Parthenia’s viols join the violins and vielles of Shira Kammen and Robert Mealy in a romp through 500 years of the BEST music for string ensemble. From 14th c. estampies and laments, to Franco-Flemish gems by Isaac, Brumel and Moulu, Elizabethan masterpieces by Byrd, Taverner and Parsons, the ensemble takes a peek into the baroque with 6-part works by Brade, Scheidt and Lawes, including a frisky canzona from Samuel Scheidt’s collection, “Ludi Musici.”
PARTHENIA: Beverly Au, Lawrence Lipnik, Rosamund Morley, Lisa Terry, viols; Shira Kammen, Robert Mealy, violins and vielles
June 10, 2016 – 5:00pm
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church– 2300 Bancroft Way
Buy Tickets: $42/36, $15 students under age 30 with ID
The viol quartet Parthenia brings early music into the present with its repertoire that animates ancient and fresh-commissioned contemporary works with a ravishing sound and a remarkable sense of ensemble. These “local early-music stars,” hailed by The New Yorker and music critics throughout the world, are “one of the brightest lights in New York’s early-music scene.” Parthenia is presented in concerts across America, and produces its own series in New York City, collaborating regularly with the world’s foremost early music specialists. The quartet has been featured in prestigious festivals and series as wide-ranging as Music Before 1800, the Harriman-Jewell Series, Maverick Concerts, the Regensburg Tage Alter Musik, the Shalin Lui Performing Arts Center, the Pierpont Morgan Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Yale Center for British Art and Columbia University’s Miller Theatre. Parthenia’s performances range from its popular touring program, When Music & Sweet Poetry Agree, a celebration of Elizabethan poetry and music with actor Paul Hecht, to the complete viol fantasies of Henry Purcell, as well as the complete instrumental works of Robert Parsons, and commissions and premieres of new works annually. Parthenia has recorded As it Fell on a Holie Eve – Music for an Elizabethan Christmas, with soprano Julianne Baird, Les Amours de Mai, with Ms. Baird and violinist Robert Mealy, A Reliquary for William Blake, and Within the Labyrinth. The ensemble’s most recent release is The Flaming Fire – Mary Queen of Scots and Her World with Ryland Angel, countertenor, and Dongsok Shin, virginal.
Parthenia’s musicians are Artists-in-residence at The Church of Saint Luke in the Fields in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. Parthenia is represented by GEMS Live! Artist Management and records for MSR Classics.
About the Viol
The viol, or viola da gamba, is a family of stringed instruments celebrated in European music from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. Today on both sides of the Atlantic, soloists as well as viol groups-known as “consorts”-have rediscovered the lost repertoire and ethereal beauty of this early instrument. The viol was first known as the “bowed guitar” (vihuela da arco), a joint descendent of the medieval fiddle and the 15th-century Spanish guitar. Unlike its cousin, the arm-supported violin (viola da braccio), the viol is held upright on the leg (gamba) or between the legs; its bow is gripped underhand; and its body is made of bent or molded wood. These characteristics lend a distinctive lightness and resonance to viol sound that have inspired a wave of new works by 21st-century composers and a growing enthusiasm on the part of international audiences.
One of America’s most prominent historical string players, Robert Mealy has recorded and toured a wide variety of repertoire with many distinguished ensembles both here and in Europe, including Les Arts Florissants, Tafelmusik, Sequentia, the Boston Camerata, the American Bach Soloists, and many others. Mr. Mealy is principal concertmaster at Trinity Wall Street and the Orchestra Director of the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra; he recently received a Grammy for his work with BEMF. Committed to education as well as performing, he directs Juilliard’s distinguished Historical Performance Program. From 2003 to 2015, he taught at Yale, directing the postgraduate Yale Baroque Ensemble and the Yale Collegium Musicum. Prior to that, he taught at Harvard for over a decade, where he founded the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra. In 2004, he received EMA’s Binkley Award for outstanding teaching and scholarship. He has recorded over 80 CDs on most major labels.
Multi-instrumentalist and occasional vocalist Shira Kammen has spent well over half her life exploring the worlds of early and traditional music. A member for many years of the early music Ensembles Alcatraz and Project Ars Nova, and Medieval Strings, she has also worked with Sequentia, Hesperion XX, the Boston Camerata, the Balkan group Kitka, the King’s Noyse, the Newberry and Folger Consorts, the Oregon, California and San Francisco Shakespeare Festivals, and is the founder of Class V Music, an ensemble dedicated to providing music on river rafting trips. She has performed and taught in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Israel, Morocco, Latvia, Russia and Japan, and on the Colorado, Rogue, Green, Grande Ronde, East Carson and Klamath Rivers.
Shira happily collaborated with singer/storyteller John Fleagle for fifteen years, and performs now with several groups: a medieval ensemble, Fortune’s Wheel: a new music group, Ephemeros; an eclectic ethnic band, Panacea; an English Country Dance band, Roguery,the early music ensembles Cançoniér and In Bocca al Lupo, as well as frequent collaborations with performers such as storyteller/harpist Patrick Ball, medieval music experts Margriet Tindemans and Anne Azema, and in many theatrical and dance productions. She has worked with students in many different settings, among them teaching summer music workshops in the woods, coaching students of early music at Yale University, Case Western, the University of Oregon at Eugene, and working at specialized seminars at the Fondazione Cini in Venice, Italy and the Scuola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland.
She has played on several television and movie soundtracks, including ‘O’, a modern high school-setting of Othello and ‘’The Nativity Story’, and has accompanied many diverse artists in recording projects, among them singers Azam Ali and Joanna Newsom. Some of her original music can be heard in an independent film about fans of the work of JRR Tolkien. The strangest place Shira has played is in the elephant pit of the Jerusalem Zoo. She has recently taken courses in Taiko drumming and voiceover acting.