A group of early music ensembles and musicians connected with the Boston area. Visit our table at the Boston Early Music Festival Exhibition, June 14-17 for a selection of our work including recordings, books, arrangements and transcriptions, and original compositions for historical instruments, and information about upcoming events and projects.
The Society for Historically Informed Performance grew out of the local early music community’s desire for more performance opportunities, as interest in early music grew during the 80s. Members of seven ensembles collaborated on a summer concert series in 1987, endeavoring to share in the work, and later to give a helping hand to other groups that were trying to get a start in the field. In the years since, the SoHIP Summer Concert Series has become a beloved tradition which continues to provide opportunities for new project by New England musicians.
The period-instrument ensemble Les Bostonades has been sharing chamber music with Boston area audiences since its founding in 2005. The ensemble features Baroque music specialists who have studied and performed all over the world, who collaborate in Boston's vibrant early music scene, bringing spirited and polished performances to their listeners. The ensemble's performances have been described as "the most engaging chamber music playing...[a] generous, voluptuous sound...well delineated, [and with] a poignancy of emotion." The ensemble has developed under the direction of Akiko Sato, an acclaimed harpsichordist and continuo player with a unique cultural background. Ms. Sato's early training in Japan, and further study in the U.S. and Montreal, have given her unique cultural perspective, along with exposure to French language and culture. Akiko's passion for French language and Baroque music led her to early music study at McGill University in Montreal, where she focused on studying music of the French clavecin school and Baroque stage works. This work has shaped Les Bostonades' programming, which over the years, has featured lesser-known French Baroque composer such as Boismortier, Guillemain, Stuck, Mondonville, Colin de Blamont, Courbois, and Senallie (along with Rameau, Couperin, and Marais, and the great composers of the Italian, and German Baroque traditions). Les Bostonades is an ensemble of flexible size and instrumentation; their regular players, with Ms. Sato at the core, collaborate regularly with internationally renowned Baroque performance specialists. Recent performances have featured Teresa Wakim (soprano), Gonzalo Ruiz (oboe) and Hank Knox (harpsichord). At their June 2011 concert at the Boston Early Music Festival, the ensemble played to a packed house and received a standing ovation; this success has propelled the ensemble into a new season of magnificent works.
Emily O’Brien is a native of Washington, DC where she played recorder from a young age. She studied recorder and french horn at Boston University, and recorder and Baroque flute at the Hochschule für Musik in Karlsruhe, Germany. She performs in recorder ensembles and historical chamber music, as well as English Country Dance bands, and is a former employee of the Von Huene Workshop and the Early Music Shop of New England in Brookline, MA. In her spare time, she enjoys long distance cycling. O'Brien's recent album, "Fantasies for a Modern Recorder" features the flexibility and possibilities offered by the Mollenhauer Helder tenor recorder.
Geoffrey Burgess, oboist and author
Geoffrey Burgess has played a key role in the early music revival on three continents. Australian by birth, he has played Baroque oboe around the globe, and is known equally as a scholar of early music. He was a member of Les Arts Florissants in Paris for twenty years, the 90s, and since relocating to the U.S. has appeared regularly with the Washington Bach Consort, Philadelphia Bach Collegium, Concert Royal, and Boston Early Music Festival Ensemble, Publick Musick (Rochester), New York State Baroque, and Kleine Kammermusik. At this year’s BEMF Exhibition he will be presenting recordings of solo and chamber works, including Fanfares and Filigree, Kleine Kammermusik’s premier recording, and two recent titles of interest to early music aficionados: Well-Tempered Woodwinds: Friedrich von Huene and the Making of Early Music in a New World (Indiana Univ. Press, 2015), and his critical edition of Bruce Haynes’ Nachlass, The Pathetick Musician: Moving an Audience in the Age of Eloquence (Oxford Univ. Press, 2016).
Formed in 2013, Kleine Kammermusik is dedicated to bringing to life the wealth of intimate chamber music from the courts of Europe. Each member brings superb artistry and a high level of virtuosity to music full of dazzling surprises. With paired treble woodwind instruments (oboe and recorder) and supportive continuo group of mixed woodwind, string, and keyboard, the group is a versatile blend suited to a wide range of music.
Its members are all leading exponents and hold prominent posts in early music ensembles across the North East. Not only are they fine virtuoso players in their own right, but together they have developed an intuitive feeling for the musical style, and their rapport produces performances full of elegant control and superb artistry.
John Tyson, Recorder
Renaissance music comes alive in the robust performances of Renaissonics. Simultaneously historical and contemporary in its approach, the group plays as musicians of the era played --vigorously and improvisationally. Renaissonics' stylish performances allow audiences to experience the elegance and excitement of Renaissance music as it was intended to be heard. Music of the past is suddenly music of today. Virtuoso solos, chamber music, dance music and dazzling improvisations combine in a program that joyously bridges the gap between the artistic and pop. Renaissonics is a unique blend of members, all of whom are internationally recognized soloists, dance musicians, and improvisors. Their playing vibrantly blends this extensive expertise into performances that are continually original. Renaissonics is the resident ensemble for the Historical Dance Foundation's annual International Early Dance Institute. RENAISSONICS is acknowledged as a leading ensemble of Renaissance Dance, Chamber Music, and Improvisation enjoying a vast repertoire which takes them from concert halls to pop music clubs. They have performed in France, Italy, Japan and Australia and throughout the U.S. and may be heard on Ken Burns’ PBS documentary The West. Renaissonics was a featured ensemble for the Boston Christmas Revels and for Early Music America’s Star Spangled Season. Other appearances include the Boston Early Music Festival, the Cambridge Society for Early Music's International Concerts, the Castle Hill Pop Music Series, the Washington Early Music Festival, the Indianapolis Early Music Festival, the New England Conservatory of Music's Improvisation Festival, Plimouth Plantation, and at Boston's First Night Celebration. Renaissonics has been resident ensemble of the Court Dance Company of New York and the Vermont Shakespeare Festival.
A native of Stafford, Virginia, Melika M. Fitzhugh (A.B. Harvard-Radcliffe, M.M. Longy School of Music of Bard College) studied conducting and composition with Thomas G. Everett, Beverly Taylor, James Yannatos, Julian Pellicano, Roger Marsh, Jeff Stadelman, and, most recently, John Howell Morrison and Osnat Netzer. Mel's compositions have been commissioned by John Tyson, Catherine E. Reuben, John and Maria Capello, Laura and Geoffrey Schamu, and the Quilisma Consort, and have been performed by those artists as well as the Radcliffe Choral Society, Berit Strong, Miyuki Tsurutani, Libor Dudas and Aldo Abreu. Mel, who has composed music for film and stage, was a member of Just In Time Composers and Players and is currently a member of world/early music ensemble Urban Myth, in addition to playing bass guitar with acoustic rock singer/songwriter Emmy Cerra, the ambient rock band Rose Cabal and the Balkan folk dance band Balkan Fields. Two of
Seven Times Salt is a Boston-based early music ensemble focusing on repertoire of 16th- and 17th-century England, especially works for the consort-of-six or broken consort. Praised for their creative programming and “impeccably balanced sound,” STS has performed since 2003 at numerous venues throughout New England including Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Plimoth Plantation, the New England Folk Festival, WGBH radio, and many others. They have also researched and presented original programs for the Amherst, Bloomington, and Boston Early Music Festivals (Fringe), the Society For Historically Informed Performance, and their own self-produced concert series. The ensemble delights in blurring the lines between “art music” and folk tunes, and feel at ease performing in the concert hall, the dance hall, or the beer hall! Seven Times Salt is pleased to offer their latest album "Pilgrims' Progress: Music of the Plimoth Colony Settlers" at this year's festival. They'll perform a Fringe concert of the same name on Tuesday, June 11 at 12pm at Arlington Street Church. The Ensemble: Karen Burciaga - treble viol, violin, voice Dan Meyers - flute, recorders, percussion, voice Josh Schreiber Shalem - bass viol, voice Matthew Wright - lute, bandora, voice with Barbara Allen Hill, soprano
Pamela Dellal, mezzo-soprano, has enjoyed a distinguished career as an acclaimed soloist and recitalist. She has appeared in Symphony Hall, the Kennedy Center, Avery Fisher Hall, and the Royal Albert Hall, and premiered a Harbison chamber work in New York, San Francisco, Boston and London. With Sequentia, Ms. Dellal has recorded the music of Hildegard von Bingen and toured the US, Europe, and Australia. Passionate about chamber music, early music, and contemporary music, she has appeared multiple times at the Boston Early Music Festival, and has performed frequently with Dinosaur Annex, Boston Musica Viva, Ensemble Chaconne, Blue Heron, and the Musicians of the Old Post Road. She has been a regular soloist in the Emmanuel Music Bach Cantata series for over thirty years, having performed almost all 200 of Bach’s sacred cantatas. She has recorded for Arabesque, Artona, BMG, CRI, Dorian, Meridian, and KOCH. She serves as faculty at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and at the Longy School of Music of Bard College, and is a sought-after translator of lyric texts. More at www.pameladellal.com.
Philadelphia native Sylvia Berry has performed extensively at home and abroad as a soloist and chamber musician. Her debut CD on the Acis label– a disc of Haydn’s “London Sonatas” recorded on an 1806 Broadwood restored by Dale Munschy – was hailed by Early Music America as “A wonderful debut that augurs more wonders to a come." She was also described in this review as “a complete master of the rhetoric throughout, whether in the driving passagework of the allegros or the cantabile adagios.” A review in Fanfare stated, “To say that Berry plays these works with vim, vigor, verve, and vitality, is actually a bit of an understatement.” Ms. Berry specializes in performing on early keyboard instruments (fortepiano, harpsichord) as well as the performance practices of the 18th and early 19th centuries. She is known not only for her exciting performances, but for her engaging commentary about the music and the instruments she plays. Benjamin Dunham of Early Music America stated: “… [she] revealed a poetic sensibility and a willingness to draw listeners in with spaces to pause and reflect. These qualities contrasted nicely with up-tempo movements, which were handled with verve.” Highlights of past performances include appearances on the Fringe Series of the Utrecht Early Music Festival (The Netherlands); the Benton Fletcher Collection at Fenton House (London); “Drive Time Live” on WGBH Radio; the Cambridge Society for Early Music Candlelight Series; the Connecticut Early Music Festival; the Portland (ME) Early Music Festival. She is also active as a writer, penning numerous sets of CD liner notes as well as articles for magazines and journals such as Early Music America, Keyboard Perspectives (the yearbook of the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies) and the Journal of European Piano Teachers Association: Netherlands Edition. Ms. Berry studied at the New England Conservatory, the Oberlin Conservatory (where she received an MM in historical keyboard instruments and historical performance practice), and the Royal Conservatory in The Hague.
Sylvia Berry's new ensemble, The Berry Collective, will feature a rotating cast of some of today’s best performers in the field of Early Music. They are musicians who perform in orchestras such as The Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Tafelmusik, A Far Cry, and others. The focus will be on music from Schobert (a little-known German composer working in France whose music was very influential to composers such as Mozart and Boccherini) to Schubert, a beloved titan whose music shines forth with new brilliance when performed on historical instruments. The Berry Collective is now able to receive tax-deductible donations through Fractured Atlas, and plans for the 2015-16 are underway.
Favella Lyrica means "lyric speech" and the ensemble aims to capture the communicative power of its chosen repertoire, the vocal chamber music of the 17th and 18th centuries. Favella Lyrica has an impressive array of concert programs including familiar and rarely-heard works of Monteverdi, Handel, Purcell, Schütz, and Couperin, as well as other composers. Their programming has been universally praised for its variety and imagination (see below). Brilliant guest artists often augment the forces of the ensemble, expanding the range of repertoire available to them. Its three members, Pamela Murray, soprano, Pamela Dellal, mezzo-soprano, and Michael Beattie, harpsichord, have a wide range of performing experience, with repertoire spanning the 12th to the 20th centuries. The ensemble has appeared on the BEMF concert series and the Celebrity Series of Boston, as well as numerous festivals and concert venues across the U.S. Their three CDs, for KOCH International Classics, have received impressive critical response. "Sweet Torment" features music of 17th century Italy and Germany; "Blind Love, Cruel Beauty” focuses on Handel’s chamber duets; and "A New Sappho: Barbara Strozzi and Nicolò Fontei” presents duets by the Venetian genius and one of her librettists and contemporaries.
Vivian Montgomery, DMA, is an award-winning harpsichordist and fortepianist on the Early Music Faculty of the Longy School of Music of Bard College. A 2014 Fulbright Senior Research Scholar (UK), and a recipient of a Solo Recitalist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, she has been praised for her "…exquisite music-making...exceptional for its precision, blend and stylistic unity...sprightly and charming" (Music in Cincinnati) whose “…gestures flowed like harmonious rivulets, building into swift cascades, and even torrents...grabbing the listeners with its ebb and flow” (Boston Musical Intelligencer). As a faculty member at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Vivian taught early keyboards and historical performance from 2003 through 2013. Having earned her Masters in Early Keyboards from the University of Michigan and the DMA in Early Music from Case Western Reserve University, she has served as Director of the Jurow International Harpsichord Competition since 2009. Recipient of First Distinction in the Warsaw International Harpsichord Competition, and Second Prize in the Jurow International Harpsichord Competition, Vivian’s performing life encompasses concerto solos, solo recitals, chamber music performances, and vocal accompanying work throughout the United States. She has been heard widely in recent performances of 19th-century American and women’s music, well represented on her new CD release Reviving Song: Spirited Works by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Hélene Montgeroult, and Louis Spohr (Women and Music Project, Brandeis University WSRC). Vivian’s work on little-known piano music for domestic use, especially in Antebellum America, is exemplified by the Centaur Records release entitled Brilliant Variations on Sentimental Songs. While building on collaborations as half of the period instruments duo Adastra (adastra.vivianmontgomery.org/site/), Vivian has ardently explored the musical lives of women from 1500 to 1900, especially through two decades of cross-disciplinary work with her ensemble, Cecilia’s Circle (ccircle.org). Recordings of music by Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (2005) and Barbara Strozzi (upcoming) by the group are on the Centaur label, and other recordings by Vivian can be found on 10,000 Lakes (Schubert Club) and Innova labels. Vivian’s work as a conductor has led to engagements directing baroque opera, orchestras, and choirs in Minneapolis (Ex Machina Antique Music Theatre Company and the University of Minnesota), Cleveland (CWRU/CIM Baroque Orchestra and Early Music Singers), Pennsylvania (Dickinson College Collegium), and in her current residence, Boston, as co-director of the new baroque orchestra, Eudaimonia, A Purposeful Period Band. Vivian holds a post as a Resident Scholar at the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center (brandeis.edu/wsrc/), where she is a founding member of the Women and Music Mix, an important vehicle for advocacy, concert presentation, and funding of female composers. In March of this year, she’ll be in England with the support of a Women’s Travel Fund award, touring historic venues with a concert program that features John Howell Morrison’s Jane’s History, performed by renowned soprano Catherine Bott, and recording newly discovered keyboard works by long-neglected women composers of the Georgian era. As an avid writer of both scholarly articles and personal essay, Vivian is currently bridging the two realms with Finding the Space Between, a collection of pieces on harpsichord playing, teaching, and repertoire, drawing upon a wide array of life experiences, physical/spiritual practices, and vocabulary surrounding expression, movement, and deep listening. Vivian is also an accordion player, and can be heard with her clarinetist son Ezra Morrison as leaders of the klezmer band Shir Chutzpa at Temple Shir Tikva in Wayland.
A few of the titles we'll be presenting:
“Reviving Song” (music by Fanny Mendelssohn, Helene Montgeroult & Louis Spohr, performed by fortepianist Vivian Montgomery, mezzo soprano Pamel Dellal, and period clarinetist Diane Heffner) - https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/pameladellalvivianmontgo Cecilia’s Circle (soprano Janet Youngdahl, violinist Julie Andrijeski, gambist Ann Marie Morgan, harpsichordist Vivian Montgomery) - CD of music by Elisabeth Claude Jacquet de La Guerre - https://www.ccircle.org Galhano/Montgomery Duo (Clea Galhano, recorder/Vivian Montgomery, harpsichord - http://www.allmusic.com/album/songs-in-the-ground-mw0001425303 Brilliant Variations on Sentimental Songs: Slipping Virtuosity into the Antebellum Drawing Room (Vivian Montgomery, fortepiano & Pamela Dellal, mezzo soprano) - https://www.hbdirect.com/album_detail.php?pid=3156557 Fantasies for a Modern Recorder, an album featuring the virtuosic flexibility of the Mollenhauer Helder tenor recorder Fanfares and Filigree, Kleine Kammermusik’s premier recording Well-Tempered Woodwinds: Friedrich von Huene and the Making of Early Music in a New World, by Geoffrey Burgess (Indiana Univ. Press, 2015) Geoffrey Burgess' critical edition of Bruce Haynes’ Nachlass, The Pathetick Musician: Moving an Audience in the Age of Eloquence (Oxford Univ. Press, 2016) Benedictus for Recorder or Vocal Trio (Original composition by Melika Fitzhugh) Carolyn's Tenor for Recorder Trio (Original composition by Melika Fitzhugh) CREUBEN for Soprano Recorder and Guitar (Original composition by Melika Fitzhugh) Drei Clavierstucke (Original composition by Melika Fitzhugh) For Risa for Flute, Guitar and Bass (Original composition by Melika Fitzhugh) Respiravisse in Perpetuo for Helder Tenor Recorder (Original composition by Melika Fitzhugh) Road Rain for Tenor Recorder and Harpsichord or Piano (Original composition by Melika Fitzhugh) Sicilian-ish for Recorder Trio (Original composition by Melika Fitzhugh) Tali or Toli? for Sopranino Recorder, Bass Curtal, and Continuo Organ (Original composition by Melika Fitzhugh) Theme on D for Recorder Trio (Original composition by Melika Fitzhugh) Theme on the B String for Solo Guitar (Original composition by Melika Fitzhugh) Two Inventions of Keyboard (Original composition by Melika Fitzhugh) Waltz Canon in D Minor for 3+ Instruments (Original composition by Melika Fitzhugh) Courtiers & Costermongers, a brand new recording from Seven Times Salt
For more information or other inquiries, contact Emily O'Brien at emily-at-emilysdomain-dot-org.