Countertenor Martin Near began his professional singing life at age ten in the choir of men and boys at Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue in New York City, advancing to Head Chorister. Mr. Near enjoys a varied singing career, exploring his passions for early music—both as a soloist and in ensemble settings— and new music. In March 2011 he took the role of Hamor in Handel's Jephtha with Boston Cecilia, and was noted for his "fine work" in Buxtehude's Heut triumphieret Gottes Sohn with Boston Baroque. In 2008, Mr. Near appeared as alto soloist with Boston Cecilia in Bach's Mass in B Minor, and was praised as "winsome and lyrical" in the role of David in Handel's Saul with the Harvard University Choir and Baroque Orchestra in 2009. He also relishes ensemble work as a renowned ensemble singer with Emmanuel Music, Boston Baroque, and Handel & Haydn Society, and as a producer for Cut Circle's upcoming CD release, Roman Warriors: L'homme armé Masses by Marbrianus de Orto and Josquin des Prez. A founding member of the professional early music ensemble Exsultemus, Mr. Near has been Music Director since 2009. Upcoming engagements include appearing as countertenor soloist in Dominick DiOrio's Stabat Mater with Juventas New Music Ensemble in November.
A most uncommon acknowledgment of Good Friday recalling the crucifixion of Jesus Christ occurred at Jordan Hall. It involved the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, a slate of guest soloists, and the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum. Two reenactments of the passion, one allegorical, by David Lang and the other, from Biblical texts, by Arvo Pärt, adopted a similar, now familiar musical language of minimalism. Both passions were fittingly in minor modes commonly associated with all things sorrowful.