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GEMS Opens 5th Anniversary Celebration with Gala Concert Tonight, 10/4

Gotham Early Music Scene (GEMS), an organization that enriches public understanding and appreciation of early music in New York City, has played a major role in revitalizing the early music community since its founding in 2007. GEMS will be celebrating its milestone fifth anniversary this October through January, beginning with a gala concert and reception tonight, October 4, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 West 64th Street, in Manhattan. Tickets are $40 for the concert alone, or $125 for the concert and reception.


The period instrument ensemble The Sinfonia Players will present its acclaimed program, “Art and Ecstasy of the Chaconne,” with guest artists Patricia Beaman and Carlos Fittante, baroque dancers. Music, dance, and song will take the audience on a tour through Europe via Spain, Italy, England, France and Germany, with music by Monteverdi, Purcell, Couperin, Leclair, Lully, J.S. Bach and others. (See below for full program.) Featured are Nell Snaidas, soprano; Claire Jolivet, performing the Chaconne from J.S. Bach’s Partita in D minor for unaccompanied violin; and John Scott, harpsichord. The production was first presented in New York in 2009, and has toured the United States and Canada.

“Art and Ecstasy” offers a visual/musical history of the chaconne, from its origins as a wild and sacrilegious street dance in Spain to its apotheosis in the Chaconne from Bach’s Partita. Often described as “the most unbridled and passionate of dances,” the chaconne originally involved whole body undulations, massive hip movements and indecent lyrics. It was banned by the Catholic Church; one could receive up to 200 lashes for dancing the chaconne and thus ignoring the dictates of the Spanish Inquisition. On the rest of the continent, however, many prominent composers saw potential for wonderful expression in the form. The chaconne eventually found its way from the streets of Spain into the courts of The Kings Of Europe.

Gala Reception and Awards Ceremony

Following the concert, participating patrons will enjoy a supper menu and drinks in the Society’s Ceremonial Room. GEMS will present the first annual GEMINI awards, recognizing artistic accomplishment and service to the early music community. Michael and Kay Jaffee, founders of the seminal Waverly Consort, will be the first honorees.

Founded in 1964, the Waverly Consort is one of America’s pioneering musical ensembles in the early music revival, dedicated to exporing the fascinating sounds and styles of the medieval, Renaissance, and baroque repertoire. The ensemble has created a worldwide audience for its music through international concerts, recordings, and radio and television appearances. Mr. Jaffee was also instrumental in the founding of Chamber Music America, a national organization serving musicians, presenters, and educators throughout the country.

Complete Program


TONIGHT, October 4, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.
The New York Society for Ethical Culture
2 West 64th Street (at Central Park West) | New York, NY 10023

The Sinfonia Players
Christine Gummere, Artistic Director, cello
Patricia Beaman and Carlos Fittante, dancers
Judson Griffin, violin and viola | Grant Herreid, lute and theorbo
Claire Jolivet, violin | Sandra Miller, flute and piccolo
Theresa Salomon, violin and viola | John Scott, harpsichord
Nell Snaidas, soprano

Juan del Encina (1468-1530): Villancico
Virgilio Mazzocchi (1597-1646): Sdegno campion
Antonio Bertali (1605-1669): Chiacona for violin and continuo
(Ms. Salomon)
Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643): Quel guardo sdegnosetto
Henry Purcell (1659-1695): Chacony in g minor • Dido's Lament
(from Dido and Aeneas) • 3 Parts on a Ground in D major


Franςois Couperin (1668-1733): Le Rossignol-en-amour
Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687): Passacaille d'Armide from Armide
Jean-Marie Leclair (1709-1784): Chaconne from
Le Deuxième Récréation de Musique
Jean-Baptiste Lully: Chaconne de Galatée from Acis et Galatée
G. H. Stölzel (1690-1749): Bist du bei mir
J. S. Bach (1685-1750): Chaconne from Partita in d minor for unaccompanied violin
(Ms. Jolivet)
After Arañes: Gran Chacona
(arrangement courtesy of Grant Herreid, Ex Umbris;
choreography by Patricia Beaman and Carlos Fittante)

Tickets are $40 (concert only) or $125 (with reception), available at, by calling (212) 866-0468; or at the door.

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