2023–2024 Concert Season

Duke University Chapel enriches the aesthetic landscape of Duke and Durham through its annual series of choral concerts, organ recitals, and other artistic events.

Find below a listing of concerts in the 2023–2024 season of Music at Duke Chapel. Through the generous support of our partners and the friends of Duke Chapel, many of these concerts are free and open to the public. Events requiring tickets are indicated below. Tickets can be purchased at the Duke University Box Office. To receive updates on Chapel Music concerts and programs, sign up for our email newsletter.

Whether you are an early music aficionado, a fan of jazz, or a lover of liturgy, there is something for you in the 2023–2024 season of Music at Duke Chapel.

Welcome from the Dean and the Director of Music

This is a year to celebrate community. Beginning in January 2024, the Duke community will mark the University’s centennial through a variety of special events. Duke Chapel will play an important role in many of these observances. But there are many other musical milestones that we will celebrate along the way, including:

  • The 90th anniversary of the Chapel’s presentation of Handel’s Messiah;
  • The 300th anniversary of the premiere of Bach’s St. John Passion;
  • The groundbreaking work of jazz composer Mary Lou Williams;
  • New and beloved guest artists like Conspirare, Julian Davis Reid, the King’s Singers, Anton Armstrong, and the National Lutheran Choir.

Whether you are an early music aficionado, a fan of jazz, or a lover of liturgy, there is something for you in the 2023–2024 season of Music at Duke Chapel. We hope that you will join us for some of the concerts and worship services described in this brochure, and bask in the sonic beauty and visual grandeur of Duke Chapel. Our community is richer when you are part of it.

The Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery
Dean of Duke University Chapel

Dr. Zebulon M. Highben
Director of Chapel Music


December 1 at 7:30 p.m. | December 2 at 3:00 p.m. | December 3 at 4:00 p.m.

Duke University Chapel Choir
Mallarmé Music
Zebulon M. Highben, conductor 

Kathyrn Mueller, soprano
Sara Couden, contralto
Albert Lee, tenor
Derrick Fox, baritone

On December 10, 1933, the Duke Chapel Choir presented a concert of “selections from Handel’s Messiah,” and a beloved Duke University holiday tradition was born. This year marks the 90th anniversary of that first performance. In music that is both treasured and timeless, G. F. Handel recounts the story of humanity’s redemption through the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ. This year’s Messiah performances will be presented on period instruments with Baroque-era tuning, as Handel himself would have heard it. Each performance will last approximately two hours.

Click here to purchase tickets.


April 7 at 4:00 p.m. 

Duke Chapel Evensong Singers
Duke Chapel Schola Cantorum
Mallarmé Music
Philip Cave, conductor

James Reese, Evangelist
Charlie Moore, Christus
Molly Quinn, soprano
Harrison Hintzsche, bass

First performed 300 years ago on Good Friday, April 7, 1724, the St. John Passion is renowned for its dramatic choruses, expressive arias, and compelling narrative. It sets text from the Gospel of John, chapters 18 and 19, composed in two parts: Part I ends with Peter’s denial of Jesus, and Part II concludes with Christ’s burial.

Click here to purchase tickets.


April 14 at 4:00 p.m.

Music for Peace and Black Christ of the Andes, Mary Lou Williams
Come Sunday, Duke Ellington
Gospel Mass, Robert Ray

The Duke Chapel Choir joins forces with a host of guest artists to present “Our First Lady of Jazz,” a concert blending vocal jazz, gospel, spirituals, and the blues in a celebration of Black sacred music, featuring the works of Mary Lou Williams. Williams was a composer and jazz pianist who taught at Duke University, and occasionally performed in the Chapel and with the Chapel Choir. She wrote for Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman, and mentored artists such as Charlie Parker and Thelonius Monk. Her works are an “encyclopedia of black music” (Newsweek) that fuse religious themes with the idioms of jazz. The program will include excerpts from Williams’s albums Music for Peace (Mary Lou’s Mass) and Black Christ of the Andes, as well as works by Duke Ellington and Robert Ray. The program is presented as part of Duke University’s centennial celebration, in partnership with Duke Arts and the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture.


Sundays at 5:00 p.m.

A beloved cornerstone of the Chapel Music calendar, the Organ Recital Series showcases internationally acclaimed organists performing enduring favorites, modern masterpieces, and original improvisations. The Chapel’s Kathleen Upton Byrns McClendon Organ (Aeolian, 1932), Benjamin N. Duke Memorial Organ (Flentrop, 1976), and Brombaugh Organ (1997) are all featured in the series.

October 1, 2023: Peter Richard Conte, Wanamaker Grand Court Organist at Macy’s Center City in Philadelphia. This recital will accompany the silent film Phantom of the Opera.

October 29, 2023: James Welch, Organist

January 28, 2024: Nathaniel Gumbs, Director of Chapel Music at Yale University

March 17, 2024: Robert Parkins, University Organist and Professor of the Practice of Music at Duke University



Sundays at 5:00 p.m.

Johann Sebastian Bach’s church cantatas are often considered the pinnacle of German sacred music, works whose theological depth and emotional resonance touch deep places in the human soul. This year’s Bach Cantata Series celebrates the 300th anniversary of the premiere performances of several of Bach’s sacred choral works.

September 17, 2023: Fear and Hope 
O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort, BWV 60
     (Eternity, thou word of thunder)
Christus, der ist mein Leben, BWV 95
     (Christ who art my life)

November 19, 2023: A New Heaven and a New Earth
Ich elender Mensch, wer wird mich erlösen, BWV 48
     (Wretched being, who will restore me)
Wachet! betet! betet! wachet!, BWV 70
     (Watch! Pray! Pray! Watch!)

February 4, 2024: Music for Candlemas
Mit Fried und Freud fahr ich dahin, BWV 125
     (With peace and joy I now depart)
Ich lasse dich nicht, du segnest mich denn, BWV 157
    (I will not let you leave until you bless me)


Duke Chapel’s fifty-bell carillon is among the oldest and largest such instruments in the American South. Both the instrument and the recital series are named in honor of the late J. Samuel Hammond (1947–2021), University Carillonneur Emeritus, who played Duke’s carillon from 1964 until his retirement in 2018. Bring a lawn chair or blanket, and enjoy the music from the beautiful surroundings of Abele Quad. These recitals will be presented rain or shine.

September 24, 2023, at 5:00 p.m.: Mitchell Eithun, Duke Chapel Carillonneur

April 28, 2024, at 5:00 p.m.:  Jonathan Lehrer, Michigan State University Carillonist


January 20 from 9:00 a.m.–noon

Church choir singers and directors are invited to this special event with Dr. Anton Armstrong, Tosdal Professor of Music at St. Olaf College and conductor of the world-renowned St. Olaf Choir. Participants will sing with the Duke Chapel Choir and other choirs from around North Carolina, as Dr. Armstrong teaches vocal techniques and introduces choral repertoire appropriate for the upcoming Lent and Easter seasons.

Click here to register.


March 3, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. 

Under the direction of Dr. Jennaya Robison, the National Lutheran Choir’s artistry is rooted in its mission to celebrate, invigorate, and expand the heritage of sacred choral music through the highest standards of performance and literature. Founded by Dr. Larry Fleming in 1986 and led by artistic director Dr. David Cherwien from 2002–2023, the National Lutheran Choir sings a spiritual story through diverse repertoire—from early chant and simple folk anthems to complex choral masterworks and new compositions. A past recipient of both the Margaret Hillis Award and the Dale Warland Singers Commissioning Award from Chorus America, the National Lutheran Choir has been recognized for its extensive discography, its artfully produced digital content, and its frequent commissions of new music.

TClick here to purchase tickets.


Rest, pray, celebrate, and sing in these worship services that combine the ancient Christian tradition of evening vespers with the musical idioms of jazz and gospel.

November 9, 2023, at 7:00 p.m.: A Service of Rest & Renewal with Julian Davis Reid

February 8, 2024, at 7:00 p.m.: A Service of Celebration with the John Brown Little Big Band

Additional Concerts

The 2023–2024 concert season at the Chapel includes further performances by the Chapel’s choirs, affiliate ensembles, and presentations by Duke Performances.  

October 14, 2023, at 7:00 p.m.
Presented by Duke Arts Presents & NCACDA 
Tickets will be sold through the Duke Box Office. Check back later for an on-sale date.

November 5, 2023, at 4:00 p.m.
United in Praise & Something Borrowed Something Blue
A joint concert by two student-run ensembles on Parents & Family Weekend

December 7, 2023, at 7:30 p.m. 
The King’s Singers
Presented by Duke Arts Presents
Tickets will be sold through the Duke Box Office. Check back later for an on-sale date.

February 18, 2024, at 4:00 p.m. 
Marian Consort
Presented by Duke Arts Presents
Tickets will be sold through the Duke Box Office. Check back later for an on-sale date.

February 25, 2024, at 4:00 p.m.
Duke Chapel Evensong Singers
Featuring music of Herbert Howells

April 21, 2024, at 4:00 p.m. 
United in Praise 
Spring concert by Duke’s student-run gospel choir


Highlights for this year's 11:00 a.m. Sunday services:

October 1, 2023: World Communion Sunday
October 29, 2023: Reformation Sunday with the Amalgam Brass
November 26, 2023: Christ the King with the Amalgam Brass
December 24, 2023: Fourth Sunday of Advent featuring  J. S. Bach’s cantata Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (BWV 61)
January 21, 2024: Third Sunday after Epiphany with Dr. Anton Armstrong, guest conductor
March 3, 2024: Third Sunday in Lent with the National Lutheran Choir
March 24, 2023: Palm Sunday with the Durham Children’s Choir
March 31, 2023: Easter Sunday with the Amalgam Brass. Services at 9:00 & 11:00 a.m.


Choral Evensong

Sundays at 4:00 p.m.


August 27
September 10, 24
October 8, 22
November 12, 26
December 10


January 21 
February 11
March 10, 24, 31
April 28



Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. 


February 22, 29
March 7, 14, 21


Special Services


October 8 at 3:00 p.m.: Blessing of the Animals
October 31 at 10:30 p.m.: All Hallows’ Eve
November 2 at 7:00 p.m.: All Saints’ Day Requiem Eucharist
December 14 at 7:00 p.m.: Advent Lessons & Carols
December 24 at 11:00 p.m.: Christmas Eve Lessons & Carols


January 7 at 4:00 p.m.: Epiphany Lessons & Carols
February 14 at 7:00 p.m.: Ash Wednesday
March 28 at 7:00 p.m.: Maundy Thursday
March 29 at 7:30 p.m.: Good Friday Tenebrae
May 9 at 7:00 p.m.: Ascension Day Evensong


Supporters and Sponsors

We are once again grateful for the many supporters who make this season possible, including:

Duke Chapel Choir and Chapel Music Endowment 
Director of Chapel Music Endowment

Agnus Dei Endowment Fund 
Amy Geissinger Chapel Choir Quasi-Endowed Scholarship Fund
Barbara-Jean Ross Jones Music Education Fund
Carl A. Herring Carillon Endowment
CB Richardson Chapel Endowment Fund
Charles B. Wade Oratorio Endowment for Duke Chapel 
Donald and Hazel Jansen Wallis Endowment
F. M. Kirby Foundation Endowment Fund for Chapel Music 
Frances Wilson Leavenworth Endowment
Hurst Family Chapel Endowment
J. Benjamin Smith Endowment Fund
J. Foster Barnes Endowment
J. Horst & Ruth Mary Meyer Fund for Duke Chapel
James and Helen Burnett Coppridge Endowment Fund
Jefferson W. Kirby Duke Chapel Choir Scholarship Endowment Fund 
John O. Blackburn Chapel Oratorio Fund
Kathleen Upton Byrns McClendon Aeolian Organ Fund 
Marvin Boren and Elvira Lowe Smith Memorial Endowment Fund
Mary Duke Biddle Foundation Chapel Oratorio Endowment
Mildred Clusman Phillips Duke Chapel Choir Endowment
Mildred L. Hendrix Endowment
Professor Paul Young Endowment Fund
Roy A. Goss Memorial Fund
The Klove Family Fund
Thomas C. Clark Fund for Chapel Choral Music
Vereen Family Endowment for Choral Vespers
Waldo Beach Hymnody Endowment Fund
William Arthur Higgins Choir Scholarship Endowment Fund

... and the many friends of Chapel Music who generously support our program every year.