Folger Consort, the Early Music Ensemble-in-Residence at the Folger Shakespeare Library, will continue its beloved holiday tradition with four festive concerts of A New World Christmas from Friday, December 9 through Sunday, December 11.
A video recording of the concert will also be available for purchase for on-demand streaming through Folger’s website, with streaming available Friday, December 16 through Thursday, January 5. Performances will take place at the spacious and atmospheric St. Mark’s Church on Capitol Hill, where Folger Consort saw its successful return to in-person performances in December 2021 and continues to perform through its 2022/23 season.
A New World Christmas shares music composed in the Spanish colonies of Central and South America from the late 16th century to the 18th century. Interspersed with instrumental selections performed by a Baroque ensemble, vocal pieces sung in Latin and Spanish celebrate the Christmas story. Written by composers working in the New World such as Gaspar Fernandes, Juan de Araujo and Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla, this music would probably have been performed in the cathedrals of the main colonial cities of Cuzco, Lima, Mexico City and Puebla. In addition to works by well-known composers, the program includes anonymous selections found in the remarkable manuscript compiled in the 18th century in Trujillo, Peru, by Bishop Baltazar Jaime Martínez Compañón. Known as the Trujillo Codex, its pages include twenty pieces of music and more than 1,400 watercolors depicting life – including musical life – in colonial Peru.
Stylistically, the music played at A New World Christmas testifies to the cross-pollination of European songwriting practices with Native American and African influences. Among other features, this includes lively dance beats, call-and-response vocals, and contemporary-sounding chord progressions. In addition to a baroque ensemble with the distinctly Latin American continuo configuration of harp and guitar or lute, the Folger Consort is accompanied by a special guest vocal ensemble, the New York-based sextet The Western Wind. , who last played with the Consort in 2014.
More information online at: www.folger.edu/events/a-new-world-christmas
Concert attendees will be required to wear a face mask inside the concert hall, but will not be required to present proof of vaccination. For more information on COVID-19 safety protocols, visit: www.folger.edu/covid-19-safety-protocols.
Individual tickets can be purchased at the Folger box office at (202) 544-7077 or online at www.folger.edu/consort. Prices for in-person performances are $60. Discounts are available for Folger members and for subscribers to the Folger Theater and OB Hardison Poetry series.
Tickets for the concert taping are available at prices ranging from $20 to $50 and can be purchased at the Folger box office at (202) 544-7077 or online at www.folger.edu/events/a-new -world-christmas. Once purchased, the video will be available for streaming via the Folger Shakespeare Library website from December 16, 2022 through January 5, 2023.
The West Wind
Christina Kay, soprano
Linda Lee Jones, soprano
Eric S. Brenner, countertenor
David Vanderwal, tenor
Wilson Nichols, tenor
Paul Greene-Dennis, bass
Folger Consort – Robert Eisenstein and Christopher Kendall, art directors
Elizabeth Hardy, winds
Dan Meyers, winds, percussion
Paula Fagerberg, harp
Hideki Yamaya, lute
Risa Browder, violin
Robert Eisenstein, violin
Mary Springfels, viola da gamba
THE WEST WIND, vocal ensemble
Since 1969, the internationally acclaimed vocal sextet The Western Wind has been dedicated to the special beauty and variety of a cappella music. The Ensemble’s repertoire reveals its diversity – from Renaissance motets to 1950s rock ‘n’ roll, from medieval chants to Duke Ellington, from complex works by avant-garde composers to the simplest folk melodies. In addition to maintaining a demanding performance schedule, which has included venues such as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, ArtPark, Ordway Theatre, Metropolitan Museum, Frick Museum, Jewish Museum, Folger Shakespeare Library, the Library of Congress, and the Cleveland Museum of Art, The Western Wind regularly organizes ensemble singing workshops. The workshops, attended by singers ranging from novice to professional, address the particular challenges of singing in small, largely unconducted ensembles.
Folger Consort Artistic Directors:
Robert Eisenstein is a founding member of the Folger Consort and its current program director. In addition to his work with the Consort, he is the director of the Five College Early Music Program in western Massachusetts, where he teaches music history; performs regularly on viola da gamba, fiddle and medieval fiddle; and coordinates and directs student performances of Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music.
Christopher Kendall is a founding member of the Folger Consort. From 2005 to 2015, he was Dean of the School of Music, Theater & Dance at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He was director of the School of Music at the University of Maryland from 1996 to 2005, a period of significant institutional growth related to the construction of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Kendall is also artistic director, founder and conductor of the 21st Century Consort.
Now in its 45th season as Early Music Ensemble-in-Residence at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Folger Consort has delighted audiences with a stunning array of early music spanning some 800 years of repertoire. With a variety of world-class guest artists, from virtuoso soloists to great choirs and orchestras, Folger Consort performed masterpieces from the most renowned composers and hidden treasures from those who might otherwise be lost to history. . With seasonal concerts in the intimate setting of Folger’s Elizabethan Theater, as well as large venues such as Washington National Cathedral and the Kennedy Center, Folger Consort has also toured nationally and internationally at Shakespeare’s Globe and other prestigious places.
Among other accolades and critical acclaim for their performances and recordings, Folger Consort has received several awards for Best Classical Chamber Ensemble from the Washington Area Music Awards. Karen Ann Daniels is Director of Programming and David Mozur is the Folger Music Program Manager. To learn more about Folger Consort, please visit www.folger.edu/folger-consort.