reviving one of humanity’s greatest art forms

The Academy of Sacred Drama seeks to revive one of humanity’s greatest art forms present in rituals, in liturgy, and on stage: the sacred drama. By doing so, we intend to restore the genre as a vehicle for the formation of common values, community and individual identity, and creative virtue. The Academy approaches this task as a membership organization of volunteers, supporters, and professionals dedicated to research, education, and the performance of sacred drama.


The Academy’s creation of editions and translations of little-known Baroque oratorios and cantate has enabled the frequent presentation of modern and American premieres of these works paired with lectures and receptions. 2018–2019 was the Academy’s Year of Moses and featured a set of premieres of large-scale musical works. Oratorios by Vincenzo de Grandis and Antonio Gianettini were presented for the first time in more than 300 years. Gianettini’s La creatione de’ magistrati was presented on the Music Before 1800 series with critical acclaim. The Academy also performed the American premiere of an oratorio by Bernardo Pasquini and a program of rarely heard Moses cantate of the French Baroque.


The Academy’s 2017–2018 Year of Judith featured the modern day premiere of Domenico Freschi’s Giuditta, the American premiere of Antonio Draghi’s Oratorio di Giuditta at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, and a program of rarely heard Judith cantate of the French Baroque. The Academy was featured in that first season in an article in Commonweal Magazine, and its artistic decisions were declared “striking” by the New York Times.


Exploring sacred drama as a membership organization has inspired unusually ambitious projects such as the production of an open license journal devoted to sacred drama. Articles relating to the context and content of these works have been published with Creative Commons licenses enabling a broad distribution. This innovative approach will be applied to the libretti and editions of our new editions and translations.


Baroque sacred drama draws from the stores of the Judeo-Christian tradition and combines them with poetic verse and classical references. Much of the genre has yet to be explored. Future seasons will widen the scope of the exploration of sacred drama from the Baroque era to Greek theater, Medieval miracle plays, Classical oratorio, and contemporary compositions. The Academy will also explore the place of drama within and outside of Christian liturgies.


The Academy of Sacred Drama’s 2019–2020 season features the work of Antonio Gianettini (1648–1721): the once-celebrated composer of Baroque oratorio and opera whose name is now almost entirely forgotten in the world of music. It also marks the Academy’s first Westchester season with performances at the Church House at White Plains Presbyterian Church. The Academy continues its residency at Calvary—St. George’s Episcopal Church in New York City and will perform at other churches in New York City and Connecticut.


The Academy is a not-for-profit corporation in the State of New York and is federally recognized as a tax exempt public charity under IRC Section 501 (c) (3). Donations are tax deductible.

Become a Member

Explore the world of sacred dramatic music as a member of the Academy of Sacred Drama! All memberships come with a print subscription to the Academy Journal of Sacred Drama, $10 discounts to oratorios and salons for up to two friends, and invitations to potluck dinners for you and your invited friends.

Oratorio Membership
$150 Individual  $65 tax deductible
$250 Dual  $90 tax deductible
Membership includes general admission to 9/15, 11/10, and 4/6 performances.

Patron Membership
$300 Individual  $155 tax deductible
$450 Dual  $170 tax deductible
Membership includes premium admission to 9/15, 11/10, and 4/6 performances and invitations to open rehearsals.

Benefactor Membership
$500 Individual  $350 tax deductible
$650 Dual  $365 tax deductible
Membership includes an invitation to an exclusive private reception with the musicians on Friday, April 5th, a signed poster with the season’s musicians, and all the perks of a Patron Membership.

Student Membership
$15 Individual  not tax deductible
Membership includes access to $10 student tickets to 9/15, 11/10, and 4/6 performances and invitations to open rehearsals.

Academy Journal

Yale Schola Cantorum Performs Heinrich Schütz’s Weihnachts-Historie

By Christopher Browner The superbly talented singers of Yale Schola Cantorum, Yale Institute of Music’s chamber choir for the performance of sacred music, were still in the holiday spirit on January 27, 2018, when they offered a radiant performance of Heinrich Schütz’s Weihnachts-Historie (Christmas Story), SWV 435 to a packed audience at New Haven’s Christ …