With the MTA in disarray, it’s hard to take any joy in going underground these days. However, the Church of the Intercession—located uptown, where Harlem meets Washington Heights—is offering an alternative and much more profound subterranean trip with its Crypt Sessions series of classical concerts.
Once a month, the more-than-a-century-old NYC landmark opens up its below-ground tomb for live performances. The crypt’s high, vaulted ceilings and stone walls were designed in a late–Gothic Revival style that makes for robust acoustics. If visiting a crypt makes you a bit nervous, don’t worry: The space is open, light, and clean, with the ashes of all the full-time residents safely ensconced in the walls.
This year opens with a performance by the beloved Attacca Quartet, an established group of Juilliard School graduates and string virtuosos. They’ll be playing Beethoven’s “String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor, Op.132,” one of the master’s final works. Composed years after he had gone deaf, “Op. 132” is among the composer’s most emotionally complex pieces. In such a charged setting, it’s sure to pack an additional punch.
The crypt only seats a few dozen patrons, so every ticket should provide excellent sight lines. You’ll want to arrive early to sample the specially catered preshow wine and small plate food pairings to tide you over through the concert.
Why You Should Go: Set in the extremely cozy confines of the Church of the Intercession’s enclosed underground vault, the Crypt Sessions present world-class classical music in an intriguingly exotic setting.
The Crypt Sessions
Church of the Intercession
550 West 155th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue), Washington Heights
Thursday, February 1
Wine and food tasting at 7 p.m.; show at 8 p.m.