Apollo's Fire Announces 2014-15 Season, Which Includes THE MONTEVERDI VESPERS OF 1610, Handel's MESSIAH and More

Apollo's Fire, the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, proudly announces its 23rd season under Music Director Jeannette Sorrell. Recently praised for its "European stylishness combined with 'can-do' American entrepreneurism" (THE TELEGRAPH, LONDON), and described as "American bohemian chic...exuberant...flamboyant and fun." (THE BIRMINGHAM POST, U.K.), Apollo's Fire plays to sold-out houses around the world - from London and Madrid to New York, Boston, Toronto and Los Angeles. The ensemble strives to revive the true spirit of baroque performances-not only with period instruments, but with the emotional impact the music was intended to convey. In addition to being in high demand for international touring, Apollo's Fire also enjoys one of the largest baroque subscription audiences in the nation, and its subscription programs in Northeast Ohio have repeatedly been chosen by GRAMOPHONE and BBC MAGAZINE as among the "Top 20 Concerts in North America."

For AF's 2014-15 line-up, Sorrell has chosen a lively and varied season while also paying tribute to J.S. Bach in honor of his 330th birthday. The year-long Bach celebration opens with an evening of Bach's "Orchestral Fireworks," continues with a visit to Bach's household in the winter for a "Family Frolic" and winds up in the spring with an homage to Bach's most admired colleague, Vivaldi - including a Vivaldi piece that Bach transcribed.

New innovations in the 2014-15 season include a collaboration with the Music Box Supper Club in February to bring a Valentine's Day special dinner and concert - "The Blues Café, 1610." In addition, AF offers co-presentations with Kent State University (December 3), the Performing Arts Center at the Cleveland Masonic Auditorium (December 7), and Lake Erie College (April 23); and appears at the Cleveland Institute of Music's Mixon Hall in January. The season includes seven subscription programs (30 concerts) spanning four Northeast Ohio counties, in addition to diverse educational offerings and touring (see below headings).

This season also marks the 20th anniversary of AF's subscription series in Akron. The ensemble will celebrate this milestone with special outreach initiatives in Akron as well as a gala special event on May 31.

Subscription Series:

Apollo's Fire opens the season in October with a celebration of J.S. Bach's 330th birthday. "Bach's Birthday Party - Part I, Orchestral Fireworks" unveils three great Bach pieces never yet played on the AF stage, including Concerto in C minor for Two Harpsichords (featuring Jeannette Sorrell and Joe Gascho on harpsichord), Violin Concerto in E Major (featuring AF concertmaster Olivier Brault), and Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor for Flute & Strings (featuring Kathie Stewart on flute).

In November, AF tackles its signature piece "The Monteverdi Vespers of 1610." This masterpiece of the baroque era combines the exoticism of the East with the structure of the West. Sorrell's interpretation has won international acclaim -the recording of this project reaching the Billboard Classical Top 10. THE PLAIN DEALER writes "A resplendent account, brilliantly motivated by Sorrell and performed with vibrant attention to dramatic detail. In short, a thriller from first note to last." Featuring tenors Oliver Mercer and Karim Sulayman and sopranos Molly Quinn and Nell Snaidas alongside the exquisite Apollo's Singers, the program performs in four local concerts before embarking on a seven-city national tour, supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

In December, AF once again reprises its popular holiday double-bill format, offering performances of "Sacrum Mysterium - A Celtic Christmas Vespers" and "Handel's Messiah." Now a Billboard Classical best-selling CD, the "Celtic Christmas" program has enamored sold-out audiences the past three years in Akron and Cleveland. This tapestry of chant, pagan carols and joyous dance and fiddle tunes reprises performances by soprano Meredith Hall, dancer/guitarist Steve Player, and Sylvain Bergeron's Ensemble La Nef of Montreal. This year, Apollo's Fire presents the program at Kent State University on Dec. 3, before bringing it to NY City where AF will make its debut at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Dec. 5. A final performance in Cleveland takes place December 7 under the auspices of the Performing Arts Center at the Cleveland Masonic Auditorium.

"Handel's Messiah" performs December 11-15. Featuring favorite vocalists Meredith Hall (soprano), Amanda Powell (mezzo-soprano), Ross Hauck (tenor) and Jeffrey Strauss (baritone), Sorrell's acclaimed interpretation takes its cue from Handel's original conception of the piece as a theatrical entertainment. The actor-singers embark on a spiritual and emotional journey, taking the audience along for a thrilling holiday ride. FANFARE RECORD MAGAZINE praises the "freshness, clarity, and enthusiasm... youthful fire and commitment" of AF's Messiah CD recording.

AF opens the new calendar year with a multi-generational tribute to Bach. "Bach's Birthday Party, Part II: A Family Frolic" tells the musical story of a day at the Bach family home. Papa Bach had his hands full with a house overflowing with kids, a rebellious teenage daughter, and the perilous attraction of Coffee down the street. This concert features AF's Young Apprentices, including Madeline Healey (soprano) and Cynthia Black (violin), alongside veteran AF principal players in a staged performance of the Coffee Cantata. Healey, recently praised for her "gorgeous singing" (THE WASHINGTON POST) at her Kennedy Center debut, takes center stage as Bach's favorite daughter, Lieschen. This program is part of the Fireside Concert Series - 90 minute programs followed by coffee and conversation with the artists. Dates are January 22-25.

"Blues Café 1610" performs February 12-16. Re-creating a café in Italy or Spain and featuring four singers (Nell Snaidas, Oliver Mercer, Karim Sulayman, and Jeffrey Strauss), plucked instruments, violins and exotic percussion (Rex Benincasa) - musicians "jam" on the popular "blues" bass lines of the time. The program includes works by Monteverdi, Castello, Capricornus, Bertali and others. In addition to performances in Beachwood, Cleveland Heights, Rocky River, and Fairlawn, Apollo's Fire has teamed with Cleveland's Music Box Supper Club for a special Valentine's event - dinner with the baroque jam session!

In its final subscription program of the season, AF presents two weekends of "Vivaldi's Four Seasons: rediscovered." THE PLAIN DEALER praised AF's last performance of these gems for its "artistic passion, inexhaustible energy...and keen musical observations." Discover what Jeannette Sorrell calls the "rock 'n' roll" qualities of this music - featuring the dynamic Olivier Brault on violin. Plus - as a final season tribute to Bach, AF favorites René Schiffer (cello), Johanna Novom (violin) and Julie Andrijeski (violin) solo in a Vivaldi piece that J.S. Bach transcribed.

Touring & Recording

Apollo's Fire is excited to announce its debut at the prestigious BBC Proms on Saturday, August 15, 2015. This will be the group's third visit to London. Of AF's last visit in May, the Telegraph praised AF's "superlative music-making," while the CLASSICAL SOURCE, LONDON writes, "The ever-growing reputation of Apollo's Fire - an ensemble based in Cleveland, Ohio - ensured a substantial and very appreciate audience. This well-planned programme demonstrated to perfection the players' high artistry... This was a supremely satisfying concert on every level. A further appearance in London by Apollo's Fire would be very welcome."

National touring engagements for the 2014-15 season include AF's debut at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on December 5, performing Sorrell's acclaimed "Sacrum Mysterium: A Celtic Christmas Vespers." Additionally, the group will complete a national tour of the "Monteverdi Vespers of 1610", performing November 2-14 at the University of Illinois, Urbana; the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; the University of Florida, Gainesville; Houston Early Music; University of Texas, Austin; Cal Performances, Berkeley; and Stanford University, Palo Alto in addition to local performances in Cleveland and Akron. This tour is underwritten by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Other tour engagements include the Pittsburgh Renaissance & Baroque Society in April. For complete touring details, please visit: http://www.apollosfire.org/touring/touring.html

AF will release a new recording on British label AVIE in the late spring. "Glory on the Mountain - An Appalachian Journey is based on Sorrell's hit program from June 2014, celebrating the journeys and stories of the Celtic settles in Appalachia. In addition, this season AF will record two additional discs - Handel and Vivaldi arias with Amanda Forsythe and Sorrell's "Sephardic Journey" program - for future release in fall 2015.

Education Programming:

ClevelandClassical.com has praised the "unseen part of the extraordinary work that Jeannette Sorrell is doing with Apollo's Fire -- the mentoring of young people through music."

This season, AF features its talented Young Artist Apprentices alongside AF principal players in a multi-generational music party titled "Bach's Birthday Party, Part II: A Family Frolic," January 22-25.

Additionally, AF continues its popular pre-concert lectures one hour before most subscription concerts. In keeping with its tradition of cultivating engagement between the performers and the audience, AF will also offer Q&A sessions after select performances and will reprise the popular "Fireside" series, where the audience is invited to mingle and enjoy coffee and conversation with the artists following the performance.

In addition to workshops around the region, AF offers three "FAMILY CONCERTS" in 2014-15. These 45-minute programs for the young and young-at-heart (ages 6-96) include "Christmas in Old Ireland" (December 7, at Cleveland Masonic Auditorium) and "A Day at Vivaldi's Orphanage" (April 11 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights / April 12 at First United Methodist Church in Akron). Tickets to family concerts can be purchased by calling the Box Office (216-320-0012 x1) or by ordering online after September 8 (www.apollosfire.org).

Subscriptions & Tickets:

On sale beginning JULY 25, are subscription packages for the 2014-2015 Season, which include ticket discounts of up to 25%. Four-concert, five-concert, six-concert, and seven-concert subscriptions range from $37 (for students) to $383.

Single Tickets range from $20-$70 with special rates for students, seniors, and young adults (under 30). Single tickets are available for purchase online beginning SEPTEMBER 8th. For more information or to request a season brochure, please visit the website at www.apollosfire.org or call Apollo's Fire at (216) 320-0012 or (800) 314-2535.

Dates and locations of the programs are as follows:

Bach's Birthday Party - Part i

Orchestral Fireworks

October 9-12, 2014

Thursday, October 9, 7:30 PM Fairlawn Lutheran Church

Friday, October 10, 8:00 PM St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Cleveland Hts.

Saturday, October 11, 8:00 PM St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Cleveland Hts. Sunday, October 12, 4:00 PM Rocky River Presbyterian Church

The Monteverdi Vespers of 1610

October 31 - November 7, 2014

Friday, October 31, 8:00 PM St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Akron

Saturday, November 1, 8:00 PM Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland

Sunday, November 2, 3:30 PM St. Mary of the Falls, Olmsted Falls

Friday, November 7, 8:00 PM First Baptist Church, Shaker Hts.

Sacrum Mysterium A Celtic Christmas Vespers

December 3 & 7, 2014

Wednesday, December 3, 7:30 PM Cartwright Hall, Kent State University, Kent

Sunday, December 7, 4:00 PM Cleveland Masonic Auditorium*

*Co-presented with the Performing Arts Center

Handel's Messiah

December 11 - 15, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 7:30 PM Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland

Friday, December 12, 8:00 PM First Baptist Church, Shaker Hts.

Saturday, December 13, 8:00 PM First Baptist Church, Shaker Hts.

Sunday, December 14, 3:30 PM St. Mary of the Falls, Olmsted Falls

Monday, December 15, 7:30 PM Fairlawn Lutheran Church

THE FIRESIDE CONCERTS - Cozy 90-minute programs followed by Coffee & Conversation with the Artists.

Bach's Birthday Party - Part II:
Family Frolic A Multi-Generational Music Party
January 22 - 25, 2015

Thursday, January 22, 7:30 PM Mixon Hall, Cleveland Institute of Music

Friday, January 23, 8:00 PM First United Methodist Church, Akron

Saturday, January 24, 8:00 PM St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Cleveland Hts.

Sunday, January 25, 4:00 PM Rocky River Presbyterian Church

Blues Café 1610

February 12-16, 2015

Thursday, February 12, 7:30 PM The Temple - Tifereth Israel, Beachwood

Friday, February 13, 8:00 PM St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Cleveland Hts.

Saturday, February 14, 8:00 PM Music Box Super Club, Cleveland*

Sunday, February 15, 4:00 PM Rocky River Presbyterian Church

Monday, February 16, 7:30 PM Fairlawn Lutheran Church

* Special Valentine's Day Performance - Single Tickets Only. Optional dinner at 7:00 PM.

Vivaldi's Four Seasons Rediscovered

April 16- 26, 2015 - Two weekends!

Thursday, April 16, 7:30 PM Fairlawn Lutheran Church

Friday, April 17, 8:00 PM Fairmount Presbyterian Church, Cleveland Hts.

Sunday, April 19, 4:00 PM Rocky River Presbyterian Church

Thursday, April 23, 7:30 PM* Morley Hall, Lake Erie College, Painesville

Saturday, April 25, 8:00 PM Fairmount Presbyterian Church, Cleveland Hts.

Sunday, April 26, 4:00 PM St. Noel Church, Willoughby Hills

*Co-presented with Lake Erie College

About Apollo's Fire: Named for the classical god of music and the sun, Apollo's Fire was founded in 1992 by the award- winning young harpsichordist and conductor Jeannette Sorrell. Sorrell envisioned an ensemble dedicated to the baroque ideal that music should evoke the various Affekts or passions in the listeners. Apollo's Fire is a collection of creative artists who share Sorrell's passion for drama and rhetoric.

Hailed as "one of the pre-eminent period-instrument ensembles" (THE INDEPENDENT, LONDON), Apollo's Fire made its London debut in 2010 in a sold-out concert at Wigmore Hall, with BBC broadcast. Apollo's Fire returned to Europe in fall 2011, as part of a major international tour with countertenor Philippe Jaroussky. The ensemble was met with standing ovations in Madrid (Royal Theatre), Bordeaux (Grand Théàtre de l'Opéra), Lisbon, Metz, Boston, Toronto, Los Angeles and San Francisco. A third European tour in 2014 included London, Birmingham and Austria, all of which elicited rave reviews in the press.

Apollo's Fire has also toured throughout North America, appearing at such venues as the Aspen Music Festival, the Boston Early Music Festival series, and the Library of Congress. Major North American tours include the Monteverdi Vespers in 2010 (11 concerts) and the Brandenburg Concertos in 2013 (9 concerts). At home in Cleveland, Apollo's Fire enjoys sold-out performances at its subscription series, which has drawn national attention for Sorrell's creative programming.

Apollo's Fire has released 20 commercial CD's, four of which have become Billboard bestsellers in the U.S. The ensemble records for British label AVIE. Since the ensemble's introduction into the European CD market in 2010, the recordings have won rave reviews in the London press: "a swaggering version, brilliantly played" (THE TIMES) and "the Midwest's best-kept musical secret is finally reaching British ears" (THE INDEPENDENT). The 2010 CD release of the Monteverdi Vespers and the 2011 release of Jeannette Sorrell's early American disc "Come to the River" both became immediate best-sellers in the U.S.A.

Music Director Jeannette Sorrell has won international attention for "forging a vibrant, life-affirming approach to early music" (BBC Magazine). Trained by the great harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt and by conductors Leonard Bernstein and Roger Norrington, Sorrell won the First Prize and Audience Choice Award in the Spivey International Harpsichord Competition - the largest harpsichord competition that has taken place in modern times. She has won national awards for creative programming. Increasingly in demand as a guest conductor and soloist, she has led the Pittsburgh Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Omaha Symphony, and the Houston Early Music Festival, and this season makes her debut with the

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