About Boston Baroque
Boston Baroque is the first permanent Baroque orchestra established in North America, and is widely regarded as “one of the world’s premier period-instrument bands.” (Fanfare). The ensemble produces lively, emotionally charged, ground-breaking performances of Baroque and Classical works, for today’s audiences, performed on instruments and using performance techniques that reflect the eras in which the music was composed.
Founded in 1973 by Music Director Martin Pearlman, Boston Baroque’s orchestra is made up of some of the finest period-instrument players in the U.S.; they are frequently joined by the ensemble’s professional chorus and by instrumental and vocal soloists from around the world. The ensemble presents an annual subscription series consisting of five programs that are performed at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall in Boston, MA, or Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre in Cambridge, MA. In 2012-13 the ensemble inaugurates New Directions: a chamber music series mixing music of the baroque and modern eras played on modern and period instruments.
Boston Baroque's many career milestones include the American premiere of Rameau's Zoroastre; a Mozart opera series including The Marriage of Figaro, Così fan tutte, and the American period-instrument premieres of Mozart's Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute; and a revelatory exploration of the Beethoven symphonies on period instruments. In 1998-99, the ensemble gave the modern premiere of The Philosopher's Stone, a singspiel newly discovered to include music by Mozart and to shed fresh light on his canon. In recent years, Boston Baroque has presented Boston's first complete cycle of the surviving operas of Monteverdi, with new performing editions of L’incoronazione di Poppea and Il ritorno d’Ulisse by Martin Pearlman; and an internationally acclaimed series of Handel operas including Agrippina, Alcina, Xerxes, Giulio Cesare, Semele, and Amadigi di Gaula. Their performances of Orfeo ed Euridice in May 2012, which included dancers and original choreography, met with outstanding critical acclaim.
Boston Baroque has performed at major music centers across the country including Disney Hall in Los Angeles, New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine, festivals at Ravinia and Tanglewood, and were the first period-instrument ensemble to be invited to participate at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico. The ensemble made its European debut in 2003, performing Handel's Messiah in Krakow and Warsaw, Poland. In reviews of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 at the Cathedral of St. John theDivine in 2010, the New York Times called the performance “vital and ebullient” and Opera News said that it was “an experience not soon to be forgotten.”
The ensemble reaches an international audience with 21 critically acclaimed recordings. These recordings — of which Fanfare magazine wrote “each one is an incomparable gem”— are heard by millions on classical radio stations in North America and Europe. The ensemble’s latest recording Haydn’s Creation, was widely acclaimed when released, on August 28 2012. Three Boston Baroque recordings have been finalists for Grammy awards: Handel's Messiah (1992); Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 (1998); and Bach's Mass in B Minor (2000).
Opera Britannia said of Mozart Arias for Male Soprano, with Michael Maniaci (2010), “A disc of this importance should be a pre-requisite for all vocal connoisseurs and admirers of Mozart alike.” Gramophone said of the 2009 release of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, “Boston Baroque’s playing combines supreme technical precision with unexpected psychological depth;” and cited the Bach Orchestral Suites, which was an Editor’s Choice, for their “virtuosity and élan.” Fanfare called Boston Baroque’s recording of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos “A set to treasure...it belongs on the shelf of every lover of the Baroque.”The premier recording of The Philosopher's Stone was an Opera News Editor's Choice, and was called by Fanfare “a valuable and utterly fascinating release” in which “the standard of performance...rises frequently to the level of the spectacular.” Boston Baroque's recording of Messiah was Classic CD's number one recommendation in its 1997 review of the crowded field of Messiah recordings. Billboard magazine called Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride “a superb production [and] cause for celebration...takes pride of place among readings of Iphigénie en Tauride, if not among all Gluck operas on record.”