O How

March 23 at 7:30PM | Central Synagogue

MasterVoices | Ted Sperling, Conductor
Bloch: Sacred Service (Avodath Hakodesh)
Weill: Kiddush
Daniel Rein: New Commission (World Premiere)

Join us for a spiritually inclusive, gratitude-themed concert featuring Ernest Bloch’s SACRED SERVICE and Kurt Weill’s KIDDUSH, as well as the world premiere of a newly commissioned piece by Jerusalem-born composer Daniel Rein (OUR AMERICA), whose work is known for blending Jewish, Christian, and Islamic motifs. Taking place at the architecturally renowned 1400-seat Central Synagogue, the performance will feature baritone Justin Austin (INTIMATE APPAREL, OUR AMERICA), house organist David Strickland, and Senior Cantor/tenor Daniel Mutlu.

O How Good will honor the life of beloved Board member Lois Conway, who passed in April 2022. By showcasing emerging stars and a cross-cultural musical world, this concert is a manifestation of the many things she held dear.

Tickets starting at $25, may be purchased online on Eventbrite beginning January 23.

Artist Bios
Justin Austin, Baritone

Praised in Opera News as “a gentle actor and elegant musician” and The Wall Street Journal for his “mellifluous baritone,” Drama Desk Award nominated baritone, Justin Austin has been performing professionally since aga 4. Born in Stuttgart, Germany to professional opera singer parents, Austin began his singing career as a boy soprano performing at venues such as Teatro Real, Bregenzer Festspiele, Lincoln Center, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. While working with directors such as Gotz Friedrich and Tazwell Thompson, Austin was able to realize his love for music and performance early on.

For the 2021/2022 season, Austin made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Marcellus in the company premiere of “hamlet” by Brett Dean. Austin also made his debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago singing the leading role of Charles Blow in “Fire Shut Up In My Bones” by Terrance Blanchard. Austin starred as Geroge Armstrong in the return of “Intimate Apparel” by Lynn Nottage and Ricky Ian Gordon at Lincoln Center Theater. Austin made his return to New York Festival of Song for their debut concert at Little Island in NYC. Austin was presented in recital by the Park Avenue Armory.

Justin is a proud graduate of Choir Academy of Harlem, Laguardia Arts, Heidelberg Lied Akademie, and Manhattan School of Music holding the Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees. Mr. Austin is under the tutelage and mentorship of Catherine Malfitano.

Daniel Mutlu, tenor

Cantor Daniel Mutlu was called to serve as Senior Cantor of Central Synagogue in 2017. Cantor Mutlu is a first-generation American born to Turkish Jewish parents. Raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, Cantor Mutlu attended the Yeshiva Academy Achei Tmimim where he forged a strong Jewish identity and a broad religious perspective. Cantor Mutlu went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from New England Conservatory of Music in Boston in 2001. After serving as a cantorial soloist at Temple Emanuel of Worcester, Massachusetts, Cantor Mutlu pursued a master’s degree in sacred music at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. Upon ordination in 2008 he served as Cantor of Community Synagogue of Rye, New York, until 2011. He was then honored to serve as Cantor of Congregation Beth Israel of Houston, Texas, from 2011 to 2017. In Houston, Cantor Mutlu served on the board of the Anti-Defamation League Southwest Region, where he worked with their interfaith committee.

In 2011 Cantor Mutlu joined the faculty of the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music where he teaches traditional nusach in the Cantorial Ordination Program. He has also taught a variety of classes in the Cantorial Certification Program.

Cantor Mutlu has performed with many premier musical ensembles including the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Ars Lyrica, Houston Bach Society, Alarm Will Sound, and Park East Synagogue Choir. As a member of NYC’s The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, he earned two glowing musical reviews from the New York Times. Cantor Mutlu can be heard as tenor soloist on Naxos’ eight-disc set The Complete Haydn Masses as well as on Navona Records’ Requiem: For the Living. He was a featured soloist on Musica Omnia and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street’s release Handel: Israel in Egypt, which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2013. Since 2019, Mutlu has been touring internationally as the main cantorial soloist for the Night Holocaust Project. His recent performances in Russia, Lithuania, and Germany have been nationally televised and future performances have been planned for Latvia and England. Cantor Mutlu walked the red carpet at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival where “The Song of Names,” a movie featuring his first role in film, was screened and enthusiastically received. Mutlu will also be featured in the upcoming documentary, “A Cantor’s Head.”

Cantor Mutlu proudly represented Central Synagogue at the 2019 URJ Biennial in Chicago where he led Friday evening Shabbat services for nearly 5,000 worshippers.

Cantor Dan lives in the Upper West Side with his wife Nina and their three children.

David Strickland, Organ

David Strickland, is thrilled to be joining Master Voices for the first time, having previously appeared in concert at Central with Ted Sperling (and Misa Iwama) last summer in: In Sondheim’s Eyes, an evening commemorating Stephen Sondeim. Strickland is blessed to have been Central Synagogue’s Music Director for 1/12th of Central’s 180+ years! Transcontinental Music Publications recently commissioned Strickland to create 13 arrangements of new work for their latest collection, Shabbat Anthology X, subsequently inviting him to serve as keyboardist for the accompanying recording as well. Further arranging and music direction includes work for the American Conference of Cantors; Shtetl Stories: Columbia University’s Miller Theater; the Broadway Baritones (Dallas Symphony Orchestra); and Matt Bogart’s Sky Above Manhattan (National Symphony Orchestra of London). As a composer, his opera Phoenix Park (Librettist Ilsa Gilbert) received awards from the City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs, BMI, The Dramatists Guild, Inc. and from the Andrew Mellon and Aaron Copland Funds. Strickland composed and performed the original score for Deepak Chopra’s audio book A Path to Love, narrated by Chopra. He lives in Harlem with his wife Anna, 2 year old daughter Rosie and wonderdog, Eleanor Rigby.

Click here to view the O HOW GOOD concert Press Release.
MasterVoices 2022-23 season visual created by Asia Pietrzyk.