Learn more about Americas Society's critically-acclaimed choral ensemble. 

Meridionalis

Overview

 

           

                                                                                                                                          

                                                   Meridionalis during a Kopernikus performance 
 

Established in 2010, Meridionalis is a choral project of Americas Society that focuses on early music and contemporary music from the hemisphere. The ensemble has been lauded for its "well-blended, joyous sound" and "beautifully rendered programs" by The New York Times. Most recently, their performances of Vivier's Kopernikus were hailed as "superb" (The New York Times) and "extraordinary" (Musical America). 

Meridionalis Mission Statement
The mission of Meridionalis is to promote little-known and rarely-performed repertoire from the region, collaborating with expert musicologists across the globe on programs of sacred and secular choral music.

Kopernikus 

Music of the Americas presents a new production composer Claude Vivier's chamber opera Kopernikus, performed by Meridionalis and the International Contemporary Ensemble conducted by Sebastián Zubieta, with live video by Sergio Policicchio.

In what Vivier described as a "ritual opera of death," the central character — a young woman named Agni — descends into a dreamworld where "mystical beings borrowed from stories gravitate around her: Lewis Carroll, Merlin, a witch, the Queen of the Night, a blind prophet, an old monk, Tristan and Isolde, Mozart, the Master of the Waters, Copernicus and his mother. These characters could be Agni’s dreams that follow her during her initiation and finally into her dematerialization". Vivier abandons traditional modes of storytelling, drawing upon classical philosophy and sciences and telling his via sound, ritual, and symbol. The plot defies precise interpretation, offering multiple, often contradictory meanings. At the center of the quest is the composer’s fascination with the perennial majesty of the cosmos and his belief that “art will no longer be the sweet panacea that we apply to a wounded body, [but] will be the body.” The production — originally designed for a planetarium, premiered in Buenos Aires in 2018 — joins Agni’s trajectory, submerging the audience in light that emanates from celestial projections and abstracted nature footage.
 
The production has been presented to critical acclaim in Buenos Aires and New York City. 
 

 

 

About the composer
 
Born in Montreal, Claude Vivier (1943-1983) grew up in a working-class part of the city. As an adolescent, he attended a boarding school run by the Marist Brothers that prepared pupils for life in the priesthood. There, the young Claude discovered music while singing in a midnight mass, and he began to compose. He was advised to leave the seminary at the age of 18 due to his "sensitive and excitable temperament." He studied composition at the Conservatoire de Musique du Québec (Montreal) with Gilles Tremblay, and spent a few years in Europe at the Institute of Sonology (The Hague) and Hochschule für Musik (Cologne), where he had the opportunity to study with Stockhausen. He also traveled to Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia, whose culture and rhythms had a deep effect on his compositional output. After encountering spectral compositions of Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail, Vivier traveled to Paris in 1982, where he was murdered the following year. Many of his compositions were not heard during his lifetime, and he remains a tragic figure in the canon of 20th-century music.
 

About the visual artist

Sergio Policicchio (b. 1985, Buenos Aires) relocated to Ravenna, Italy in 2004, where he pursued studies in visual arts and mosaics at the Academy of Fine Arts. He lives and works between Italy, Argentina, and Moldova. Recent exhibitions include La visione dell'invisibile (solo, Vibra gallery, Ravenna, 2017); tsu-na-gu (collective, Shimadai gallery, Kyoto, 2016); Partiture eventual (site-specific installation, Emergenze creative 2015 in Ravenna); and Quelqu'un (collective, M comme mosaique gallery, Paray-le-monial, France, 2015).

Established in 2010, Meridionalis is a choral project of Americas Society that focuses on early music and contemporary music from the hemisphere, with a mission to promote little-known and rarely-performed repertoire from the region, collaborating with expert musicologists across the globe on programs of sacred and secular choral music. The ensemble has been lauded for its "well-blended, joyous sound" and "beautifully rendered programs" by The New York Times.

The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) is an artist collective that is transforming the way music is created and experienced. Works by emerging composers have anchored ICE’s programming since its founding in 2001, and the group’s recordings and digital platforms highlight the many voices that weave music’s present. A recipient of the American Music Center’s Trailblazer Award and the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, ICE was also named the 2014 Musical America Ensemble of the Year. The group currently serves as artists-in-residence at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Mostly Mozart Festival, and previously led a five-year residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. ICE was featured at the Ojai Music Festival from 2015 to 2017, and at recent festivals abroad such as gmem-CNCM-marseille and Vértice at Cultura UNAM, Mexico City.

 

                                    Performances 

 

  

          Kopernikus in New York (Image: Nico Manassi/Roey Yohai for Americas Society)

 

New York, May 15-16, 2019 at 22 Boerum Place

Video: edited by digitice.org media team

Performers

Katharine Dain: Coloratura
Amy Goldin: Soprano
Hai-Ting Chinn: Mezzo-soprano
Kirsten Sollek: Contralto
Christopher Herbert: Baritone
Joseph Beutel: Baritone
Steven Hrycelak: Bass
 
Michelle Farah: Oboe
Joshua Rubin: Clarinet 1
Madison Freed: Clarinet 2
Zachary Good: Clarinet 3
Gareth Flowers: Trumpet
Michael Lormand: Trombone
Josh Modney: Violin

 

 

  Meridionalis during rehearsal in Buenos Aires

 

 

                 Festival Nueva Ópera Buenos Aires 2018 billboard for Kopernikus

 

 

                            Festival Nueva Ópera Buenos Aires 2018: Kopernikus

 

Read more in Early Music America about Sebastián Zubieta's work with the ensemble.

Learn more about Music of the Americas.

 

Pablo Ortiz Vocal Portrait at Americas Society; Meridionalis in Quito; Ars Longa and Meridionalis in Havana.

Artists

ARTISTS

Conductor

Sebastián Zubieta

Sopranos

Sarah Brailey

Jolle Greenleaf

Jennifer Ellis Kampani

Molly Netter

Molly Quinn

Nola Richardson

Nell Snaidas

Mezzo-sopranos

Clare McNamara

Solange Merdinian

Mikki Sodergren

Altos

Luthien Brackett

Heather Petrie

Kirsten Sollek

Countertenors

Tim Keeler

Clifton Massey

Timothy Parsons

Tenors

Andrew Fuchs

Brian Giebler

Timothy Hodges

Owen McIntosh

Baritones

Thomas McCargar

John Taylor Ward

Basses

Steven Hrycelak

Andrew Padgett

Musicologists

Bernardo Illari

Omar Morales Abril

Collaborating ensembles

Ars Longa

Ensemble Lipzodes

Shawms

Priscilla Herreid

Daniel Stillman

Guitar

Adam Cockerham

Charlie Weaver

Bajón

Anna Marsh

Cello

Loren Ludwig

Paul Wiancko

Keyboard

Elliot Figg

Taka Kigawa

ARTIST BIOS

Sebastián Zubieta has been Music Director at Americas Society since 2005. He has presented papers on baroque and contemporary music at congresses including the Latin American Studies Association (2015 and 2016), the Society for American Music (2011), the International Musicological Society (2002), and the IMS Regional Association for Latin America and the Caribbean (2014). He led a workshop on Latin American chamber music at Folkwang Universität der Künste (Essen) and the Composers’ Conference (Wellesley), and taught hearing and analysis as well as music appreciation at Yale, music history at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, and composition at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata in Argentina. He made his New York conducting debut to critical acclaim with Meridionalis, a group dedicated to Latin American early music, at the Look and Listen Festival in 2010 with music by Gutierre Fernández Hidalgo. He has appeared as a conductor at Music of the Americas, Symphony Space's Wall-to-Wall, the Raritan River Valley Festival, the Biblioteca Juan Ángel Arango in Bogotá, as well as at the Festival de Música Sacra de Quito, the Festival Esteban Salas in Havana, and the Centro de Experimentación del Teatro Colón. Sebastián was the conductor of the Yale International Singers from 1999 to 2005 and premiered a number of new works for chamber ensembles and orchestra with Yale Philharmonia, New Music New Haven, and NeitherMusic. His music has been performed in concerts and festivals in Europe, Korea, Latin America and the United States, by musicians including ICE, Continuum Ensemble, the New York Miniaturist Ensemble, the Momenta Quartet, violist Antoine Tamestit, and clarinetist Joshua Rubin. He has written music for ICE, the Centro Cultural General San Martín (Buenos Aires), the New York Miniaturist Ensemble, pianist Stephen Buck, the Bugallo Williams Piano Duo, and the Damocles Trio, commissioned by Look and Listen. He was in residence at Banff Centre and was a fellow at the Composers Conference at Wellesley College. He holds a doctorate in composition from Yale University and a licentiate in musicology from Universidad Católica Argentina in Buenos Aires.

Hailed by The New York Times for her “radiant, liquid tone,” “exquisitely phrased,” and “sweetly dazzling” singing, soprano Sarah Brailey is in growing demand as a concert and chamber music artist. Highlights of Sarah’s current and recent seasons include Handel’s Messiah with St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony, and Albany’s Cathedral of All Saints, Constance in Haydn’s L’isola disabitata with the American Classical Orchestra, Steve Reich’s Drumming at Carnegie Hall (Zankel), Strauss’s Vier Letzte Lieder and the Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 with the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra, Alberto Ginastera’s Cantata para América Mágica and Stravinsky’s Les Noces with Julian Wachner at Trinity Wall Street, Handel’s Samson under the baton of Nicholas McGegan, and Britten’s Les Illuminations with NOVUS NY. Sarah is a core member of Boston’s Lorelei Ensemble, an all-female vocal chamber music ensemble dedicated to the performance of new music and a frequent guest artist with Roomful of Teeth. 

Soprano Jolle Greenleaf is one of today’s foremost figures in the field of early music. Balancing a career as a leading soloist and an innovative impressaria, she is in great demand as a guest artist and is Artistic Director of the New York City-based early music ensemble TENET. Ms. Greenleaf has been hailed by The New York Times as a “golden soprano” and “a major force in the New York early music-scene.” She is a celebrated interpreter of the music of Bach, Buxtehude, Handel, Purcell and, most notably, Claudio Monteverdi. Her “crisp, sensuous voice” (The New Yorker) has been praised for its “purity and beguiling naturalness” (The Oregonian) and “intriguing beauty” (The Boston Globe). 

Soprano Jennifer Ellis Kampani, who "offers a freshness of voice, fineness of timbre, and ease of production that place her in the front rank of early-music sopranos,” (andante.com) is emerging as one of the leading interpreters of the Baroque repertoire. She recently made her debut with the Washington Bach Consort, the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, and the New York Collegium with Andrew Parrott conducting. This season she was featured artist in “Le Tournoi de Chauvency,” a Medieval opera production with Francesca Lattuada and Ensemble Aziman that toured through Europe. A specialist in the music of Spain and Latin America, Jennifer has toured villancicos and zarzuelas extensively with Richard Savino and El Mundo and has performed on programs with Andrew Lawrence-King.

A versatile and joyous musician, Canadian-American soprano Molly Netter enlivens complex and beautiful music with a voice described as “crisp and clear, white yet warm” (Seen and Heard International). Described as having “exquisite poise” (NY Times), "natural warmth" (LA Times) and “[embuing] every word of the text with signification” (The Examiner), she has performed as a soloist with the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Clarion Music Society, and the Boston Early Music Festival, as well as Apollo's Fire, the Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, the Albany Symphony, Les Canards Chantants, Yale Opera, Heartbeat Opera, and Experiments in Opera, as well as with Juilliard415 at Lincoln Center, touring internationally under Masaaki Suzuki and with the Triplepoint contemporary/jazz ensemble. Ms. Netter holds an ad hoc Bachelor of Music degree in composition and contemporary voice from Oberlin Conservatory and a Master’s degree in early music voice and oratorio from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music where she studied with James Taylor. Between degrees, she taught English in Kyoto, Japan.

Soprano Molly Quinn has captivated audiences with her “radiant” soprano, possessing an “arresting sweetness and simplicity” (New York Times) in diverse repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to the Rolling Stones. In addition to her work with TENET, this season she goes on tour with The Bang on a Can All-Stars performing Julia Wolfe's Steel Hammer, makes debut appearances with The Helicon Society, The Catacoustic Consort and El Fuego Ensemble, and return appearances with Apollo's Fire, and at Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue. Molly has been a soloist with many noted orchestras and ensembles including  The Knights NYC, The Clarion Music Society, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, The Carmel Bach Festival, The Folger Consort, and Quicksilver. Quinn holds both the Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in Vocal Performance from University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music and currently resides in Chapel Hill, NC.

Soprano Nola Richardson is rapidly making her mark as an "especially impressive" (The New York Times) young soloist and has been praised by the Washington Post for her "astonishing balance and accuracy,” “crystalline diction” and “natural-sounding ease.” Particularly noted for her interpretive skills in the Baroque repertoire, Nola was a 2016 First Prize winner in the Bethlehem Bach Competition and took home the Third Prize and Audience Favorite award in the 2016 Handel Aria Competition in Madison, WI. She was also selected as the soprano for the Yale Voxtet in 2014, where she had the opportunity to solo under the batons of renowned conductors Masaaki Suzuki, Simon Carrington, Matthew Halls, Nicholas McGegan, and David Hill. She frequently appears as a soloist with many early music and choral societies around the country including the American Bach Soloists, Clarion, Les Délices, Yale Choral Artists, The Baltimore Choral Arts, Bach in Baltimore, Mountainside Baroque, Yale Camerata, Oratorio Chorale, Chorus Pro Musica, and the Master Chorale of South Florida.

American-Uruguayan soprano Nell Snaidas has been praised by the New York Times for her “beautiful soprano voice, melting passion" and “vocally ravishing" performances. Snaidas began her career singing leading roles in zarzuelas at New York City's Repertorio Español. Specialization in Latin American and Spanish Baroque music has taken her all over Europe, North and Latin America. She has been invited to join many leading early music ensembles in the capacity of soloist, guitarist, and Iberian/New World language and repertoire consultant. These groups include Apollo’s Fire, The Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Ex Umbris, Ensemble Viscera, El Mundo, Chatham Baroque and at Music Festivals from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Italy, to Germany, Austria and Switzerland. She has recorded for Sony Classical, Koch, Naxos and Dorian (for whom she served as language coach and soloist on 3 Spanish/New World Baroque recordings). Her latest CD as a featured soloist with El Mundo in this same repertoire was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Small Ensemble category.

Praised for her “lushly evocative mezzo” and “attentive and precise” musicianship, Clare McNamara is a Boston-based soloist and chamber musician specializing in early and new music. Ensemble affiliations include Lorelei Ensemble, Handel+Haydn Society, Skylark Vocal Ensemble, and Apollo Master Chorale. Clare launched her 2015-2016 season with the Renaissance ensemble Cut Circle, joining them for their Laus Polyphoniae festival debut in Antwerp, Belgium, and debuted with the Boston Camerata ("Night's Tale") and the all-female vocal ensemble Tapestry. She also premiered David Lang's love fail for eight voices with Lorelei; toured to Germany with Cut Circle; was alto soloist in Mozart's Requiem with Boston's Coro Allegro; and released two new commercial recordings with Skylark and Lorelei. Clare can be heard as the soloist on the soundtrack for On the Nature of Things, a critically acclaimed new work by internationally-recognized modern dance troupe Pilobolus Dance Theatre. 

Acclaimed for her “smoldering stage presence” (New York Times) her “richly hued voice” (BBC Music magazine), New York-based Argentine mezzo-soprano Solange Merdinian has garnered an international reputation for her versatility and interpretation as a recitalist and chamber musician, in repertoire ranging from baroque to contemporary, tango to cabaret, art song to opera. She is the co-founder and co-artistic director of the New Docta International Music Festival in Córdoba, Argentina. Highlights include Merdinian’s critically-praised “tour de force” debut role of Maria in Piazzolla’s tango-opera Maria de Buenos Aires with the Lexington Philharmonic and with Opera Hispanica at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City; alto soloist in Bach's Saint Matthew Passion with La Barroca del Suquia (Argentina); and soloist in El Amor Brujo by Manuel de Falla at the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice (New York). She recently completed a four-year world tour with the Philip Glass Ensemble in the award-winning production of his landmark opera Einstein on the Beach. Merdinian holds a Masters in voice and vocal performance from Bard College Conservatory of Music and a Bachelors of Music from The Juilliard School.

Born in California to parents who loved to read, Luthien Brackett was named after a character in J.R.R. Tolkien's legendarium. Praised by the press for her “easy, appealing alto” and “silky tone among all registers,” she specializes in music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Luthien appears regularly with distinguished professional vocal ensembles including The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, TENET, The Clarion Society, and Seraphic Fire. Recent solo appearances include Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Baldwin-Wallace Bach Festival and Handel’s Messiah with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. Among her numerous commercial recordings are two GRAMMY-nominated albums: Handel’s Israel in Egypt (Musica Omnia) and Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields (Cantaloupe). She lives in Brooklyn with her incorrigible cats, Bella and Bartok.

Hailed as “a true contralto, with a big, deep, resonant projection that can fill a hall,” Heather Petrie is becoming a familiar voice throughout the Northeast. This season’s highlights include Bach’s B minor Mass with Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, Elijah with the Huntington Choral Society, Vivaldi Gloria and Bach Magnificat with Cappella Cantorum, and debuting the role of Annina in Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier with the Connecticut Lyric Opera, with whom she performs regularly. As the Alto soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with CT Virtuosi Orchestra, Heather was hailed as “the vocal star of the performance.” In Manhattan, she performs frequently with Musica Sacra, the choir of St Ignatius Loyola, and Voices of Ascension, and has also sung with the Holy Trinity Bach Vespers series, and at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Heather is a founding member of the critically-acclaimed, eight-voice treble group Etherea Vocal Ensemble, and is prominently featured on both of their recordings, released by Delos. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Voice from Bard College and a Master of Music in Opera Performance from SUNY Purchase Conservatory.

Alto Kirsten Sollek has been hailed as “ …an appealingly rich alto…” and “…a true contralto…” by The New York Times, and a singer with “elemental tone quality” by The Philadelphia Inquirer. She has been featured with Boston Baroque, Bach Collegium Japan, Tafelmusik, Seattle Baroque, Minnesota Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony and San Antonio Symphony. Opera roles include: Rosmira in Handel’s Partenope (Boston Baroque); Rinaldo in Handel’s Rinaldo (Glyndebourne); Bradamante in Handel’s Alcina (Teatro Municipal de Santiago) and Lucretia in Britten’s Rape of Lucretia (Eastman Opera Theatre). Active in new music, Ms. Sollek appears regularly with new music groups Ensemble Signal and Alarm Will Sound. She has worked extensively with composer John Zorn, premiering his music in the US, Europe, Australia, and Israel. 

Countertenor and conductor Tim Keeler is sought after as both a performer and an educator. He is a member of the Choir of the Trinity Wall Street and has performed with some of New York City's most celebrated vocal ensembles, including the St. Thomas Choir of Men and Boys, Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Ekmeles, TENET, and New York Polyphony. He teaches music theory at the Special Music School in Manhattan, works as a vocal coach with the Young People's Chorus of New York City, and directs the choir at Juilliard's Summer Performing Arts program in Geneva, Switzerland. He holds degrees from Princeton, Cambridge, and the University of Michigan.

Clifton Massey, countertenor, is known for stylish interpretations of wide ranging musical styles. Praised by San Francisco Classical Voice for "gloriously rounded tone and a measure of heft often missing in proponents of his voice type", his solo and ensemble singing has taken him to many festivals and venues including Tanglewood, the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Metropolitan Museum of NY, Tokyo Opera City, and the Early Music festivals of Berkeley, Bloomington and Boston. Also a valued professional ensemble singer, Clifton performs frequently with American Bach Soloists, the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Bach Collegium San Diego, the American Classical Orchestra, and has been featured on the Bach Vespers series’ at Holy Trinity Lutheran and Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City. He is an alumnus of the Grammy award winning group Chanticleer, with whom he performed over 200 concerts in a variety of the world's finest concert halls. Clifton has recently relocated to the NYC area and is a member of the professional choir at Trinity Church Wall St.​

Countertenor Timothy Parsons is a member of the Grammy-nominated Choir of Trinity Wall Street and performers regularly with New York’s finest choral ensembles, including the Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue Choir of Men and Boys, The Clarion Music Society, and Musica Sacra. His interpretations have been lauded for their “authority, ease, and elegant exuberance” and he has been praised by the New York Times as “particularly expressive, singing with pure, free tone.” This season’s highlights have included a national tour of Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers with Apollo’s Fire, Victoria’s 1605 Requiem with Clarion, and solo appearances at Trinity’s Bach at One series. Timothy holds degrees in Voice and Conducting from the Manhattan School of Music.

A native of Kansas City, MO, tenor Andrew Fuchs made his solo Lincoln Center debut in Bach’s Magnificat with the American Classical Orchestra. Other recent solo performances include the Evangelist in both the St. Matthew and St. John Passions with the Saint Andrew Chorale and Canticum Novum, and other solo appearances with the Mark Morris Dance Group, Montreal’s Ballet-Opéra-Pantomine, ARTEK, and Lyric Fest. An avid recitalist, Andrew spent two summers as a Vocal Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, where he worked closely with Dawn Upshaw, Håkan Hagegård, and Mark Morris. Also a sought-after professional ensemble singer, he regularly performs with the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, where he is a frequent soloist on their Bach at One series; New York Polyphony; the Choir of Men and Boys at Saint Thomas Church; the New York Virtuoso Singers; Musica Sacra; and the Clarion Music Society. Andrew completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Stony Brook University where he also earned his master’s degree.  He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas.

Garnering praise for his “most impressive… bright, clear tone and lively personality” (New York Times), tenor Brian Giebler has been heard singing diverse repertoire around the world. A “faultless high tenor” (Seattle Times) with “great elegance of tone and phrasing” (Baltimore Sun). From Evangelist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Choir of Trinity Wall Street under Julian Wachner to Stravinsky with The Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst, Mr. Giebler’s “lovely tone and deep expressivity” (New York Times) and "expressive and elegant phrasing" (Cleveland Classical) is well-suited to a variety of music. Recent engagements include Bach’s B Minor Mass with Trinity Wall Street, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 with Green Mountain Project, Bach's Magnificat with Seraphic Fire, and the Carmel Bach Festival, where he was a 2015 Virginia Best Adams Fellow. Mr. Giebler was a finalist in the Tafelmusik International Vocal Competition, a semi-finalist in the American Traditions Competition, and received Honorable Mention at the Biennial Bach Vocal Competition sponsored by the American Bach Society and the Bach Choir of Bethlehem. This upcoming summer, Mr. Giebler is a finalist in the Handel Aria Competition and will be the Tenor Vocal Fellow at the 2017 Oregon Bach Festival.

Tenor Timothy Hodges, whose singing has been described in the New York Daily News as having “both purity and depth,” has an active career performing as a soloist and ensemble singer throughout the United States. A graduate of Westminster Choir College, he has performed in many ensembles, including Vox Vocal Ensemble, Clarion Choir, Fuma Sacra, Seraphic Fire, and Antioch Chamber Ensemble. Mr. Hodges is currently a member of the Trinity Choir at Trinity Wall Street Church in New York City. He has participated in many festivals including The Carmel Bach Festival, Connecticut Early Music Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, and the Golden Mask Festival in Moscow, Russia. As a soloist, Mr. Hodges has performed with the Trinity Baroque Orchestra, REBEL Baroque Orchestra, Carmel Bach Festival Orchestra, Garden State Philharmonic, Spoleto Festival Orchestra, and Princeton University Glee Club, and has made numerous appearances in Handel’s Messiah in New York, New Jersey, and Florida.

Acclaimed as a “lovely, tender high tenor” by the New York Times, Owen McIntosh has enjoyed a diverse career of chamber music and solo performance ranging from bluegrass to reggae, heavy metal to art song, and opera to oratorio. A native of remote Northern California, Mr. McIntosh has shared the stage with the country’s finest ensembles including Apollo’s Fire, Blue Heron, Boston Baroque, Carmel Bach Festival, Les Canards Chantants, New Vintage Baroque, Staunton Music Festival, TENET, Trident Ensemble, True Concord, San Diego Bach Collegium and the GRAMMY® nominated Choir of Trinity Wall Street. Recent solo engagements include Mozart's Die Zauberflöte with Boston Baroque; Haydn's chamber opera L'isola Disabitata with the American Classical Orchestra; the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 with Apollo's Fire and Green Mountain Project, Bach's St. Matthew Passion with Grand Rapids Symphony; Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria with Opera Omnia and Boston Baroque; and Evangelist in Bach's St. John Passion with Tucson Chamber Artists.

Baritone Thomas McCargar has been called “gripping” by The New York Times, while establishing himself as one of New York City’s most sought-after collaborative vocalists. After launching his career with GRAMMY® Award-winning Chanticleer, he moved to NYC, where he began his current tenure as a member of the acclaimed Choir of Trinity Wall Street. Additional ensemble engagements include Seraphic Fire, Pomerium, Early Music New York, Musica Sacra, Voices of Ascension, VOX Vocal Ensemble, New York Virtuoso Singers, Meridionalis, and Manhattan Concert Chorale. Recent work includes chorus for Gotham Chamber Opera (Mozart’s Il sogno di Scipione) and Mark Morris Dance Company (Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas); Ann Hamilton’s The Event of a Thread; and conducting over 1,000 people on 12/21/12 in the singing of John Lennon’s “Imagine” in Times Square, for Yoko Ono’s Imagine Peace.

Baritone John Taylor Ward’s performances have been praised for their “stylish abandon” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker) and their “finely calibrated precision and heart-rending expressivity” (Washington Post). This season, he appears as a principal artist with Paul O’Dette, Stephen Stubbs, and the Boston Early Music Festival; William Christie and Les Arts Florissants; The Seattle Symphony; and the Englsh Baroque Soloists under Sir John Elliott Gardiner. Recent credits include the US premier of Claude Vivier’s Kopernikus under the direction of Peter Sellars, Caronte in Monteverdi’s Orfeo with the ensemble L’arpeggiata, and Aeneas in Dido & Aeneas with the Folger Consort the Kennedy Center. Taylor is a graduate of Eastman and Yale and is a founding core member of New York-based Cantata Profana and the Founding Associate Artistic Director of the Lakes Area Music Festival in Brainerd, MN.

Steven Hrycelak, a bass from Rochester, NY, is equally at home performing early and very new music. He appears regularly with Blue Heron, Pegasus, NYS State Baroque, Publick Musick, Meridionalis, and the Yale Choral Artists, in addition to being a member of the Grammy-nominated Choir of Trinity Wall Street. As for new music, he performs with Ekmeles, Toby Twining Music, the New York Virtuoso Singers, and the SEM Ensemble, among others. As an opera singer, he has performed with Bard Summerscape, Opera Omnia, Musica Nuova, and Union Avenue Opera. He studied at Yale University and Indiana University, and is also a vocal coach/accompanist.

Praised for his "powerful baritone and impressive vocal range" (Boston Music Intelligencer), bass-baritone and hurdy-gurdyist Andrew Padgett is an accomplished interpreter of both baroque and medieval vocal and instrumental music. He has collaborated with early music luminaries such as Masaaki Suzuki, Nicholas McGegan, and Benjamin Bagby, and has been featured as a soloist in concert venues worldwide, including Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, NYC, and the Esplanade Concert Hall in his hometown of Singapore. Andrew holds a B.S. in physics and an M.M. in voice from U.C. Santa Barbara, and an M.M. in early music, oratorio, and chamber ensemble from Yale University's Institute of Sacred Music. He is based in New York City, where he sings with the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys under the direction of Daniel Hyde.

Bernardo Illari is a specialist in Latin American music from the colonial and early national periods. He received his PhD in music history from the University of Chicago in 2002, with a dissertation entitled "Polychoral Culture: Cathedral Music in La Plata (Bolivia), 1680–1730." Illari's second book-size project, Domenico Zipoli: Para una genealogía de la música clásica latinoamericana (Domenico Zipoli: Towards a Genealogy of Latin American Classical Music) was awarded the 2003 Premio de Musicología Casa de las Américas. Prior to his appointment at University of North Texas, Illari held academic positions at the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (Argentina) and the University of Hong Kong. He has also taught classes at the Universidad de Valladolid, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and Conservatorio de Salamanca (Spain). Since 1992, he has contributed scores, advice, and notes to several European-based early music soloists and ensembles, including Ensemble Elyma, The Rare Fruit Council, Grupo Vocal Gregor, Cuarteto Jacarandá, and others, which resulted in 15 CDs of colonial music from Peru and Bolivia. These projects include the edition of the operas La púrpura de la rosa (by Tomás de Torrejón y Velasco, 1701) and San Ignacio de Loyola (as compiled by Martin Schmid, Santa Ana de Chiquitos, c. 1762), monographic CDs dedicated to works by Domenico Zipoli, Tomás de Torrejón y Velasco, and Juan de Araujo, along with thematic projects such as villancico settings of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz's poetry and Fiesta Criolla, the musical representation of a colonial festival in Chuquisaca, Bolivia.

Guatemalan musicologist Omar Morales Abril directs La Capilla del Valle de la Asunción, a group dedicated to the preservation of sixteenth and seventeenth century Guatemalan and Latin American musical heritage. He has conducted numerous research projects, from cataloging to notation and analysis of Latin American music. As a professor, he has taught harmony, counterpoint, chamber music, notation, and musicology in Guatemala, Mexico, and Spain. He has authored numerous publications, including the introduction to Los villancicos de Tomás de Torrejón y Velasco; Estudio y transcription, the first volume of the collection El repertorio de la Catedral de Guatemala; and coauthor of the book Humor, pericia y devoción: Villancicos en la Nueva España, with Aurelio Tello and Bárbara Pérez. He has given workshops, lectures, and conferences throughout Latin America and Europe, and is currently a researcher at Centro Nacional de Investigación, Documentación e Información Musical Carlos Chávez at the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes de México.

Conjunto de Música Antigua Ars Longa de La Habana was founded in Havana in 1994 by Teresa Paz and Aland López and a year later was incorporated into the Office of the City Historian where they maintain an office in Old Havana. Latin American and Cuban colonial music is the focus of their repertoire. They have toured extensively in Europe performing in festivals in Austria, Croatia, France, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden and in such prestigious venues as the Wiener Konzerthaus in Vienna. In Latin America they have performed in Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela among others. In addition to promoting the interpretation of early music in Cuba, Ars Longa hosts the annual international Esteban Salas Early Music Festival in Havana, which brings musicians and ensembles from around the world for concerts and masterclasses.

Ensemble Lipzodes was founded in 2004 in Bloomington, Indiana and originally consisted of students completing degrees in the Early Music Institute and the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. The ensemble combines voice, shawms, dulcians, recorders, and percussion to bring to life the rarely performed music of sixteenth-century Guatemala. In addition to this singular repertoire, the ensemble also explores new directions in early music utilizing voices and winds. Lipzodes was a 2004 finalist in Early Music America's Renaissance and Medieval Performance Competition and was selected as a winner in the ninth competition in Performance of Music from Spain and Latin America. The ensemble has performed throughout the United States and Latin America and has been featured in the Bloomington Early Music Festival, the Chicago Latino Music Festival, the Boston Early Music Fringe Festival, and the National Gallery of Art Concert Series. In 2007 they were featured on a CD with University of North Texas, entitled “Christmas Vespers in Cusco: Music from an Incan Baroque City”; Oy hasemos fiesta was their first ensemble release with Focus Records. 

Programs & Performances

Here are representative samples of the carefully curated programs presented by Meridionalis since its inception.


Kopernikus

May 15-16, 2019 at 22 Boerum Place, Brooklyn

Music of the Americas presents the New York premiere of composer Claude Vivier's chamber opera Kopernikus. The production, performed by Meridionalis and the International Contemporary Ensemble, features video by Sergio Policicchio. In what Vivier described as a "ritual opera of death" the central character — a young woman named Agni — descends into a dreamworld where "mystical beings borrowed from stories gravitate around her: Lewis Carroll, Merlin, a witch, the Queen of the Night, a blind prophet, an old monk, Tristan and Isolde, Mozart, the Master of the Waters, Copernicus and his mother. These characters could be Agni’s dreams that follow her during her initiation and finally into her dematerialization."

Pablo Ortiz: Vocal Portrait

June 1, 2017 at Americas Society

Meridionalis presented a vocal portrait of Argentine composer Pablo Ortiz, with whom they are recording a CD for Naxos. The concert included several East Coast premieres, and the US premiere of Maizal de gregoriano, which was commissioned by the Centro de Experimentación del Teatro Colón. The ensemble last collaborated with Ortiz on the US premiere of his chamber opera Gallos y huesos, under the direction of Sebastián Zubieta, in 2014 at HERE Arts Center.

Read more on the event page.

Meridionalis: “Lágrimas que son tan bellas”

Collaborating musicologist: Bernardo Illari

May 18, 2017 at the Nave of the Church of the Intercession, in collaboration with the Hispanic Society of America.

The program - drawn from the manuscripts and rare editions from organist Federico Alameda's collection, acquired by the Hispanic Society in 1910 - was dedicated to tonos humanos for vocal soloists and instruments. This genre of secular song was very popular among Spanish baroque composers. Of particular interest in this program were pieces by Juan Hidalgo, one of the leading Spanish composers of the 17th century, whose music was almost completely lost when a fire broke out in the library of Madrid’s Royal Alcazar where his compositions had been kept at the request of King Philip V.

Read more on the Hispanic Society's website.

Meridionalis: St. Rosa de Lima

Collaborating musicologist: Bernardo Illari

April 27, 2017 at the Nave of the Church of the Intercession, in collaboration with the Hispanic Society of America.

This program focused on the several examples of plainchant in the Olmeda collection, and was performed in the Nave of the Church of the Intercession, whose neo-gothic architecture and resonant acoustics provided an ideal venue for this repertoire. The Hispanic Society holds several remarkable pieces, including a Peruvian office for the feast of St. Rosa of Lima dated 1671 and various medieval and renaissance Missals from Saragossa, Madrid, and Salamanca.

Read more on the Hispanic Society's website.

Meridionalis Tour: Havana and Quito

Collaborating musicologist: Omar Morales Abril

April 1 in Havana and April 4-5, 2017 as part of the 16th Festival Internacional de Música Sacra de Quito, Ecuador.

Meridionalis performed one concert in Havana, Cuba, and two concerts as part of the Música Sacra festival in Quito, Ecuador. The tour opened with Y de la esfera más alta…, a program prepared by Guatemalan musicologist Omar Morales Abril; the second program, Al sol de la tierra y cielo, was dedicated to music recently discovered in the Ecuadoran city of Ibarra, some 60 miles north of Quito and incorporated instrumentalists from Ensemble Lipzodes.

Read more in the printed program (PDF).

Meridionalis: Luna sin mancha, sol sin ocaso

Collaborating musicologist: Bernardo Illari

December 6, 2016 at Hispanic Society of America.

The concert was dedicated to polychoral music by composers such as Tomás Luis de Victoria, Juan de Madrid, Mateo Romero, Diego de Cáseda and Manuel de Egüés. Music for 8 or more vocal parts with instruments was an important part of Spanish liturgical music throughout the baroque period. The main cathedrals in all corners of the empire regularly presented imposing music that took advantage of the space and acoustics of the temples.

Read more on the Hispanic Society website.

Polifonía en Guatemala y Bogotá and Vísperas y Misa de San José en la Puebla de los Ángeles

Collaborating musicologist: Bernardo Illari

February 20-21, 2016 as part of the 11th Festival de Música Antigua Esteban Salas in Havana, Cuba.

The first program drew from the ensemble's extensive vocal repertoire from the hemisphere, including pieces by Pedro Bermúdez, Mateo Flecha, and Gutierre Fernández Hidalgo. For the closing night of the festival, Meridionalis collaborated with Ars Longa on a sumptuous program of music from the colonial period in Mexico, including works by Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla, Gerónimo Vicente, Manuel de Sumaya, and Antonío de Salazar.

Read more in the printed program (PDF).

Con la armonía del cielo: Christmas in Guatamala

Collaborating musicologist: Omar Morales Abril

December 29, 2015 at Trinity Wall Street as part of Twelfth Night Festival.

The villancico is a poetic and musical form that was extremely popular in the courts and churches of the Spanish empire from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. They were particularly favored at Christmastime. The diocese of Guatemala was one of the first established by the Europeans in the Americas. Developed in collaboration with Guatemalan musicologist and colonial music expert Omar Morales Abril, "Con la armonía del cielo" features Christmas music from the archive of the Diocese of Guatemala, founded in 1534, including works from Guatemala, Mexico and Spain.

Read more in the printed program (PDF).

Francisco López Capillas

Collaborating musicologist: Bernardo Illari

April 27, 2015 at Hispanic Society of America

Born in Mexico City around 1615, Francisco López Capillas belonged to the first generation of distinguished composers and chapelmasters born in the Americas. The first documentation of his professional activities comes from Puebla, where he was organist and bassoonist under Gutierrez de Padilla from 1641 to 1648. He left Puebla in 1648 and became acting chapelmaster in Mexico City in 1654, scarcely a week after the death of his predecessor Fabián Pérez Ximeno, and was unanimously elected chapelmaster there shortly thereafter. Over the next several decades, he wrote music for the Mexico City cathedral, including a spectacular mass major for the cathedral’s consecration in 1656 and seems to have successfully navigated the ups and downs of budget fluctuations. He elevated the musical level of the chapel and ascended steadily in the ecclesiastical hierarchy (like most chapelmasters, he was also a priest). López Capillas died in Mexico in 1673, and his extant music survives in archives in Mexico and Spain.

Read more in the printed program (PDF)

US premiere chamber opera: Pablo Ortiz's Gallos y huesos

In collaboration with Centro de Experimentación del Teatro Colón

June 2, 2014 at HERE Arts Center.

In Americas Society's first US premiere production in collaboration with the Teatro Colón's experimental theater, Meridionalis joined Argentine harpist Lucrecia Jancsa performed Pablo Ortiz's Gallos y huesos (Roosters and Bones). The hypnotic, repetitive libretto of New York-based writer Sergio Chejfec and the mesmerizing video art by renowned Argentine visual artist Eduardo Stupía set the stage for Ortiz's luminous musical tonalities. 

Read more in the printed program (PDF) and in a blog post.

Bolivian Baroque: Music in the Missions of Chiquitos and Moxos

Collaborating musicologist: Piotr Nawrot

April 30, 2013 at St Paul's Chapel at Columbia University, in collaboration with Clarion Society.

This concert presents music copied and performed during the eighteenth century in the Jesuit Missions of eastern Bolivia, now preserved in the archives of Concepción de Chiquitos and San Ignacio de Moxos. These are among the largest extant collections of music from the colonial period in America and include locally composed anonymous pieces as well as works by Domenico Zipoli, whose music is abundantly represented, and by other contemporary Italian composers. The archives contain hundreds of liturgical pieces in Latin including masses, settings of psalms, magnificats, litanies, and hymns in Spanish and Chiquitano. In addition, there are instrumental compositions: trio sonatas, pieces for keyboard, violins, etc. Musicological work on the repertoire has been especially fruitful over the past 30 years following the virtually fortuitous discovery of the manuscripts.

Read more in the printed program (PDF)in a blog post written by Sebastián Zubieta, and in a New York Times review

Classics in the Tropics: Nineteenth Century Music from Brazil

Collaborating musicologists: Luciane Beduschi, Pablo Sotuyo Blanco 

May 12, 2012 at Raritan River Music and May 14, 2012 at Americas Society

Napoleon’s invasion of Portugal had unintended musical consequences thousands of miles away, when King John VI decided to move his court to his Brazilian colony escaping the invasion. After a stop in Salvador, he arrived in Rio de Janeiro in 1808 followed by an entourage that amounted to almost a third of the city’s population. The musical development of the new capital was astounding and swift. It is there that, around 1816, the three composers on this concert (José Maurício Nunes Garcia, Sigismund Neukomm, Damião Barbosa de Araújo) met and shared musical experiences at churches and aristocratic salons.

Read more in the printed program (PDF)

Early Music from Cusco

Collaborating musicologist: Bernardo Illari

May 10, 2010 at Americas Society

Spanish-born, Cusco-based chapel master Gutierre Férnandez Hidalgo (d. 1623) is universally recognized as the most accomplished Renaissance polyphonist of the Americas. He settled in the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, which became a cultural and intellectual center post conquest, in the late 1500s after resigning from several well-paid positions in Bogotá, Quito, and Lima. This program celebrates Cusco through Fernández Hidalgo, specifically the feast of the Assumption of Mary, to which the cathedral there was dedicated. Every major Spanish cathedral included a paid wind band that often performed in alternation with the singers, or doubling them. 

Read more in the printed program (PDF)

 
 
Media

WATCH

Naxos en Español features Music Director Sebastián Zubieta in their new playlist
Nuestra Música, available on Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and YouTube.

 

Meridionalis during a performance of Viver's Kopernikus (NYC 2019)

 

Meridionalis and Bishop's Band at Trinity Wall Street's Twelfth Night Festival (2015).

"In horrore" by Francisco López Capillas at Hispanic Society of America (2015).

"Miserere" by José Maurício Nunes Garcia from Classics in the Tropics (2012).

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LISTEN