecilian Vespers in Rome, and a Xaverian Mass at the Dresden Court Chapel.

The Choir made the premier recordings of two Australian compositions in the widely released CD recording, Gallipoli in 2014.  In January, 2015 the Choir performed J.S. Bach’s St Matthew Passion as the opening concert of the Ballarat Goldfields Festival, a performance critically acclaimed for its ‘cogency’ and ‘distinctiveness’ (The Age).  Later in the year, the Choir toured New Zealand, performing Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers together with the New Zealand ensemble, Affetto, in Auckland, Hamilton, Dunedin, Oamaru and Christchurch.  The Choir has been widely praised in its reviews for its ‘invigorating’ quality and ‘remarkable musicmaking’.

For further details of the choir and the concert series, visit our website:


Gary Ekkel – Director

David Macfarlane – Organ

Hannah Irvine – Soprano

Jennifer Cook – Soprano


A brochure with more specific details of the music in Newman College Chapel services may be obtained by telephoning the Newman College Office (03 9347 5577).

Online bookings: