2019 – 2020 Season Empire's Ebb
From West African kingdoms to clashing kings on a field of gold, from queens both triumphant of wit and vanquished by love, our eleventh New York season explores through myth, music, and history the fragility of empire and the fault lines of conquest.
Programs and artists subject to change. To reserve by phone, call 1 888 718 4253
Friday, April 17th 8:00pm
The Kosciusko Foundation
15 East 65th Street
The Field of the Cloth of Gold
Michal Gondko and Nigel North, Renaissance Lutes
The 1520 summit between Henry VIII of England and François I of France, known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold, celebrated a brief glimmer of peace in the historically bellicose Anglo-French relationship. Nigel North and Michal Gondko honor this spirit of accord with an international program of Renaissance lute duets and solos, exalting the lute’s frequent role as an instrument of international diplomacy and courtly delight. Works of Francesco da Milano, Albert de Rippe, Pierre Phalèse, John Johnson, John Dowland, and others.
Previous events this season
Tuesday, November 12th 7:30pm
The Bernie Wohl Center
647 Columbus Avenue
In the Beginning
Early Music of Western Africa
Ensemble Longbor Mor
Dawn Padmore, Soprano
Yacouba Sissoko, Kora
Olusegun Ajayi, percussion
Kevin Nathaniel Hylton, mbira & percussion
Adedeji Ayansola, talking drum
Is "Early Music" only about Europe?
Thriving for centuries before and surviving four centuries after, persisting in a hostile foreign land long after the first ship bearing human cargo arrived in 1619, the chants and dances of Western Africa pre-date by centuries any music that we currently refer to as "early.”
Come hear some of the oldest music known to us today – music that survived a harrowing ocean journey, flickering in the shadows of the Land of the Free, pulsing with enduring power through the amplified soundscape of modern American popular song.
Acclaimed Liberian soprano Dawn Padmore and kora master Yacouba Sissoko join Afro Roots Artistic Director, percussion virtuoso and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Nathaniel in a thrilling performance of traditional Western African music from lands now known to us as Ghana, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Sierra Leone.
Our New York season opens with music from the beginning. Don't miss this very special evening, co-presented by our friends at Afro Roots Tuesdays.
Thursday, December 12th
The Players Club
16 Gramercy Park South
Dreams of Tunis in the Baroque Imagination
Jessica Gould, soprano
Mary Riccardi & Dongmyung Ahn, violins
Christa Patton, recorders & baroque harp
Arash Noori, theorbo
John Mark Rozendaal, baroque cello
Gwendolyn Toth, harpsichord
Fatima Gozlan, ney
Brian Prunka, oud
The capital of Tunisia was once the legendary city of Carthage. Its Queen Dido, loved then abandoned by Aeneas on his mission to found Rome, inspired countless musical masterworks from the baroque era to Berlioz.
This concert alternates baroque cantatas and arias dedicated to the Carthaginian Queen with the Arabic form of improvisation known as Taksim, as two ensembles – one baroque and the other North African, share a stage, offering a new hearing of Dido the misused monarch and the site of Northern Africa as both exploited resource and object of fantasy in the Western European mythscape.
Music of Cavalli, Couperin, DeVisée, Legrenzi, Montéclair, and Purcell, in alternation with traditional Taksim improvisations close our fall season, in this original program, previously presented by the Sorbonne and NYU Villa La Pietra in Florence, Italy
Click here to read the program notes.
Saturday, January 18th
NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò
24 West 12th Street
Ayres de Cour des Grands Maîtres de la Tragédie Lyrique Française
French 11-course lute
Mired in decadence and shrouded in subtlety, French court culture found no better expression than the intimate, sensual, and seductively nuanced Air de Cour.
Yet, at the apex of the Ancien Régime, Bon –Goût tangles with Sprezzatura, as a Mazarin Italian import and Tuscan peasant’s son becomes “Surintendant de la Musique du Roi.” The monumental Tragédie Lyrique and the Comédie-Ballet of Jean Baptiste Lully, né Giovanni Battista Lulli, gradually eclipse the Air de Cour, as a glittering age hungry for spectacle swiftly hurdles towards its end.
Join us on a midwinter’s evening, as the French-Florentine duo of mezzo-soprano Lila Hajosi and lutenist Giovanni Bellini share a program of exquisite jewels from the rise of the Roi Soleil in the elegant and intimate Ridotto of the townhouse of NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò.
Works of Lully, Charpentier, Gallot le Vieux, Lambert, and Mouton. and excerpts from the Divertissement de Chambord, Ballet Royal de Flore, Ballet de Versailles.
Thursday, March 5th 8:00pm
The Brotherhood Synagogue
28 Gramercy Park South
Ester, Liberatrice del popolo ebreo
Alessandro Stradella (1639 – 1682)
Jessica Gould, Sarah Pillow, José Lemos, Ian Pomerantz, Paul An, Matthew Curran, Martha Sullivan, Olivia Greene
Members and Guests of The Stradella Consort, Estevan Velardi Director
The Old Testament story of a blustering genocidal despot and the canny queen who resists and brings him down finds voice in one of the most innovative works of the violent, volatile, and tragically short-lived genius Alessandro Stradella.
Please join us for this groundbreaking masterwork by “the Caravaggio of Music" in a return of last year’s critically praised production celebrating the story of a minority’s triumph over religious persecution.
Click here to read the program notes.
This event is co-produced by NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò and the American Society for Jewish Music, and presented in partnership with Centro Primo Levi.
Sunday, March 1st 7:30pm
The Center for Jewish History
15 West 16th Street
Join us for a pre-concert talk with Dr. Eugenio Refini (New York University) scholar of 17th-century oratorio, and ensemble members performing in Ester, Liberatrice del Popolo Ebreo by Alessandro Stradella (1639 -1682)
Admission is free. Please reserve seats by email.