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A Brass and Organ Christmas

Monday, December 12 @ 7:30 pm 9:00 pm

Experience the perfect marriage of the Bay Area’s finest brass musicians, a beloved pipe organ, and unparalleled acoustics. A musical highlight of the year! 

Since 1947, Christmas at Grace Cathedral has offered an ideal way to ring in the season, with magnificent music, a majestic setting, and astonishing acoustics. Experience the deep connection between spirit and art at Grace Cathedral this Christmas. 

This performance is 90 minutes with one intermission. 

Event Details

Doors open for seating one hour before start time. The entrance to the cathedral is at the top of the Great Steps. The accessible entrance is via the glass doors on Taylor Street. Wheelchair seating locations are at the front of each General Admission section. Please call 415.749.6355 for more information or to reserve wheelchair seating.

About the Performers 

The Bay Brass was founded in 1995 and is comprised of brass players from the San Francisco Bay Area’s leading performing organizations, including the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. The ensemble has no principal players and no music director. Rather, its musicians share in all of the musical responsibilities of the ensemble including performing, conducting, arranging, and composing, allowing for expanded creative opportunities for each musician. The Bay Brass prides itself on the diversity of its programming, combining the traditional brass repertory with other contemporary styles and featuring a mix of large-scale symphonic brass ensemble works and compositions for smaller combinations of players. In 2000, The Bay Brass released their first CD, A Brass & Organ Christmas recorded in Grace Cathedral with organist John Fenstermaker. “If you’re looking for festive Christmas music by brass and organ,” noted The American Record Guide (ARG), “you won’t find a better recording than this one.” Their most recent CD, Sound the Bells! featuring premiere recordings of recent American works for brass, was called “an absolute triumph” by ARG, and was nominated for a GRAMMY Award in 2012 for “Best Small Ensemble Performance.”  

Alasdair Neale, Conductor

Alasdair Neale is the Music Director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Sun Valley Music Festival (SVMF), and Marin Symphony. This past summer marked twenty-eight years at the helm of SVMF, and he has propelled this festival to national status.  This season, Neale celebrates his 22nd and final year as Music Director of the Marin Symphony.  He has been hailed for invigorating the orchestra and establishing it as one of the finest in the Bay Area. For 12 years, he was Associate Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. During that time, he conducted both orchestras in hundreds of critically acclaimed concerts both here and abroad. From 2001 to 2011, Neale served as Principal Guest Conductor of the New World Symphony. From 2001 to 2014, he served on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has guest-conducted numerous orchestras around the world. Neale’s discography includes a recording of Aaron Jay Kernis’ Colored Field with the San Francisco Symphony, which won France’s Diapason d’or award.  He appears on the Bay Brass recording “Sound the Bells”, which was nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Small Ensemble Performance. Neale holds a Bachelor’s degree from Cambridge University and a Master’s from Yale University.  

Jonathan  Dimmock, Organist

Jonathan  Dimmock is well-known internationally as a recitalist, conductor, accompanist, ensemble musician, and church organist.  A graduate of Oberlin and Yale, he has the unique privilege to have been the only American Organ Scholar of Westminster Abbey; he has also served three American cathedrals: St. John the Divine (New York), St. Mark’s (Minneapolis), and Grace (San Francisco). For over twelve years, he was Music Director at St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco (the largest Jesuit church in the United States) and is currently the organist for the San Francisco Symphony, Music Director at Congregation Sherith Israel (San Francisco), and Principal Organist at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. He is one of the few organists in the world to tour on six continents.  Dimmock has recorded more than fifty CDs and can be heard on hundreds of YouTube and streaming listings. He plays on the Grammy Award-winning San Francisco Symphony recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8. He has been interviewed and featured on numerous radio and television stations, including National Public Radio, Radio France, BBC3, ABC (Australia), and SABC (South Africa). He is co-founder of the highly acclaimed American Bach Soloists, founding director of Artists’ Vocal Ensemble, and founding President of The Resonance Project, which uses music in international conflict resolution.  

Be a Christmas Angel: Sponsorship Opportunities  

The magic of Christmas lives on at Grace because of our generous sponsors. You make these concerts possible, and enable us to make this beloved Christmas tradition accessible to all in this most extraordinary year. Sponsorships start at $500. For more information visit our Christmas Sponsorships page  or contact our Development Office at  [email protected] or 415-749-6352. Thank you! 

Find out about our  Christmas Services  and other Christmas concerts, A Cathedral Christmas, Soulful Joy , and  Sing You A Merry Christmas.   

Looking for a fantastic holiday gift? Buy the Brass & Organ Christmas CD recorded live in the cathedral in 2000. Available at the concert or by mail. For more information write to [email protected]