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GEMS Presents Midtown Concerts Series, Thursdays Beg. Today, 10/11

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Gotham Early Music Scene (GEMS), as part of its milestone Fifth Anniversary celebration, has taken over the presentation and management of Midtown Concerts, a weekly series of 35-minute early music concerts in midtown Manhattan featuring soloists and ensembles from the U.S. and abroad. Admission is free. The first four months of concerts have just been announced, to be held every Thursday (except Thanksgiving Day) beginning today October 11, 2012, at 1:15 p.m. at Saint Peter's Lutheran Church at the Citigroup Center, Lexington Avenue at 54th Street.

GEMS Executive Director Gene Murrow states, "After fifteen years of managing the Midtown Concerts series, founder Gwendolyn Toth and the ARTEK Ensemble were ready to transfer the project to a service organization like GEMS. It's a perfect fit with our mission, as the series is intended to showcase a wide variety of early music ensembles and educate as well as entertain the general public. The celebrations surrounding our fifth anniversary year will focus new attention on the expanded series on Thursdays in a beautiful new venue."

Artists appearing on the series are chosen by competitive application. New for this year are a large number of high-quality emerging ensembles, including some formed by recent graduates of The Juilliard School's Historical Performance Program. Two special holiday programs are included: A Renaissance Christmas presented by My Lord Chamberlain's Consort on December 13, and Christmas in the High Renaissance by the a cappella vocal ensemble Vox Fidelis on December 27.

Midtown Concerts offers workers in midtown as well as the general public the opportunity to enjoy high-quality performances of music of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods in a convenient, comfortable, acoustically superb venue. Tickets are not necessary; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Free-will donations are gratefully accepted at the door.

Midtown Concerts is being presented with support from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and private donations. More information can be found at www.midtownconcerts.org or www.gemsny.org, or by calling 212/866-0468.

Complete Schedule, October 2012 – January 2013
Saint Peter's Lutheran Church at the Citigroup Center
619 Lexington Avenue (at 54th Street) | New York, NY 10022
All concerts are at 1:15 p.m.

October 11, 2012
Artis Wodehouse: 19th Century Gems for the Mustel Harmonium
Solo Keyboard

October 18, 2012
Tracy Cowart and Richard Kolb: Roman Voices –
Arias and Cantatas from Mid-17th Century Rome
Mezzo-Soprano and Theorbo

October 25, 2012
Natascha Reich: Between Two Worlds
Solo Harpsichord

November 1, 2012
PHOENIXtail: Ayres and Sonatas of England
Quartet: Harpsichord, Cello, Oboe, Violin

November 8, 2012
Sonia Lee: Harpsichord Music of the Italian Baroque – Toccatas, Dances and Variations
Solo Harpsichord

November 15, 2012
Grenser Trio: Beethoven with a Twist – His Septet for Three
Trio: Clarinet, Cello, Fortepiano

November 29, 2012
La Tour Baroque Duo: The Scotch Humour
Recorder and Harpsichord

December 6, 2012
Sonnambula: Armada – Renaissance Music from England and Spain
Viol Consort

December 13, 2012
My Lord Chamberlain's Consort: A Renaissance Christmas
Quintet: Tenor, Viol, Lute, Cittern, Soprano, Harp

December 20, 2012
Music's Quill: Beauty Sat Bathing
Tenor and Lute

December 27, 2012
Vox Fidelis: Christmas in the High Renaissance
A Cappella Voices

January 3, 2013
Emericus Ensemble: Mundus Novus
Voice, Guitar, Dancer

January 10, 2013
Lyra Consort: The Little Consorts Part II – English Chamber Works with Lyra and Division Viol
Viol Consort

January 17, 2013
Dryden Ensemble: Mozart's Birthday
Oboe, Strings, Fortepiano

January 24, 2013
Kristina Giles and Marie Blair: An Afternoon of Baroque Favorites
Violin and Harpsichord

January 31, 2013
Anima: Journey of Orpheus
Quartet: Soprano, Violin, Harp, Lirone/Gamba

Programs for February through June will be announced at a later date.

Gotham Early Music Scene, Inc. (GEMS) is a not-for-profit corporation that enhances the quality and financial stability of participating artists and organizations by:

¨ providing administrative, marketing, financial, and other support services to professional and amateur performing groups, institutions, presenters, and other organizations interested in early music;
¨ securing paid touring engagements throughout North America for New York-based early music artists;
¨ increasing audience size and diversity by enhanced publicity and access to early music events; and
¨ educating the public and the media about early music.

Founded in 2007 by a small group of leading figures in New York musical circles to serve and promote New York's early music community, GEMS has, in this short time:

¨ presented 91 New York City ensembles in concert, including an annual fall series showcasing established and emerging artists;
¨ provided adminstrative, marketing, and logistical services to more than 144 NYC cultural organizations and artists;
¨ exhibited at 14 national arts conferences and booked 101 paid nationwide engagements for NYC musical ensembles via its GEMS Live! Agency;
¨ provided well-paid engagements under Local 802 union contracts to dozens of professional musicians;
¨ served tens of thousands of audience members (more than 1,800 of whom received free tickets);
¨ taught more than 320 children the basics of music through its S'Cool Sounds semester-long elementary school teaching programs; and
¨ helped launch several new early music initiatives, including OperaOmnia, 4x4 Baroque Concerts, Salon/Sanctuary Concerts, and Sinfonia New York.

The result of these and other efforts is the recognition by musicians, audiences, and patrons that New York has reasserted its postion as a major center of early music activity in the world.

With a budget of over $350,000, a Board of nine distinguished professionals, and a staff of six, GEMS is supported by The New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, several foundations, and a large roster of individual donors. 

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