11-26 American Handel Festival

 

Seattle is known for its verdant evergreens, dramatic coastlines, and of course, coffee. However, the Emerald City is home to so much more than nature loving hikers, avid bicyclists, and baristas who create masterpieces in a cup with hot milk. It’s also a hotspot for those passionately obsessed with classical music. Take the American Handel Festival as an example. While the American Handel Society typically meets biannually for an academic conference and a few concerts, when they came to Seattle in 2011, the result was a three-week, citywide festival, incorporating some 30 concerts and a host of lectures, symposia, and educational activities with the help of over 26 collaborating organizations.

For more information visit http://www.americanhandelfestival.org/

Music

Handel: Acis and Galatea
Handel: Esther
Handel: Dixit Dominus
Handel: Concerto Grosso, Op. 3, no. 4
Handel: Water Music
Handel: Giulio Cesare
Handel: Chandos Anthem
Bach: St. John Passion

You can listen to the entire program here:

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Artists

Seattle Pro Musica

 

Karen P. Thomas, Artistic Director

Established in 1972 as a small but ambitious chamber choir, today’s distinguished ensemble consists of 70 talented singers with diverse backgrounds and a shared passion for beautiful and precise expressions of classical music. Seattle Pro Musica also has two smaller ensembles, the 24-voice Madrigalia chamber ensemble and the 15-voice women’s Schola. They perform under the direction of award-winning conductor and artistic director, Karen P. Thomas. More

Seattle Baroque Orchestra

 

Ingrid Matthews and Byron Schenkman, Directors

Seattle Baroque Orchestra was founded in 1994 by violinist Ingrid Matthews and harpsichordist Byron Schenkman, and quickly established itself as one of the most vibrant of the American early music ensembles. The group has appeared across North America from California to Vermont, been featured extensively on National Public Radio, and garnered rave reviews for its six recordings, while winning loyal fans in Seattle for the excitement and intimacy of their live performances. Under Music Director Ingrid Matthews, the Seattle Baroque Orchestra has collaborated with contemporary composers, jazz musicians, baroque dancers, and many of the most prominent soloists in the field of early music. More

Boston Early Music Festival

 

Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, Musical Directors

Founded in 1980 by a group of dedicated performers and instrument makers interested in promoting historical performance in the United States, the Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) is now universally recognized as a leader in the field of early music. Through a wide array of acclaimed performances, exciting and educational events, and Grammy-nominated opera recordings, BEMF has earned its place as North America’s premier presenting organization for conservators and performers of music of the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical periods and has secured Boston’s reputation as “America’s early music capital” (The Boston Globe). More

Portland Baroque Orchestra

Monica Huggett, Artistic Director

Monica has served as the artistic director for the Portland Baroque Orchestra for the last sixteen years. Under her leadership the orchestra has achieved an ever-higher level of artistic excellence and expanded its historically-informed repertoire through the Classical period to the early Romantic. Among her recent prizes are the 1997 Editor’s Choice award, Gramophone magazine, for J.S. Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin; the Vantaa Baroque Energy Prize (Finland), 2005; and Gramophone’s Best Instrumental Recording Award, for Heinrich Biber’s Violin Sonatas, 2002.  Alongside her work at Juilliard and Portland Baroque Orchestra, Monica continues as artistic director of the Irish Baroque Orchestra, and as guest   director of the Seville Baroque Orchestra. She also performs frequently as a solo violinist all over the world. More

Seattle Symphony

Nicholas McGegan, Conductor

Nicholas McGegan is loved by audiences and orchestras for performances that match authority with enthusiasm, scholarship with joy, and curatorial responsibility with evangelical exuberance. Through nearly 25 years as its music director, Mr. McGegan has established the San Francisco-based Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (PBO) as the leading period performance band in the United States. Born in England, Mr. McGegan was educated at Cambridge and Oxford. He was recently made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) “for services to music overseas.” More

Les Voix Baroques

Yulia van Doren
Shannon Mercer
Matthew White
Charles Daniels
Sumner Thompson

Les Voix Baroques is an ensemble of vocal soloists specializing in works from the Renaissance and Baroque. Past projects include Bach’s St. John and St. Matthew Passion with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Bach Cantatas with Ensemble Les Boreades, a tour of Germany with IConfidenti Berlin and a 2007 Juno Nominated and Opus award winning Atma recording of Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri with Les Voix Humaines and conductor Alexander Weimann. Les Voix Baroques have also appeared in concert for Festival Vancouver, the Boston Early Music Festival, Houston’s Mercury Baroque Orchestra, Montreal Baroque, the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, Nova Scotia’s Music Royale, Sackville Early Music Festival, Domaine Forget, the Elora Festival and in two Opus Award winning concerts produced by CBC for their McGill Concert Series. More

Teresa Wakim – Lauded as a “fine baroque stylist,” soprano Teresa Wakim enjoys an internationally successful career as soloist in opera and oratorio. She has been praised by such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Early Music America, and the Miami Herald. Ms. Wakim has sung in many of the world’s most renowned halls for equally illustrious leaders including Sir Roger Norrington at the Royal Albert Hall and Ton Koopmon in Carnegie’s Zankel Hall. She performs frequently with Boston Baroque, the Handel & Haydn Society, Seraphic Fire, and Apollo’s Fire. She can be heard often on Boston’s NPR radio as soprano soloist with the Boston University Marsh Chapel Choir. More

Douglas Williams - Douglas has been praised for his “ringing conviction” (Boston Globe) and highlighted as “particularly impressive” (The New York Times) for his work in concert repertoire and early opera. As soloist he has sung Bach cantatas under Helmuth Rilling, Bruno Weil and Steven Fox, Mozart Vespers with Sir David Wilcocks, Haydn with Sir Neville Marriner, Mahler with Manfred Schreier, and numerous concerts and operas led by Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs. In 2010 Mr. Williams made his European solo debut with Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyrique in Purcell’s King Arthur at Cité de la Musique, Paris. He can be heard on the recording of Lully’s Psyché, with the Boston Early Music Festival, nominated for a Grammy for best opera recording in 2008.

Jason McStoots. Mr. McStoots is a Grammy nominated tenor soloist, ensemble artist and early music specialist, and has been celebrated as “particuarly outstanding” with “finely articulated diction,” “sweet, appealing tone and real acting ability.” He recently received critical acclaim for his performances in Emmanuel Music’s Bach St. Matthew Passion. He has appeared with groups around the US, including Boston Lyric Opera, Handel Choir of Baltimore, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Tragicomedia, Granite State Opera and OperaProvidence. In 2008 he was honored by Emmanuel Music as a Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson Fellow. More

Zachary Wilder is an avid performer of both early music and modern music. In 2007 he made his debut in a trio of roles with the Boston Early Music Festival’s production of Lully’s Psyché. Zachary has performed with the Houston Bach Society, Emmanuel Music, Mark Morris Dance Group, Pacific Musicworks, Camerata Ventapane, Mercury Baroque, Apollo’s Fire and Ars Lyrica Houston. Zachary was a 2008 Tanglewood Vocal Fellow and a 2010 Gerdine Young Artist at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. More

Catherine Webster – Catherine is engaged regularly with many leading early music and chamber ensembles in North America. She has appeared as a soloist with Tafelmusik, Tragicomedia, Theatre of Voices, Netherlands Bach Society, Apollo’s Fire, American Baroque Orchestra, Musica Angelica, El Mundo, Four Nations Ensemble, Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montreal, Ensemble Masques, Les Voix Baroques, Early Music Vancouver, and in the Berkeley, Montreal and Boston Early Music Festivals. She has also recorded for Harmonia Mundi, Naxos, Musica Omnia, Analekta and Atma, with a Juno nomination for Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri (Atma). More

Shannon Mercer – Shannon has been hailed as “one of Canada’s most promising young sopranos” and a “leader of tomorrow (Maclean’s).” An alumnus of San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Merola Opera Summer Program, Shannon began her operatic career as a member of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio Program. She has since gone on to perform on stages across North America and Europe. Shannon’s award-winning discography includes the Prix Opus nominated O Viva Rosa, one of the first recordings entirely devoted to Francesca Caccini. Shannon’s other recordings include Wales ~ The Land of Song, the 2009 JUNO Award-winning Gloria!: Vivaldi’s Angels, JUNO-nominated Bach and the Liturgical Year, Mondonville, English Fancy (Analekta) and Marin Marais’s Sémélé (Glossa). More

Matthew White – Matthew White made his Pacific Opera Victoria debut in 2002 in the title role of Handel’s Julius Caesar. He has performed with the New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Glyndebourne Touring Opera, Cleveland Opera, Opera Atelier and Pacific Opera Victoria. He has also appeared as soloist at the Vancouver, Boston, Bruges, Ambronay, Regensburg, Stift Melk, Utrecht and Lamèque Early Music Festivals. Both a Grammy and Juno Award nominee, he has over 30 recordings to his name for labels including Analekta, Atma, Channel Classics, CBC records, CPO, ASV, BIS, Naxos, Glossa, and Harmonia Mundi.

Isabel Bayrakdarian – Isabel Bayrakdarian burst onto the international opera scene after winning first prize in the 2000 Operalia competition founded by Plácido Domingo. Since then she has performed in many of the world’s major opera houses and concert halls. Ms. Bayrakdarian also appears on the award-winning soundtrack of the blockbuster film The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers. She has been honored with four Juno awards and is also the subject of a CBC-TV film entitled A Long Journey Home that documents her first trip to Armenia. More

Ross Hauck - Tenor Ross Hauck’s opera credits include Boston Early Music Festival, Sacramento Opera, Aspen Opera Center, Indianapolis Opera, and Wolf Trap Opera. He has premiered new roles in operas by American composers Libby Larsen and John Musto, and was recently featured on the Naxos label recording of the opera Brundibar. Recital highlights include the Ravinia Festival, the New York Festival of Song, the Southeastern Festival of Song, and the Wolf Trap Discovery Series. He has been featured in early music with the Seattle Baroque, the Portland Baroque Orchestra, the Early Music Guild, and Pacific Operaworks. More

Charles Robert Stephens – Charles Robert Stephens has enjoyed a career spanning a wide variety of roles and styles in opera and concert music. He has sung on numerous occasions at Carnegie Hall in a variety of roles with Opera Orchestra of New York, the Oratorio Society of New York, the Masterworks Chorus, and Musica Sacra. Mr. Stephens has sung as guest soloist with most of New York’s premiere ensembles including Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, Ascension Music, L’Opera Francais de New York, Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, and many others. Now based in Seattle he has sung with Seattle Symphony, Tacoma and Spokane Symphony and Opera Companies, Portland Chamber Orchestra and many other the orchestras and opera companies in the Pacific Northwest. More

Capella Romana – Cappella Romana’s performances have been likened to “jeweled light flooding the space” (Los Angeles Times). The group is a vocal chamber ensemble dedicated to combining passion with scholarship in its exploration of the musical traditions of the Christian East and West, with emphasis on early and contemporary music. The ensemble presents annual concert series in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. Critics have consistently praised these for their unusual and innovative programming, including numerous world and American premieres. The group has also frequently collaborated with such artists as conductor Paul Hillier, chant specialist Ioannis Arvanitis, and composer Ivan Moody. Cappella Romana tours regularly and has recorded eight CDs.  More

Aaron Sheehan – Aaron has appeared as a soloist with Tragicomedia, Concerto Palatino, New York Collegium, American Bach Soloists, Handel & Haydn Society, Aston Magna Festival, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, and many other ensembles. He has performed at Tanglewood and at early music festivals in Boston, Regensburg, and Washington. Aaron performs regularly with Paul Hillier’s Theater of Voices and with Blue Heron, Fortune’s Wheel, and La Donna Musicale. He is currently on the voice faculties of Wellesley College and Towson University. More

Pacific Musicworks & Steven Stubbs

After a thirty year career in Europe, Stephen Stubbs returned to his hometown of Seattle and established a new music organization focused primarily on the vocal music of the 18th and 17th centuries, Pacific Musicworks. The company received rave reviews in the national press for its inaugural production of Monteverdi’s Return of Ulysses designed and stage-directed by South African artist William Kentridge with the Handspring Puppet Company of South Africa in March 2009. Performances took place in Seattle and for SFMOMA in San Francisco.

The Tudor Choir

Hailed as “a superb choir” (Gramophone), as well as “a choir to watch” (Fanfare), the Tudor Choir and its director Doug Fullington have received national and international attention as interpreters of Renaissance polyphony and early American music. Founded by Fullington in 1993, the Tudor Choir is a Seattle-based professional vocal chamber ensemble of 12 core singers. The Tudor Choir is a resident ensemble at historic Blessed Sacrament Church in Seattle, but has also been a resident ensemble at St. James Cathedral, Seattle; Artists-in-Residence at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle; and a resident ensemble at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Medina.

Doug Fullington

Doug Fullington is the founder and artistic director of the Tudor Choir. He specializes in the music of Tudor England and early America. As a countertenor, he performs with the Tudor Choir under guest conductors and has sung with the Tallis Scholars in England, France and the United States. Additionally, Mr. Fullington is a dance historian who is fully fluent in Stepanov notation, a classical ballet notation system developed in Russia and used in the Imperial Theater, St. Petersburg, between about 1894 and 1915. He also coaches and prepares editions of Tudor and Renaissance music for other ensembles, such as the Tallis Scholars and Vox, and has taught several undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Washington’s School of Music.