The Festival concludes with two grand sacred works from the turn of the 18th century, Henry Purcell’s Music for the funeral for the Queen Mary (1695) and George Frideric Handel’s Dixit Dominus (1707), the earliest surviving work in Handel’s autograph.
June 12, 2016 – 4:00pm
First Congregational Church – 2345 Channing Way (entrance at Dana and Durant)
Buy Tickets: $56/$48/$40, $15 students under age 30 with ID
Vox Luminis, founded in 2004 in Namur, Belgium, is an ensemble specialising in the performance of 16th – 18th century vocal music. The ensemble has been praised for its seamless blend of high quality individual voices, exquisite tuning and clarity of sound. Critics have also commented on the ensemble’s enthusiasm in sharing its passion for early music with an audience. The majority of the group met at one of the most significant centers for early music in Europe: the Royal Conservatory in The Hague.
Vox Luminis has performed in festivals and venues in Belgium (Nuits de Septembre de Liège, festival de Stavelot, Juillet Musical de Saint-Hubert, Automne Musical de Spa, MA festival Bruges, festival van Vlanderen Gent, Laus Polifoniae Antwerpen, festival des midi-Minimes, Eté Musical de Roisin, Société Philharmonique de Namur…); France (festival d’Ambronay, festival de Saintes, Rencontres Musicales de Vézelay, festival de Saint-Michel en Thiérarche, Midsummer festival d’Hardelot, festival Contrepoint 62, Festival Musique et Mémoire de Luxeuil, Musique et Natures en Bauges, festival Bach en Combrailles…); Germany (Ratingen Bachtage festival, Muziekfest Stuttgart); The Netherlands (Oude Muziek Utrecht, Den Haag, Delft); Portugal (Centro Cultural Bélem-Lisbon) and Croatia (Varazdin Baroque Evenings).
Vox Luminis records exclusively for the Belgian Label Ricercar. The ensemble’s first CD, released at the end of 2007, features four vocal works by Domenico Scarlatti, including his famous 10-part Stabat Mater. In May 2010 the ensemble released its second album, Samuel Scheidt: Sacrae Cantiones, which features several world premieres. Vox Luminis’ most recent CD, released in June 2012, created a buzz with an interpretation of Heinrich Schütz’s Musicalische Exequien. This recording has received several prestigious awards such as the Gramophone ‘Recording of the Year’, the ‘Baroque Vocal Gramophone Award’ and the ‘International Classical Music Award’. Other recordings have also received many awards throughout the world including, Gramophone’s ‘Editor’s Choice’, Diapason d’Or, Choc de Classica, Muse d’Or Baroque, Preis der Deutschen Schallplatten Kritik, Joker de Crescendo and Prix Caecilia.
Vox Luminis is very grateful to have the support of the Federation Wallonie-Bruxelles.
The Philharmonia Chamber Players, a select group of musicians from the Bay Area’s own Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, was formed in 2005 for a concert at London’s Royal Opera Covent Garden.
The Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra has been dedicated to historically-informed performance of Baroque, Classical and early-Romantic music on original instruments since its inception in 1981. Under Music Director Nicholas McGegan, Philharmonia Baroque has been named Ensemble of the Year by Musical America.
The Orchestra performs an annual subscription series in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is regularly heard on tour in the United States and internationally. The Orchestra has its own professional chorus, the Philharmonia Chorale, directed by Bruce Lamott, and welcomes talented guest artists such as mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, countertenor David Daniels, conductor Jordi Savall, fortepianist Emmanuel Ax, conductor Masaaki Suzuki, and violinist Rachel Podger.
The Orchestra has had numerous successful collaborations with celebrated composers and choreographers. Philharmonia premiered its first commissioned work, a one-act opera by Jake Heggie entitled To Hell and Back, in November 2006. In collaboration with the Mark Morris Dance Group, Philharmonia Baroque gave the U.S. premieres of Morris’s highly acclaimed productions of Henry Purcell’s King Arthur and Jean-Philippe Rameau’s ballet-opera Platée.
Among the most-recorded period-instrument orchestras in the United States or in Europe, Philharmonia Baroque has made thirty-four highly praised recordings – including its Gramophone award-winning recording of Handel’s Susanna – for harmonia mundi, Reference Recordings, and BMG.
In 2011, Philharmonia launched its own label, Philharmonia Baroque Productions, with an acclaimed recording of Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’été and Handel arias featuring mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. The second CD release, Haydn Symphonies No. 104 “London”, No. 88, No. 101 “The Clock,” has been nominated for a GRAMMY® Award for Best Orchestral Performance.
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra was founded by harpsichordist and early music pioneer Laurette Goldberg.
As he embarks on his fourth decade on the podium, Nicholas McGegan, hailed as “one of the finest baroque conductors of his generation” (London Independent), is increasingly recognized for his probing and revelatory explorations of music of all periods. He has been music director of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra for 27 years, and was Artistic Director of the International Handel Festival Göttingen for 20 years (1991–2011). Beginning in the 2013-14 season he becomes Principal Guest Conductor of the Pasadena Symphony, and in 2014 becomes Artist in Association with Australia’s Adelaide Symphony.
His approach to period style — intelligent, infused with joy and never dogmatic — has led to appearances with major orchestras: including the New York, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong Philharmonics; the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Toronto and Sydney Symphonies; the Cleveland and the Philadelphia Orchestras; and the Northern Sinfonia and Scottish Chamber Orchestra, where his programs often mingle Baroque with later works. He is also at home in opera houses having conducted companies including Covent Garden, San Francisco, Santa Fe and Washington, and he was Principal Conductor at Sweden’s famed Drottningholm Theatre from 1993-1996.
English-born Nicholas McGegan was educated at Cambridge and Oxford. He was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) “for services to music overseas.” Other awards include the Halle Handel Prize; the Order of Merit of the State of Lower Saxony (Germany); the Medal of Honour of the City of Göttingen, and a declaration of Nicholas McGegan Day, by the Mayor of San Francisco in recognition of his work with Philharmonia Baroque. In 2013 he was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Music by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
His extensive discography includes six recent releases on Philharmonia Baroque’s label, Philharmonia Baroque Productions (PBP), including Brahms Serenades; Beethoven Symphonies nos. 4 and 7; Berlioz Les Nuits d’été and Handel arias with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson; Haydn Symphonies nos. 88, 101 and 104 (nominated for a GRAMMY® Award); Vivaldi The Four Seasons and other concerti with violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock, and Handel’s Atalanta featuring soprano Dominique Labelle.
Concerto Palatino The names Bruce Dickey and Charles Toet are practically synonymous with the modern revival of the cornetto and the Baroque trombone and are largely responsible for the enormous advances that have been made in the last 20 years in playing standards on these instruments. In a collaboration of some 25 years, they have together trained a whole generation of cornetto and trombone players, many of whom have become regular members of Concerto Palatino.
While the core group is comprised of two cornetti and three trombones, this formation is frequently augmented by the addition of brass players, strings, or singers as necessary. Inevitably, much of their repertoire is sacred, as these instruments were a fixture of musical chapels in both the Catholic south and the Protestant north, from the time of the first flowering of Flemish polyphony in the early 16th century through their twilight years at the time of J.S. Bach, one of the last composers to employ them in a serious way.
Concerto Palatino frequently collaborates with other leading ensembles, in particular Cantus Cölln (Konrad Junghänel), Collegium Vocale Ghent (Philippe Herreweghe), La Dolcezza (Veronika Skuplik), the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra (Ton Koopman), and the Bach Collegium Japan (Masaki Suzuki).
Concerto Palatino places a high priority on unearthing neglected gems of music history and giving them a place in the concert hall and record catalogs alongside the works of established masters. Thus, in addition to highly acclaimed recordings of Schütz, Gabrieli, and Monteverdi, they have made premiere recordings of the Marian Vespers of Francesco Cavalli, the Missa Maria Concertata of Christoph Strauss, and Palestrina’s Missa sine nomine preserved in a manuscript of J. S. Bach.
Their numerous recordings for EMI Reflexe, Accent, and harmonia mundi France have received high acclaim. In particular, a major series of recordings together with Cantus Cölln (Vespers of Monteverdi and Rosenmüller, Schütz’ Psalmen Davidsand Symphoniae sacrae, the Selva Morale e spirituale of Monteverdi) has won numerous prestigious awards.