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Blue Heron Renaissance Choir: Scott Metcalfe, music director

Friday, April 11, 2014

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The performers of Blue Heron are all members of Boston’s large early music community. For its first visit to Cleveland, Blue Heron will perform music from the Peterhouse partbooks, which were copied in 1541 for Canterbury Cathedral. Blue Heron has specialized in music from the Peterhouse partbooks since its founding in 1999.

“Music for Canterbury Cathedral”
Blue Heron
Friday, April 11, 7:30PM
The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
1007 Superior Avenue E
Cleveland OH 44114-2582

Works by: Robert Jones (Missa Spes nostra), Robert Hunt, Nicholas Ludford

About Blue Heron
The vocal ensemble Blue Heron has been acclaimed by The Boston Globe as “one of the Boston music community’s indispensables” and hailed by Alex Ross in The New Yorker for the “expressive intensity” of its interpretations. Combining a commitment to vivid live performance with the study of original source materials and historical performance practice, Blue Heron ranges over a wide and fascinating repertoire, including 15th-century English and Franco-Flemish polyphony, Spanish music between 1500 and 1600, and neglected early 16th-century English music, especially the rich and unique repertory of the Peterhouse partbooks, copied c. 1540 for Canterbury Cathedral. Blue Heron’s first CD, featuring music by Guillaume Du Fay, was released in 2007. In 2010 the ensemble inaugurated a 5-CD series of Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks. Two discs have been released so far, of music by Hugh Aston, Robert Jones, Nicholas Ludford, John Mason, and Richard Pygott; volume three will be released in October 2013. All of Blue Heron’s recordings have received international critical acclaim and volume one in the Peterhouse partbooks series made the Billboard charts.

Blue Heron presents a subscription series in Cambridge. The ensemble has appeared at the Boston Early Music Festival; in New York City at The Cloisters, the 92nd Street Y, and Music Before 1800; at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., at Festival Mozaic in San Luis Obispo, California, and at the Berkeley Early Music Festival. In September 2012, Blue Heron took up a new position as ensemble in residence at the new Center for Early Music Studies at Boston University. Highlights of the 2012-13 season included performances for the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in October, an appearance at the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, the presentation of North American premieres of music from the Peterhouse partbooks by Ludford and Mason, and a collaboration with the viol consort Parthenia from New York. In 2013-14 Blue Heron will return to The Cloisters and make debut appearances at the Library of Congress, at Yale University, and in Seattle, Kansas City, and Cleveland.

Blue Heron is a highly flexible performing organization which draws from a roster of musicians in order to constitute the ensemble best suited to the repertoire at hand; thus the ensemble may range in size from three singers (for a fifteenth-century song) to around a dozen (for a large-scale early sixteenth-century English mass) and adds instruments (slide trumpet, trombone, fiddle, harp, dulcian) when appropriate.

About Scott Metcalfe
Scott Metcalfe has gained wide recognition as one of North America’s leading specialists in music from the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries and beyond. Musical and artistic director of Blue Heron since its founding in 1999, he is also music director of New York City’s Green Mountain Project (Jolle Greenleaf, artistic director), whose performances of Claudio Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 and a “1640” Vespers of Metcalfe’s own devising have been hailed by The New York Times as “quite simply terrific” and by The Boston Globe as “stupendous.” Metcalfe has been a guest director of TENET (New York), Emmanuel Music (Boston), The Tudor Choir and Seattle Baroque, Pacific Baroque Orchestra (Vancouver, BC), Quire Cleveland, and the Dryden Ensemble (Princeton, NJ), and he conducted Early Music America’s Young Performers Festival Ensemble in its inaugural performance at the 2011 Boston Early Music Festival. In December 2013 he will make his debut directing Boston’s Handel & Haydn Society in Jordan Hall.

Metcalfe also enjoys a career as a baroque violinist and currently plays with Les Délices (dir. Debra Nagy), L’Harmonie des Saisons (dir. Eric Milnes), and other ensembles in Boston, Montreal, and elsewhere. He teaches vocal ensemble repertoire and performance practice at Boston University and is co-director (with Victor Coelho) of BU’s new Center for Early Music Studies. In his spare time he is at work on a new edition of the songs of Gilles Binchois (c. 1400-1460). Metcalfe received a bachelor’s degree in 1985 from Brown University, where he majored in biology. Perhaps uniquely in the early music world, he was lead author of an article published in the Annals of Botany. In 2005 he completed a master’s degree in historical performance practice at Harvard. He lives in Watertown with his family and enjoys biking, hiking, and all sorts of outdoor recreation.


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