160 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023 11am Every Sunday

Our Music


We take a Universalist view of our music, too…

Just as Unitarian Universalists draw for inspiration upon texts from many traditions, so too it is with our music. We believe that the divine is to be found even in our day-to- day lives, and this includes “popular” as well as “art” music.

We strive to see that our members come to expect the unexpected in music at services. And we aspire to bring a special musical experience to the many visitors and travelers who come through our doors.

Keyboards are the predominant instrumental sound at Fourth U;  the church owns an 1878 Steinway grand piano that was donated by member Louise Whitby upon her marriage to Andrew Carnegie.  In 2013 Fourth U purchased an electric piano manufactured in June 1975 by Harold Rhodes, and we frequently use this instrument in contemporary music.

We feature small groups of guest musicians about once a month — drums, bass, guitars, strings, woodwinds and brass.  Each service is custom-designed, with music chosen either to parallel or contrast with the moods and messages of the liturgy.  All of our services open and close with congregational singing. Hymns are often led by professional singers from within the congregation and include songs from both current UU hymnals, Singing the Living Tradition and Singing the Journey.

With five additional music pieces in each service, we strive weekly to feature a broad contrast in musical styles.  Composers heard recently during our services include:

Burt Bacharach/Hal David14322557_10155243502753312_8295541446702383547_n
Samuel Barber
Bela Bartók
David Bowie
Chico Buarque
John Coltrane
Aaron Copland
Elvis Costello
Duke Ellington
Claude Debussy
The Dixie Chicks
Earth, Wind & Fire
Bill Evans
Gilberto Gil
Alberto Ginastera
Hall & Oates
Herbie Hancock
Jennie J
Antonio Carlos Jobim
Norah Jones
Scott Joplin
Carole King
Cyndi Lauper14329898_10155243493048312_4655755558154508296_n
John Lennon/Paul McCartney
Freddie Mercury/Brian May
Thelonious Monk
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mumford and Sons
Milton Nascimento
Laura Nyro
Astor Piazzolla
Manuel Ponce
Maurice Ravel
Domenico Scarlatti
Franz Schubert
Cat Stevens
Billy Strayhorn
Caetano Veloso
Heitor Villa-Lobos
William Walton

We feature guest music leaders once a month.  Past highlights have included presentations of Latin American and African music by frequent guest Tomas Rodriguez and AFARA, a program of music for viola featuring Fourth Universalist member Eric Lemmon, contemporary spirituals with Roosevelt Credit, Native American flute music by Tiokasin Ghosthorse, and music for chamber choir presented by Choral Chameleon, as well as YAVE from the First Unitarian Church of Tulsa OK, directed by Rick Fortner.