Carnegie Hall to Launch April 2015 BEFORE BACH Series

Carnegie Hall to Launch April 2015 BEFORE BACH Series

This spring, Carnegie Hall celebrates the resurgence in interest in recent decades of the performance of the music of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras.

Leading this movement is a generation of performers who have devoted themselves to introducing concertgoers to the array of music written in the years before 1700, when both Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel (both born in 1685) became active composers. With great creativity, these artists have reimagined the world of music from this time, illuminating musical masterworks and bringing previously hidden corners of the repertoire to light. Carnegie Hall examines this musical movement with Before Bach, a month-long series that features thirteen concerts in April and May by some of the world's most exciting early-music performers.

Critically acclaimed L'Arpeggiata, led by Christina Pluhar, kicks off this artistic focus on April 7-8, performing the music of Francesco Cavalli--including selections from Cavalli's early operas--and Henry Purcell in two distinct concerts. Monteverdi specialist Sir John Eliot Gardiner concludes the series April 30 and May 1, leading lauded period-instrument ensemble the English Baroque Soloists and The Monteverdi Choir in two early Baroque masterpieces by the composer: the ambitious sacred work Vespro della Beata Vergine and a concert performance of L'Orfeo, one of the earliest operas still performed today.

In between, an amazing variety of ensembles and musicians from around the world come together at Carnegie Hall to take part in the celebration. Canadian ensembles Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec, conducted by Richard Egarr, delve into an all-Purcell program, featuring excerpts from King Arthur and The Fairy Queen, as well as the composer's landmark tragic opera Dido and Aeneas featuring riveting soprano Dorothea Röschmann as the opera's heroine (April 12). In the same week, viola da gamba master Jordi Savall performs a solo recital (April 13) and also leads period-instrument ensemble Le Concert des Nations in a program that features compositions by the forefather of orchestral music, Jean-Baptiste Lully, as well as work by other composers of the French Baroque period, including François Couperin, Jean-Philippe Rameau, and Jean-Baptiste Forqueray (April 16). Celebrated South African harpsichordist Kristian Bezuidenhout performs a captivating program of instrumental music (April 23), and Fretwork, a consort of viols hailing from the United Kingdom, performs works by Matthew Locke, Orlando Gibbons, and Henry Purcell (April 20).

Placing particular emphasis on vocal music during the pre-Bach period, the celebration features vocal ensembles Pomerium (April 9) and I Fagiolini (April 25), presenting sacred and secular glories from the Renaissance. In addition, renowned British vocal ensemble, The Tallis Scholars, are featured in two concerts. They bring vocal works by Josquin des Prez and William Byrd to their performance in Weill Recital Hall (April 18). In addition, in the spirit of passing musical scholarship from one generation to another, Tallis Scholars founder and director Peter Phillips leads a multi-day workshop for pre-professional choral singers, created by Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute, which culminates with workshop participants joining his group for a program at Church of St. Ignatius Loyola that features a composite mass drawn from Antoine Brumel's dramatic Missa Et ecce terrae motus and Tomás Luis de Victoria's Missa Salve Regina, in addition to Thomas Tallis's magnificent 40-part motet "Spem in alium" (April 17), one of the most extraordinary works of the Renaissance.

The April 16 concert by Jordi Savall and Le Concert des Nations and the April 30 program by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, English Baroque Soloists, and The Monteverdi Choir air on WQXR 105.9 FM in New York as part of the fourth annual Carnegie Hall Live broadcast and digital series, produced by WQXR and Carnegie Hall and hosted by WQXR's Jeff Spurgeon. Concerts in the series are available for live streaming on and During every live broadcast, WQXR and Carnegie Hall will host live web chats, including Twitter commentary by the broadcast team, from backstage and in the control room, connecting national and international fans to the music and to each other. This year, the WFMT Radio Network, the classical music and arts radio distributor and producer based in Chicago, has signed on to distribute select live concerts nationally. The complete Carnegie Hall Live line-up will also be available via WFMT Radio Network to public radio stations throughout the United States and internationally as a 13-part series starting in April 2015.

Further details on each Before Bach concert are noted below. For more information on the series, visit For a video introduction to the series, click here.


April 7-8: L'Arpeggiata
Kicking off the month-long Before Bach focus, early-music ensemble L'Arpeggiata and Artistic Director Christina Pluhar return to Carnegie Hall for a two-night series of concerts in Zankel Hall. On Tuesday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m., the ensemble is joined by soprano Nuria Rial for a program entitled L'Amore Innamorato: Arias by Francesco Cavalli. Ms. Pluhar is also featured on the theorbo. The following evening, Wednesday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m., Ms. Rial returns with alto Vincenzo Capezzuto and clarinetist Gianluigi Trovesi for a program entitled Music for A While: Improvisations on Henry Purcell featuring works by Cazzati and Purcell. A pre-concert talk starts at 6:30 p.m. in Zankel Hall with Christina Pluhar in conversation with Carnegie Hall's Director of Artistic Planning Jeremy Geffen.

April 9: Pomerium's Music for the Tudor Queens
Vocal ensemble Pomerium directed by Alexander Blachly sings music from the reigns of British monarchs Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I, including works by Robert White, Thomas Tallis, John Sheppard, and William Byrd on a program entitled Music for the Tudor Queens, on Thursday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Weill Recital Hall.

April 12: Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with Dorothea Röschmann
On Sunday, April 12 at 2:00 p.m., Richard Egarr conducts Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec in an all-Purcell program with excerpts from his operas King Arthur and The Fairy Queen in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage. Also on the program is Dido and Aeneas featuring soprano Dorothea Röschmann as Dido and baritone Henk Neven as Aeneas, alongside soprano Hélène Guilmette as Belinda; mezzo-soprano Vicki St. Pierre (Sorceress); sopranos Stefanie True (Second Woman), Lesley Emma Bouza (First Witch), and Sheila Dietrich (Second Witch); countertenor Daniel Cabena (Spirit); tenor Jacques-Olivier Chartier (Sailor); and bass-baritone Stephen Hegedus.

April 13 and 16: Jordi Savall
Acclaimed viola da gamba player Jordi Savall plays a solo recital entitled The Spirit of the Viol on Monday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. in Weill Recital Hall, with works by Jean de Sainte-Colombe, Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe le fils, Le Sieur de Machy, Marin Marais, and others. Mr. Savall returns on Thursday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m., leading Le Concert des Nations in Zankel Hall in works by Jean-Baptiste Lully, François Couperin, Marin Marais, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Jean Baptiste Forqueray, and Jean-Marie Leclair.

April 17-18: The Tallis Scholars
As part of a weeklong workshop for pre-professional singers presented by Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute, Peter Phillips and The Tallis Scholars coach a group of 37 singers in the performance of a composite mass drawn from Antoine Brumel's dramatic Missa Et ecce terrae motus and Tomás Luis de Victoria's Missa Salve Regina, and other works including Thomas Tallis's "Loquebantur variis linguis," and "Spem in alium" which will be performed in a culminating concert on Friday, April 17 at 8:00 p.m. at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola. The following evening, Saturday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Weill Recital Hall, Peter Phillips conducts The Tallis Scholars in works by Josquin des Préz and William Byrd.

April 20: Fretwork
Viol ensemble Fretwork plays an assortment of 17th century English works by Byrd, Cornyshe, Ferrabosco, Gibbons, Jenkins, Locke, Parsons, Purcell, Taverner, and Tye on Monday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. in Weill Recital Hall.

April 23: Kristian Bezuidenhout
South African harpsichordist Kristian Bezuidenhout returns to Weill Recital Hall on Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. for a program of works by Weckmann, Purcell, Muffat, Couperin, Ritter, Froberger, and J.S. Bach.

April 25: I Fagiolini
On Saturday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. in Weill Recital Hall, Robert Hollingworth directs vocal ensemble I Fagiolini in a fun evening of madrigals, chansons, and ensaladas-songs with mixtures of languages and rhythms written as entertainments for the Valencian court-entitled Insalata I Fagiolini ("The Little Beans"), with the program divided into meal courses ("Amuse-bouche," "Entrée," "Tapas y ensalada," "Primo piatto," "Sorbet," and "Carne").

April 30-May 1: Sir John Eliot Gardiner with the English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir
Concluding Carnegie Hall's Before Bach focus, Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts the English Baroque Soloists and The Monteverdi Choir in Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine on Thursday, April 30 at 8:00 p.m. in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage. The following evening, Friday, May 1 at 8:00 p.m., Sir John Eliot Gardiner returns with the English Baroque Soloists, The Monteverdi Choir, select soloists and choir for a concert performance of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo.

Tickets are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website,

For Carnegie Hall Corporation presentations taking place in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, a limited number of seats, priced at $10, will be available day-of-concert beginning at 11:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 12:00 noon on Sunday until one hour before the performance or until supply lasts. The exceptions are Carnegie Hall Family Concerts and gala events. These $10 tickets are available to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis at the Carnegie Hall Box Office only. There is a two-ticket limit per customer.

In addition, for all Carnegie Hall presentations in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage a limited number of partial view (seats with obstructed or limited sight lines or restricted leg room) will be sold for 50% of the full price. For more information on this and other discount ticket programs, including those for students, Notables members, and Bank of America customers, visit Artists, programs, and prices are subject to change.

Photo Credit: Chris Lee


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