Music of the Americas: Early Music Week
Music of the Americas: Early Music Week
En Casa is back with a week of early music curated by Nell Snaidas.
Snaidas selected a stellar group of early music performers from Latin America, Canada, and the United States who sent us their versions of classics of the European baroque alongside pieces from Mexico and Bolivia.
In the Recuerdos series, we share a video of Snaidas herself in Tonada el palomo, recorded in 2013 at the Hispanic Society (now called the Hispanic Society Museum & Library), in what was our first collaboration with the Upper Manhattan museum.
Continuing with that collaboration, Music Director Sebastian Zubieta will participate in a virtual Tertulia de Arte Hispano about the museum's extraordinary music collection with Board Chairman and scholar Philippe de Montebello on Tuesday, January 12, at 6 p.m. ET.
Monday, January 11, 10 a.m.
Karin Cuéllar is a Bolivian historical violinist and scholar currently residing in Montreal. Cuéllar performs regularly with Montreal-based period ensembles such as Arion, Les Boreades, and L’Harmonie des saisons. Past collaborations have included Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment, Florilegium, Oxford Bach Soloists, Ex Cathedra, American Bach Soloists, Apollo’s Fire, ARTEK, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Bolivia. Cuéllar earned a master of arts in historical performance from Case Western Reserve University under the guidance of Julie Andrijeski and Ross Duffin, and an advanced diploma on baroque violin from the Royal Academy of Music in London, where she studied with Maggie Faultless, Rachel Podger, and Matthew Truscott as a beneficiary of the San Marino and Vincent Meyer scholarships. Cuéllar is currently pursuing a doctorate in music at McGill University with a research focus on performance practices in South America in the first half of the nineteenth century, using as a case study the music of composer Pedro Ximenez Abrill Tirado.
Tuesday, January 12, 10 a.m.
Pascale Beaudin is a permanent member of the Four Nations Ensemble in New York and a regular guest of Chatham Baroque in Pittsburgh and collaborates with many ensembles and festivals, including the Orchestre Métropolitain, Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, Les Violons du Roy, l’Ensemble contemporain de Montréal, the Société d’art vocal de Montréal, the Festival d’opéra de Québec, and the Vancouver Early Music Festival. The New York Times praised her voice and sassiness, while the Washington Post reported that she sang the aria "Per pietà" "with such deliberate quiet elegance and restraint that it was a highlight not just of the evening, but also of [the reviewer's] year." Beaudin is one of six singers featured on the five-disc release Poulenc: Intégrale des mélodies pour voix et piano with pianist Olivier Godin, released by ATMA Classique in 2013. She is also featured on the world premiere recording of Nicandro e Fileno (Lorenzani) with Les Boréades and Le Nouvel Opéra, Les Femmes vengées (Philidor), and DVD productions of Léonore ou l’amour conjugal (Gaveau) and Leonore (Beethoven) with Opera Lafayette. Beaudin has received national recognition with government grants from the Canada Arts Council, the Jeunesses Musicales du Canada Foundation, the Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Québec, and the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation. She lives in Pittsburgh.
Scott Pauley (lute, theorbo, and baroque guitar) is an active performer on historical plucked instruments and is co-artistic director of Chatham Baroque, Pittsburgh's acclaimed period instruments ensemble. He holds a doctorate in early music performance practice from Stanford University. A native of California, he studied also in Spain and the United Kingdom, where he was a student of Nigel North at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In London he performed with various early music ensembles, including the Brandenburg Consort, The Sixteen, and Florilegium. He won prizes at the 1996 Early Music Festival Van Vlaanderen in Brugge and at the 1994 Van Wassenaer Competition in Amsterdam. Pauley has performed with The Four Nations Ensemble, Tempesta di Mare, Musica Angelica, Opera Lafayette, The Folger Consort, The Toronto Consort, and as a soloist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. As a continuo player, he has performed in numerous baroque opera productions both in the United States and abroad. He performed at Carnegie Hall in New York and at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., with the acclaimed British ensemble, the English Concert.
Wednesday, January 13, 10 a.m.
Rubén Valenzuela is the founder and artistic director of the Bach Collegium San Diego (BCSD). As a conductor, keyboardist, and musicologist, he has led BCSD in numerous notable performances of music of music from the Renaissance through the early Classical period. With BCSD he has performed in Bolivia and Mexico and recently appeared as guest conductor with Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity in New York. His performances have been described as "dramatic" and "vibrant" and "able to unlock the true power of Baroque music" (SanDiegoStory.com). An accomplished organist and accompanist, he has toured throughout Europe and served as principal continuo for Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería in Mexico City and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. As a musicologist, Valenzuela has undertaken research at the Centro Nacional de Investigación, Documentación e Información Musical, Carlos Chavez (CENIDIM), and the Archivo del Cabildo of Mexico City Cathedral on the basso continuo in Novo-Hispanic music (1680–1750). His current research focuses on the music and life of Anglo-Canadian composer Healey Willan. He holds a PhD in musicology from Claremont Graduate University and is the director of the music organist of All Souls' Episcopal Church, San Diego, and the choral director of the La Jolla Symphony Chorus. In 2012, he was chosen by San Diego Metro Magazine as one of "Twenty Men Who Impact San Diego" for his outstanding work with BCSD, and his ongoing contributions to the local arts community.
Thursday, January 14, 10 a.m.
Adriana Ruiz began her studies of piano at the age of seven and completed her studies of voice and choral conducting at the Conservatorio Esteban Salas in Santiago de Cuba. Ruiz recently appeared as soloist and ensemble member with the award-winning Apollo's Fire, touring to New York City, Cleveland, and Chicago. She also gave a solo recital of Spanish Renaissance songs with guitarist Jason Yoshida on the newly created Vocal Artist Management Virtual Recital Series. For several years, Ruiz was part of the Orfeón Santiago under the direction of Electo Silva. She made various recordings with this ensemble as a soloist and lead soprano, as well as participating in tours of Europe and the Caribbean. In May of 2018, she was named an Early Music America (EMA) Emerging Artist. According to EMA, Ruiz was chosen to represent "the best of the emerging early music talent from a large pool of applicants." As a result of her award, she performed in the Emerging Artist Showcase at the prestigious Bloomington Early Music Festival at Indiana University. Recently, Ruiz performed at the Bach@ noon series, from the Bach Collegium San Diego, offering a program from Spanish Golden Age.
Mexican guitarist Alejandro Jenné is dedicated to the cultivation of artistic and human development through music, singing, movement, play, and improvisation. He is a continuo specialist and can expertly balance the intellectual discernment needed for continuo along with listening, musical breath, and spontaneity that brings to live a baroque performance. While residing in Mexico for the last 10 years he performed in the most prestigious theaters, including Palacio de Bellas Artes, Teatro Degollado, Paraninfo de UDG, and the Conjunto de Artes Escénicas, among others. In the United States and Mexico he has played with established groups such as Musica Angelica, Bach Collegium San Diego, Angelus, Orquesta Sonora Barroca, Mercury Baroque, Central City Opera, among other orchestras, chamber ensembles and singers. He has also accompanied on multiple occasions the well-known counter tenor Michael Chance.
Thursday, January 14, 6 p.m.
This piece was part of a beautiful program Snaidas developed with Tom Zajac, the much-missed multi-instrumentalist and music educator whose adventurous and wide-ranging curiosity about musical cultures made him a unique figure in the Early Music community. Together, they founded the Bishop's Band for this concert, which was dedicated to the music contained in the remarkable Codex Martínez Compañón, a unique manuscript compiled by the bishop of Trujillo in the late eighteenth century. The collection provides great detail of life in northern Peru at the time through hundreds of colorful drawings depicting people, dances, animals, plants, and music scores of about 20 pieces heard in the towns and villages of the area.
Friday, January 15, 10 a.m.
Tonos del Sur, directed by Sarah Cranor, is comprised of passionate historical performance musicians and grew out of a campus-wide ensemble course offered through the Latin American Music Center of Indiana University’s Jacob’s School of Music. Tonos del Sur is committed to exploring music from Latin America from roughly 1600–1800, with special interest in music of anonymous, lesser-known, and indigenous composers, and music in indigenous languages. The ensemble includes Sarah Cranor and Alice Culin-Ellison on violin, Danur Kvilhaug on guitar, and Kevin Flynn on cello. They sent us their version of David Perez’s overture “La Tempestad del Mar” (The Storm at Sea), from a manuscript discovered by Drew Edward Davies in the Durango Cathedral, in Mexico. This music depicts the storm incident found in Matthew 8:24–27 of the Bible, opening without melody but just a flurry of chords and rhythmic energy. The second movement, titled Arco iris (Rainbow), features a solo violin line where each musical gesture is in the shape of a rainbow. The piece concludes with a celebratory dance after the storm as passed.
Violinist Sarah Cranor is passionate about the freedom of sonic possibilities found in both historical and contemporary music. She is acting Concertmaster/Principal Second Violin with the Midland-Odessa Symphony, a member of the Permian Basin String Quartet, and performs with baroque ensembles across the greater Midwest region. Sarah directed two successful years of Tonos del Sur at Indiana University through the Latin American Music Center. Recent collaborative highlights include Tonos del Sur at the [Virtual] Berkeley Early Music Festival 2020, co-direction of a production of La Púrpura de la Rosa with Nell Snaidas, Duo Anthracite performances in Colorado, Indiana, and Bogotá, performances of Clara Schumann’s music with Byron Schenkman, the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, Sphere Ensemble, Bourbon Baroque, Charlotte BachAkademie, IU New Music Ensemble, and guest concertmaster of the Bloomington and Lafayette Symphony Orchestras. Cranor’s recently released recordings include The Colorful Telemann with Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra for NAXOS Music, Fair and Princely Branches: Music for the Jacobean Princes with Renaissance violin band The Queen’s Rebels, and the premiere of Kurt Vonnegut’s Requiem with Voces Novae. Cranor teaches violin across the world, most recently in Colombia and Kenya, and enjoys running marathons and hiking with her husband, conductor and violinist Alejandro Gómez Guillén.
Violinist Alice Culin-Ellison, co-artistic director of Bourbon Baroque, is a versatile historical performer with training in over 400 years of repertoire. As concertmaster, Culin-Ellison has led productions of Handel’s Acis and Galatea and Purcell’s King Arthur, and soloed with various ensembles. Other professional engagements include Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, Chatham Baroque, and Apollo’s Fire. Also passionate about education and scholarship, her current research focuses on nineteenth-century American chamber music, with a special interest in music from Kentucky, and she has lectured and given masterclasses on Historical Performance. Culin-Ellison received her doctorate from Case Western Reserve University in historical performance, and also holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Indiana University. Culin-Ellison co-founded Incantare, an ensemble of violins and sackbuts specializing in lesser-known repertoire of the late sixteenth, and early seventeenth centuries.
Danur Kvilhaug is an active performer of historical plucked strings throughout the United States. Based in Bloomington, he recently performed at the Bloomington Early Music Festival, the Madison Early Music Festival, the Madison Early Opera Workshop, and the Boston Early Music Festival. He's also appeared in performances with the Red River Lyric Opera and the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra. Performing frequently as both a soloist and a collaborative musician on theorbo, renaissance lute, and baroque guitar, Kvilhaug’s varied interests include dance music of France and Italy in the sixteenth century, improvisation, early music of the Americas, and early music theory. He has held teaching positions at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and the University of Oklahoma and is a member of Early Music America’s Emerging Professional Leadership Council. He is currently a graduate student at Indiana University, where he studies with Nigel North.
Kevin Flynn is pursuing his doctorate in cello performance at Indiana University as the Eva Heinitz Memorial Scholar and as assistant to his teacher, Emilio Colón, and studies baroque cello under Joanna Blendulf. He received a master of music in cello performance at Indiana University, and a bachelor of arts with a double major in cello performance, studying under Pablo Mahave-Veglia, and in philosophy from Grand Valley State University. Highlights from the 2019–2020 season include a two-week concert tour of Puerto Rico with the International Chamber Orchestra of Puerto Rico, the release of the GVSU New Music Ensemble’s album Dawn Chorus on Innova Recordings, and virtual performances in the Bloomington and Berkeley early music festivals. He has played in New Music Detroit’s Strange Beautiful Music VII, VIII, and IX, and in venues from Constellation Chicago to Yellowstone National Park. He has been heard in I CARE IF YOU LISTEN’s Fall 2015 mixtape and on American Public Media’s Performance Today.
The MetLife Foundation Music of the Americas concert series is made possible by the generous support of Presenting Sponsor MetLife Foundation.
The Spring 2021 Music program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.