Jeannette Sorrell, Artistic Director

“Under the inspired leadership of Jeannette Sorrell, Apollo’s Fire has become one of the pre-eminent period-instrument ensembles, causing one to hear baroque material anew.”
–THE INDEPENDENT, London

Jeannette Sorrell is recognized internationally as one of today’s most creative early-music conductors. She has been credited by the U.K.’s BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE for forging “a vibrant, life-affirming approach to the re-making of early music.”

She was one of the youngest students ever accepted to the prestigious conducting courses of the Aspen and the Tanglewood music festivals.  She studied conducting under Leonard Bernstein, Roger Norrington and Robert Spano, and harpsichord with Gustav Leonhardt in Amsterdam. She won both First Prize and the Audience Choice Award in the 1991 Spivey International Harpsichord Competition, competing against over 70 harpsichordists from Europe, Israel, the U.S., and the Soviet Union.

Sorrell’s recent guest conducting engagements include the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center (Handel’s Messiah), the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the New World Symphony. Her 2013 debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as conductor and soloist in the complete Brandenburg Concertos was met with standing ovations every night, and hailed as “an especially joyous occasion” (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW). She has also led the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Utah Symphony, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis with the St. Louis Symphony, Handel & Haydn Society (Boston), and the Grand Teton Festival, among others.

Sorrell is the founder and artistic director of Apollo’s Fire, with whom she has built one of the largest audiences of any baroque orchestra in North America. She has led AF in sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall, London’s BBC Proms and London’s Wigmore Hall, Madrid’s Royal Theatre (Teatro Real), the Grand Théâtre de l’Opéra in Bordeaux, the Aldeburgh Festival (UK), the Tanglewood Festival, Boston’s Early Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, the Library of Congress, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), among others. This year she and the ensemble tour to the UK and Ireland.

Sorrell and Apollo’s Fire have released 26 commercial CDs, of which eight have been bestsellers on the Billboard classical chart. Her recordings include the complete Brandenburg Concerti and harpsichord concerti of Bach, praised by the LONDON TIMES as “a swaggering version… brilliantly played by Sorrell.” She has also released four discs of Mozart, and was hailed as “a near-perfect Mozartian” by FANFARE RECORD MAGAZINE.  Other recordings include Bach’s St. John Passion, Handel’s Messiah, the Monteverdi Vespers and four creative crossover projects.

Sorrell has attracted national attention and awards for creative programming.  She holds an Artist Diploma from Oberlin Conservatory, an honorary doctorate from Case Western University, two awards from the National Endowment for the Arts for her work on early American music, and an award from the American Musicological Society. Passionate about guiding the next generation of performers, she is the architect of AF’s highly successful Young Artist Apprentice Program, which has produced many of the leading young baroque professionals in the country today.

Download Jeannette Sorrell’s Bio (May 2018)  PDF | DOC

PHOTO GALLERY  JEANNETTE’S VIDEO PLAYLIST 

Jeannette’s Management:

Douglas Sheldon and Stefana Atlas
Columbia Artists
212.841.9543
satlas@columbia-artists.com

Review Quotes

“The lightning strike of genius can happen, sometimes even repeatedly, to those willing to earn it. Jeannette Sorrell is one such person.”
–SEEN & HEARD INTERNATIONAL, 2017

J.S. Bach: Brandenburgs, Passions, etc.

“A resplendent performance… The production belonged entirely to Ms. Sorrell, who devised the concept, which she called ‘a dramatic presentation….’ – effective and particularly brave…. exquisite moments. In the 2-verse chorale early on, Ms. Sorrell let the magnificent chorus sing a cappella to breathtaking effect…
–THE NEW YORK TIMES, 2016 (Bach’s St. John Passion at Trinity Wall Street)

“The St. John Passion… evokes deep spirituality while teeming with theatricality. Attempts have often been made to stage it, including one two years ago by Peter Sellars and the Berlin Philharmonic that erred…. the drama was blurred. No such problem afflicted the superlative performance by Apollo’s Fire… Sorrell ensured there was no lack of drama. She set persuasive tempos…. engagingly colorful sound and finely nuanced effects. The chorus, Apollo’s Singers, was consistently alert and dynamic… positioned in the aisles during the mob scene, achieving a kind of surround-sound effect that heightened the drama. Phrasing in the chorales, as shaped by Sorrell, was noteworthy for some lovely detail.”
–MUSICAL AMERICA, 2016

“A swaggering version… The most is made of the instrumental colours Bach so exhilaratingly put on show. The keyboard part in the 5th Brandenburg is brilliantly played by Sorrell.
–THE SUNDAY TIMES, London (CD review – complete Brandenburgs & harpsichord concertos)

Baroque orchestra conquers Tanglewood… Only a few minutes into the concert, one realized that this was going to be no typical Baroque sewing-machine outing… Sorrell and her group demonstrated… expressive musical response, drive and color. The dramatic cadenza [of Brandenburg Concerto no. 5] of astonishing virtuosity… was indeed hair-raising and brilliantly played. The encore truly brought the house down.”
–“BOSTON MUSICAL INTELLIGENCER (Tanglewood debut, 2015)

“Bubbles like fine champagne… A fabulous harpsichord cadenza played with gusto by Sorrell… perfectly polished.”
–EARLY MUSIC AMERICA MAGAZINE (CD review – Brandenburgs)

“Sorrell leads from the harpsichord and delivers a brilliant take-no-captives rendition of the big solo in No. 5. In all, these performances are lively and unfailingly attractive—the best in what historical performance can be…. an impressive treasure.”
–AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, (CD review – Brandenburgs)

“The debut of Jeannette Sorrell with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra was an especially joyous occasion. The American conductor and harpsichordist brought an exciting combination of individuality with decisive yet graceful style to Johann Sebastian Bach‘s Six Brandenburg Concertos… This is a concert not to be missed.”
–PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 2013

Sorrell played [Brandenburg Concerto no. 5] with impeccable precision, all the while maintaining full control of the cadenza’s momentum. Most impressive was her exploitation of the… relentless rhythm, drawing the ear toward an expected conclusion only to be thrown into more and more tumultuous churning.”
–KANSAS CITY METROPOLIS, 2012

“Sorrell outdid herself in the stunning solo [of Brandenburg #5], generating a tightly wound energy in the passagework that spilled out into a roller coaster of almost terrifyingly dizzying scales. The piece sounded grippingly new.
–CLEVELAND CLASSICAL.com, 2012

“Sorrell led a revelatory performance [of Bach’s St. John Passion], with impassioned singing and playing bring Bach’s score to life with contemporary immediacy.”
—OPERA NEWS, review of Ojai Festival, 2004

“Magnificent… Sorrell, often leading from the harpsichord, imbued every moment with apt expressive intensity or buoyancy, and balances between voices and instruments were ideal. Leave it to Apollo’s Fire to open the season in a blaze of glory.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, 2009 (Bach B Minor Mass)

“Sorrell conducts the oratorio [Bach’s St. John Passion] as a sweeping saga in which intimate episodes are balanced by explosive theatrical moments. What sets her performance apart is the expressive depth with which she conveys the messages.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

“Harpsichordist Sorrell sparkled like a meteor zooming through time and space in the incredibly fast fingerwork of Brandenburg No. 5.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, 1999

“Sorrell offered a wonderful interpretation of the third [Brandenburg] concerto. Her fluent and expressive keyboard style led the way in the fifth concerto… providing exhilaration to the mind and spirit.”
–PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 1999

“Virtuosity runs rampant among the musicians [of Apollo’s Fire], starting with Sorrell herself. The Fifth Brandenburg told Sorrell’s real story, and what a story it was. Her playing of this extraordinary passage was always musical, never just flash…. Under her direction, the group sounds like it’s been playing together for something like forever.”
–INDIANAPOLIS STAR

“The real star of the show was Sorrell, who took the solo spotlight in Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in D minor. A superb performer, she soared on the composer’s energizing rhythms, and spun out the adagio melody with a singer’s sense of line.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, 2000

“A triumph of fingers and brain over thousands of notes. Sorrell turned the challenging outer movements [of the Bach d minor harpsichord concerto] into a series of fiery statements, while she rendered the slow movement songful and cohesive.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

“Sorrell is mature, masterful at the keyboard…”
–INDIANAPOLIS STAR (Brandenburg #5)

“Sorrell made a virtuosic delight of Bach’s marathon lines… her buoyancy of rhythm kept the ideas in crystalline focus. She was unerring in matters of embellishment and nuance. The second movement [of the Bach D Minor Harpsichord Concerto] seemed like a heavenly aria in her hands. How she kept her fingers moving so fluently in the finale, only she can tell.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER (performance at Severance Hall).

“Ms. Sorrell sparkled in the extravagant harpsichord solo [of Brandenburg Concerto no.5].”
–THE MORNING JOURNAL, CLEVELAND

“Sorrell’s interpretation of C.P.E. Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto was exemplary: agitated and lyrical and fickle as a cat.”
–PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE

Mozart Symphonies & Operas

“Sorrell is a true Mozartian. Her Mozart achieves a near-perfect combination of real dramatic cogency and the ability to sing.”
–FANFARE Record Magazine, (CD review – Mozart Piano Concerti)

“Sorrell presents an elegantly proportioned Symphony no. 40… vividly characterized.”
–THE INDEPENDENT, London (CD review – Mozart Symphony no. 40)

“Performances of enormous drama, delicacy and zest played with keen attention to expressive and textural nuances. It is clear from the symphony’s opening moments that Sorrell intends to emphasize the music’s tragic elements. The account brims with nervous energy and the pacing is propulsive, though the conductor calls for spacious sighs and dynamic gradations that allow contrasting materials to have their say. The slow movement benefits from shapely, graceful phrasing, while the Menuetto’s alternation of vehemence and lilt is boldly dispatched. Mozart’s dangerous psyche returns in the finale with Sorrell urging the music along as she takes full advantage of her superb period instrumentalists: silken strings, woodsy winds, nimble horns, focused timpani.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER (CD review – Symphony no. 40)

“Music director Jeannette Sorrell and superb colleagues have created a lithe “Magic Flute” of captivating and touching vibrancy. Sorrell shaped the score with a knowing blend of momentum and elasticity, drawing lucid playing from her remarkable period instrument orchestra and making glittery contributions at the keyed glockenspiel to depict Papageno’s magic bells.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, 2012 (Mozart’s Magic Flute at Severance Hall)

“The Jupiter [Symphony of Mozart] was an aristocratic knockout. Sorrell has re-thought the piece even since she and her players recorded the work for Koch Classics (also a fine performance.) She now achieves phrasings, blends and accents that animate every corner of this masterpiece. The orchestra played with crackling vitality and dulcet lyricism.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, 2005

“This Mozart verged on the revelatory, especially Sorrell’s account of the Symphony no. 40. Each movement had a sense of inner life and drama, and every instrumental line could be heard. The sense of discovery Sorrell and the players brought to the performance… was so exciting, it generated a standing ovation.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, 2003

Vivaldi Concertos

“Under the inspired leadership of Jeannette Sorrell, Apollo’s Fire has become one of the pre-eminent period-instrument ensembles, causing one to hear baroque material anew.”
–THE INDEPENDENT, London (CD review – Vivaldi concertos)

Led by exuberant, flame-haired Jeannette Sorrell, they were flamboyant and fun. Their party piece – Vivaldi’s trio sonata La Folia arranged as an increasingly frenetic dancing concerto grosso by Sorrell – energetically rounded off a hugely enjoyable concert.”
–THE BIRMINGHAM POST, UK, 2014

“Jeannette Sorrell put together an ingenious programme which showed off the ensemble’s range of colour, mood and style… playful and flexible. Each piece found its own special colour. Another engaging thing about this group is that it combines European stylishness with “can-do” American entrepreneurism. Sorrell arranged [Vivaldi’s La Folia] for the full band and the results were thrilling.
–THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, London, 2014  (Best 5 Concerts of 2014)

“The two-hour “Viva Vivaldi!” program enthralled the Holland Performing Arts Center audience from start to finish…. Sorrell, who conducted the ensemble throughout while supplying “continuo” accompaniment on the harpsichord, showed why she‘s one of today‘s most engaging and skilled ambassadors of Baroque music. A return visit — perhaps with her leading and playing Bach‘s Brandenburg Concertos, which she has recorded to acclaim — would be most welcome.”
–OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 2014 (review of the Omaha Symphony)

“Apollo’s Fire’s flair for drama was perhaps best displayed in a grand rumpus performance of Sorrell’s arrangement of Vivaldi’s La Follia. This party piece, played from memory, featured many steep and rapid changes in tone, texture and rhythmic character. One of the most interesting and rewarding recitals of the season.”
–THE TORONTO GLOBE & MAIL, 2011

“With Sorrell leading from the harpsichord, the ensemble played… [Sorrell’s arrangement of Vivaldi’s La Follia] with brio and style and more than a hint of the madness the title implies. It was delicious.”
–ANN ARBOR.COM (formerly the Ann Arbor News), 2011

“Sorrell is one heck of a harpsichordist and a lively conductor. She played with skill and panache.”
–BOSTON GLOBE, 2001 (Vivaldi’s Summer concerto, transcribed for harpsichord by J. Sorrell)

Handel’s Messiah & Other Oratorios

“…A full-scale production of Handel’s dramatic oratorio ‘Israel in Egypt,’ in a new performing edition prepared by music director Jeanette Sorrell… found the players and singers playing to their strengths. Sorrell’s edition seeks to re-establish the dramatic balance lost in Handel’s revision, by restoring the first act’s lamentations as a counterbalance to the third act’s trumpet-and-drums rejoicing at the destruction of Pharaoh’s pursuing armies. The effectiveness of Apollo’s Fire’s version proves that Sorrell was on the right track. Apollo’s Singers were supple and subtle, alert to a wide dynamic range and sensitive to the drama of the music. Apollo’s Fire [instrumentalists] navigated Handel’s various musical depictions with exhilarating abandon, which Sorrell harnessed wonderfully…. leaping rhythms for frogs, gossamer swirls for flies and lice… surging timpani as the waters of the Red Sea swallow Pharaoh and his men.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, 2017

“…Sorrell’s version [of Israel in Egypt] made a fine impression…. Chorus, soloists, and orchestra were uniformly impressive. The chorus, like the text they sang at one point, ‘triumphed gloriously.’ Sorrell led a highly nuanced performance… unanimous in phrasing, dynamics, and musical rhetoric — and well-calculated in dramatic impact.
–CLEVELANDCLASSICAL.COM, 2017

Sorrell is a masterful musical storyteller. Her adaptation [of Handel’s Israel in Egypt] gives the work a coherent, compelling dramatic arc, brought off brilliantly by her singers and players. I can only think that Handel would wholeheartedly approve.”
–SEEN & HEARD INTERNATIONAL, 2017

For those who thought they knew Messiah, the performance on Saturday evening by Apollo’s Fire, conducted by Jeannette Sorrell, was a revelation. In the second of five performances around the Cleveland area, Messiah has seldom seemed so dramatic, so alive with detail, yet with an overall sense of the work’s architecture. The soloists sang their parts mostly from memory and used simple but effective gestures to add to the dramatic effect. These were not mere musical performances but singing actors propelling this telling of ‘the greatest story ever told.’ The choruses were models of clarity and blend, with carefully molded phrases. Throughout, it was Jeannette Sorrell’s vision which led to an uncommonly unified success. This was a Messiah that will last in my memory for a very long time.
– BACKTRACK.COM (international classical music website based in Europe), 2014

Alluring personalities, a stellar chorus and orchestra, and… a fine sense of pacing. Jeannette Sorrell and Apollo’s Fire had all of these elements securely in place. Its version of Messiahpresented with a sense of theater, as Handel intended it to be — scintillated, charmed and inspired the large audience from Overture to ‘Amen.’ Apollo’s Singers’… diction, blend, and clarity of line [were] superb all evening, even at the liveliest of tempos and in the most complicated passage-work.”
– CLEVELAND CLASSICAL.COM, 2014

“This year’s performance by Apollo’s Fire shook off… preconceptions about MessiahJeannette Sorrell led a highly dramatic rendering that made the most of the theatrical basis of the music.  The plot was gripping at almost every moment.  Apollo’s Singers were as much a part of the theatricality as the soloists: their diction brought the text across, and their articulation made Handel’s complex fugal passages clear and expressive.  The orchestra was fully a part of the drama. The upper strings… played Handel’s daunting lines with energy and passion. The continuo section made drama from the intricate running bass lines. Josh Cohen’s trumpet solo in “The trumpet will sound,” played from memory, was thrilling.  Like any great theatrical performance, this Messiah startled us again and again with its sudden shifts of mood: now gentleness, now majesty, now excitement, and finally, peace. The final “Amen” left us in a contemplative mood, quietly and inwardly, as if the chorus were reflecting on the meaning of the story that had just been told. It takes daring to end a piece so quietly, in Milton’s words, with ‘calm of mind, all passion spent.’”
– CLEVELAND CLASSICAL.COM, December 2012

“Music Director Jeannette Sorrell… succeeded in drawing the audience into another world. While the performance [of Handel’s Messiah] Friday was sold out, the Apollo’s Fire forces… approached the piece as if they were telling the story for the first time. Sorrell shaped the score with an alert ear for expressive and dramatic nuance. Apollo’s Singers again explored a magnificent spectrum of shadings. From the lightest of touches to the majestic proclamations, the ensemble provided lucidity and fervor.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, 2012

“Sorrell’s brilliance was stamped on every aspect of the performance [of Handel’s Belshazzar]. She conducted the arias and choruses with a dramatic zeal that provided momentum or space as the music required. Her orchestra sounded marvelously articulate and bright.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, 1998

“Sorrell invested the work [Handel’s Messiah] with remarkable muscle, tenderness and textural clarity. She achieved striking nuances through accents and silences. Sorrell’s contact with her players was so intimate, they seemed to breathe as one.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

“When Jeannette Sorrell plays Handel, the audience is the winner. If Handel’s Messiah transcends the usual categories to be a fixture of our general culture, so Jeannette Sorrell transcends mere historicism in her performances of this music. Her triumph Saturday night had fresh impulses and took risks.”
–PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE

Monteverdi Vespers & L’Orfeo

“Exultant… instrumental colours blaze brilliantly.”
–THE SUNDAY TIMES, London (CD review – Monteverdi Vespers)

“A stunning achievement…. Wins out handily over William Christie’s versions and other recent issues.”
–FANFARE (CD review – Monteverdi Vespers)

“The robust and wonderfully vivacious account… was a voluptuous and hugely gripping approach to Monteverdi’s masterpiece [the Vespers of 1610].  A vast and inviting feast, ranging from exuberant choral explosions to intimate expressions of the amorous.  Sorrell and her forces delivered it with superb energy and clarity to put the cap on a wholly exhilarating evening.”
–SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 2014

“Sorrell and her fine young choir lavish attention on every phrase and inflexion. The exhilaration and sense of discovery is utterly infectious….An unanticipated delight.”
–INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW, UK (CD review – Monteverdi Vespers)

“A resplendent account, brilliantly motivated by Sorrell and performed with vibrant attention to dramatic detail. In short, a thriller from first note to last.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER (CD review – Monteverdi Vespers)

“Sorrell has developed one of the most enterprising and plucky early-music ensembles in the nation today.”
–AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, (CD review – Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo)

“Sorrell’s brilliance was stamped on every aspect of the performance… She must be one of the best conductors around in this repertoire.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER (Monteverdi Vespers)

“Monteverdi’s Orfeo was a triumph for Jeannette Sorrell, showing us new dimensions of her genius.”
–PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 1996

Other Reviews

“Other masters of the [baroque] style have been paying visits, but none has summoned up as much energy, enthusiasm and excitement from the orchestra as Sorrell.”
–TWIN CITIES PIONEER PRESS (debut with St. Paul Chamber Orchestra), 2017

“Superlative music-making… agile grace and unforced lyrical energy. Sorrell had put together a ingenious programme which showed off the ensembles’s range of colour, mood and style. This group [Apollo’s Fire] combines European stylishness with “can-do” American entrepreneurism. Sorrel arranged [Vivaldi’s triosonata “La Folia” for the full band, and the results were thrilling. You could imagine it was conceived that way.”
–THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, London (“5 Best Classical Concerts of 2014”)

“Led by a brilliant harpsichordist, Jeannette Sorrell, the ensemble exudes stylish energy – a blend of scholarship and visceral intensity.”
–GRAMOPHONE Magazine

“Under the direction of Jeannette Sorrell, Apollo’s Fire has put Cleveland firmly on the period-instrument map.”
–THE NEW YORKER, 2015

“Building sound, almost instrument by instrument, Sorrell exposed to us clearly the workings of this lovely piece. I can’t imagine a more superbly judged and also fresh experience of the composer. The slow second movement – unshowy but heavenly – almost brought tears to the eyes with its sigh and swell.”
–THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, London (BBC Proms debut, 2015)

“Sorrell conducted from the harpsichord with great precision, sensitivity and femininity. The concert was impeccable and the Royal Theatre was full to overflowing. It was one of those evenings that leaves you wanting more.”
–EL PAÍS (the leading national newspaper of Spain), Madrid, 2011

“…Under the guidance of Jeannette Sorrell, a conductor/harpsichordist who manages to be everywhere, plays the harpsichord, and who personally elicits the audience’s enthusiasm herself… clock-like precision, birdlike lightness, and intoxicating alacrity.”
–LE RÉPUBLICAIN LORRAIN, Metz, France, 2011

“An engaging conductor… what’s not to love? Sorrell guided the players with a light but definitive touch, a thoroughly involved but efficient presence. The musicians seemed to welcome this immersion in a vintage genre with Sorrell, a well-regarded specialist, unleashing a rich, full sound belying their small number.”
–THE GRAND RAPIDS PRESS, 2011 (review of Grand Rapids Symphony)

“Music Director Jeannette Sorrell consistently devises interesting programs, gathers the finest early-music artists and molds performances that go beyond the narrow implications of ‘authenticity.’”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

“Sorrell, her Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, vocal soloists and choruses took wing throughout the performance. Apollo’s Singers, the supremely refined chorus, were vivid and cohesive. Whether conducting or playing harpsichord, Sorrell held the work together with consummate intensity. Her phrasing was flexible and her concern for expressive meaning vibrantly apparent.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, 2007 (Praetorius Christmas Vespers, edited & compiled by Sorrell)

“Baroque specialist Jeannette Sorrell churns Grétry’s simple tunes into storms at sea, thunder and lightning, graceful dances and echoes of the exotic. One of the many pleasures of the evening is catching a glimpse of Ms. Sorrell physically flowing with the music.”
–RIVERFRONT TIMES, St. Louis, MO (review of St Louis Opera Theatre with the St Louis Symphony), 2005

“Chief among the stars was conductor Jeannette Sorrell. Sorrell conducts like she’s willing something magical to happen. The festival orchestra played with a burnished string sound and wind playing that was jewel-like in clarity.”
–WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL (review of Magnolia Baroque Festival), 2004

When Sorrell arrives on stage, she grabs the attention of her musicians, who respond with missionary enthusiasm, and her listeners…..The ensemble’s technical standards have reached a level that only a few other Baroque orchestras can match. It is no exaggeration to say that Sorrell and her inspired band provide the most consistently compelling artistic experiences in Cleveland’s classical music scene.
—THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, 2003

“Sorrell and her players, as well as her sensational chorus, make contact with music on both visceral and intellectual levels, and the results are intoxicating”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, 2003

“Sorrell, who looks like a pre-Raphaelite figure with her tousled mane of coppery hair, might have been a dancer in a previous life—when she conducts, her arms describe musical phrases with gracefully sculpted gestures. She is, in fact, one heck of a harpsichordist and a lively conductor.
–THE BOSTON GLOBE, 2001 (review of the Handel & Haydn Society)

“Much of the credit for Saturday’s delectability must go the music director Jeannette Sorrell and her electrically charged players. Rhythms snap to attention as set forth by these musicians. Tension is never allowed to flag, though flexibility of line is an Apollo’s Fire requisite. Then there’s the matter of spirit, which is never in short supply.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER


SEPHARDIC JOURNEY – Wanderings of the Spanish Jews
(AVIE 2016)
Debuted at #2 on the BILLBOARD World Music chart and #5 on the BILLBOARD Classical, Feb. 2016

“Revelatory… convivially theatrical… The soloists and instrumentalists are first-class, and Sorrell’s arrangements are full of zip and colour.”
–BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE

“Recommendable right off the bat… Sorrell combines music of several centuries in a convincing thematic way that has rarely been matched, whether dealing with Jewish music or some other tradition. This is something of a heartland American counterpart to the thematic albums of Jordi Savall, and it works remarkably well.”
–ALLMUSIC.COM

“Another impressive disc from Apollo’s Fire… energy, colour, atmosphere and, indeed, fire. Impressively wrought, full of wonderful Middle Eastern inflections… beautifully shaped and full of life… Vividly recorded, with excellent booklet notes by Jeannette Sorrell.”
–THE CLASSICAL REVIEWER (UK)

CHRISTMAS VESPERS – Music of Michael Praetorius
edited, compiled & conducted by Jeannette Sorrell
(AVIE 2015, previously Koch 2006)

“Delectable… made to herald the joy of the Christmas season… and succeeds admirably. Sheer delight.”
–THE NEW YORK TIMES, 2015

“Charged with all Apollo’s Fire’s signature energy… a spark that grows into a blaze as the programme progresses: two soprano soloists battle with ferocious elegance in the Gloria, a syncopated chorus leads us in a wild dance of rejoicing in Puer natus in Bethlehem, while Sorrell’s instrumentalists shine in the orchestral dances from Terpsichore.  What Apollo’s Fire do so uniquely well here is capture the homespun spirit of music intended to unite a congregation.  A disc that leads with its personality – generous and all-embracing…”
–GRAMOPHONE

“Homeliness and heart, and plenty of sparkle and Monteverdian blaze, too. Praetorius, a giant of Protestant church music, would surely have approved.”
–THE IRISH TIMES, Dublin, Dec. 2015

“Jeannette Sorrell, one of the world’s finest baroque specialists, brings a superb group of singers and instrumentalists together in a Lutheran Advent service and Christmas Day vespers by Michael Praetorius, one of the two greatest Lutheran composers. (The other one was named Bach.)”
–ST. LOUIS DISPATCH, Dec. 2015

“Lovely and poignant, the artistry is first-rate…. Glorious space and shimmering acoustics.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

THE POWER OF LOVE – Arias from Handel Operas
with Amanda Forsythe
(AVIE 2015)
Debuted at #3 on the BILLBOARD Classical Chart, November 2015

“Simply stupendous… gusto, clarity, and variety… A vocal tour-de-force on every level. Apollo’s Fire and its director, Jeannette Sorrell, are with her every step of the way.”
–BOSTON ARTS FUSE, Top Classical Recordings of 2015

“Packs an overwhelming emotional punch. Apollo’s Fire, under the able baton of Jeannette Sorrell, provide exquisitely-judged orchestral support.
–EARLY MUSIC REVIEW (UK), Nov. 2015

“Sorrell leads the period instruments of Apollo’s Fire… smoothly and expertly.”
–CLASSICS TODAY, Nov. 2015

SUGARLOAF MOUNTAIN – An Appalachian Gathering
(AVIE 2015)
Debuted at #5 on the BILLBOARD Classical crossover chart and #9 on the BILLBOARD Classical chart overall, June 2015

“Sorrell and a hand-picked band of eight musicians… tap into America’s hardscrabble Southern roots with grace and power… with music that asks questions about life and death, and bores into the American national psyche at visceral and emotional levels.  Beautiful and eloquent… infectious energy.  Every song signifies a personal response…  Sorrell’s magical, rapt harpsichord riff on “I wonder as I wander” reveals how profoundly spontaneous this folk music is at its core.”
–GRAMOPHONE Magazine (UK)

“Wonderfully fresh…  exuding utter authenticity, contagious kinetic energy, and a totally free-wheeling spirit to the nth degree while shedding not a whit of their phenomenal technical polish.  A must-have item; highest recommendation.”
–FANFARE Record Magazine

SACRUM MYSTERIUM – A Celtic Christmas Vespers
(AVIE 2012)
Debuted at #11 on the BILLBOARD Classical Chart, Dec. 2012

“A mixture of passion and reverence… Sorrell and Bergeron deploy their forces with a real ear for drama, assisted in no small part by the brilliant soprano Meredith Hall. Glows with an almost profane energy… If there’s one Christmas CD I’d be asking Santa for, this would be it.”
–INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW (UK)

“Lovingly prepared… the Christmas myth is brought to vivid life; vernacular reels and lullabies stand alongside carols and the Mass proper… with intimate, you-were-there sonics.”
–LISTEN MAGAZINE

“Magical… an exquisite program, adroitly mixing joy, solemnity and the sacred. The performances are all that one could wish for.”
–AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE

“Beautifully executed.  The dances are ecstatic, the solo voices are engaging, and the vocal ensemble is wonderfully blended.  The vitality and energy are palpable, and the musicianship is superb.  Watching the group in action on the extra DVD is a special treat.  This DVD would be a wonderful addition to the early music classroom.  Overall, this is a great disc… that will definitely receive a lot of play during the holiday season.”
–EARLY MUSIC AMERICA MAGAZINE

“Cheerful and improvisationally spirited… astonishingly true to Celtic character and energy.”
–GRAMOPHONE

“Meredith Hall is luminous-voiced in this Renaissance-centred, pan-Celtic musical party… Shaped around an evening celebration of light, borrowing material from a Medieval Glaswegian vespers service… it is really an excuse to make merry in music — something even an atheist can appreciate.”
–THE TORONTO STAR

HANDEL – Dixit Dominus, Ode for Queen Anne, Zadok the Priest
(AVIE 2012)

“Apollo’s Singers tackle the Dixit Dominus with aplomb. There’s a rich, malty flavour to the ensemble’s strings throughout, while trumpeter Barry Bauguess provides a showstopping moment.”
–THE INDEPENDENT, London

“Divinely striking… perfect pitch and innocent harmony. Every voice enters with razor precision… grand testimony of Apollo’s Fire’s excellence in delivery, blend and interpretation.”
–CONCERTO NET.com

COME TO THE RIVER – An Early American Gathering
(AVIE 2011)
Top 10 Bestseller, BILLBOARD Classical Chart, June/July 2011

“Wonderfully exuberant…simply delightful. Here we have music that offers life, and does so abundantly.”
–FANFARE

“A vibrant American sampler… one of the most joyous releases, intoxicated by the sheer joy of being alive. Brilliant engineering clinches the deal.”
–AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE

“A rich folk culture of Anglo-American music was developing in New England and the South – as the excellent Cleveland group Apollo’s Fire makes delightfully clear. The disc is evidence of the maturation of ‘crossover’.”
–THE NEW YORKER

“First-rate – a sheen of artistry . . . and the ensemble lets its hair down in a really amazing way.”
–CLEVELAND CLASSICAL.com

VIVALDI & FRIENDS – La Folia and Other Concertos
(AVIE 2011)

“Under the inspired direction of Sorrell, Apollo’s Fire has become one of the pre-eminent period-instrument ensembles, causing one to hear familiar baroque material anew…. The showstopper is the vivid “La Folia,” building to dizzying whirls…”
–THE INDEPENDENT, LONDON

“An outstanding collection, performed by a terrific early instrument orchestra.”
–AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE

“Vivid, earthy and ardent… Be prepared to sit straight up. Baroque chestnuts sound utterly new in the crisp, vital performances that Sorrell shapes.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

MONTEVERDI VESPERS OF 1610
(AVIE 2010, previously ECLECTRA 1999)
Top 10 Bestseller, BILLBOARD Classical Chart, Oct. 2010

“Exultant… instrumental colours blaze brilliantly.”
–THE SUNDAY TIMES, London

“A stunning achievement…. Wins out handily over William Christie’s versions and other recent issues.”
–FANFARE

“Sorrell and her fine young choir lavish attention on every phrase and inflexion. The exhilaration and sense of discovery is utterly infectious…an unanticipated delight.”
INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW

“A resplendent account, brilliantly motivated by Sorrell and performed with vibrant attention to dramatic detail. In short, a thriller from first note to last.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

BACH’S BRANDENBURG CONCERTOS and Harpsichord Concertos in D minor & F minor
(AVIE 2010, previously ECLECTRA 2000)
Top 10 Bestseller, BILLBOARD Classical Chart, May 2012

“A swaggering version… The most is made of the instrumental colours Bach so exhilaratingly put on show. The keyboard part in the 5th Brandenburg is brilliantly played by Sorrell.”
–THE SUNDAY TIMES, LONDON

“One word – wow! Where has this recording been? Nothing short of spectacular.”
–AUDIOPHILE AUDITION

“Ineffably cheerful… Musicians playing zestfully and with obvious understanding of Bach’s virtuoso works. Appealing, intelligent and well played.”
FANFARE

“Sorrell delivers a brilliant take-no-captives rendition of the big solo in No. 5. In all, these performances are lively and unfailingly attractive—the best in what historical performance can be…. an impressive treasure.”
–AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE

“Stunning. Each [concerto] is a perfectly polished little gem. A fabulous harpsichord cadenza played with gusto by Sorrell. Bubbles like fine champagne…”
–EARLY MUSIC AMERICA MAGAZINE

MOZART – Symphony No. 40 & Ballet Music
(AVIE 2010)

“The Midwest’s best kept musical secret is finally reaching British ears. Sorrell presents an elegantly proportioned Symphony no. 40… vividly characterized.”
–THE INDEPENDENT, London

“Bright, winsome, terrifying and brilliant by turns, with the Apollo’s Fire strings demonstrating that they can so dazzle.”
–SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE

HANDEL’S MESSIAH – 2CD+DVD
(AVIE 2010)

“The players take their namesake ‘fire’ to heart.”
–THE NEW YORK TIMES

“First rate… a winning, distinctive new version.”
–ST. LOUIS DISPATCH

“Over the years, Jeannette Sorrell has rethought and refined her vision of the piece to the point where Handel is both the most subtle and explosive of composers. Sorrell leads the score as if she were sharing artistic secrets or basking in the passionate content that flows from the page. Every phrase is shaped with a keen blend of fidelity and imagination. The musicians… show how intimacy brings the drama into tight, blazing focus…. This is a ‘Messiah’ that tells its story with sometimes fierce power. Yet Sorrell also is a conductor who adores nuance…. Choral clarity of this sort is almost unheard of today.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

“A lively and buoyant presentation… fine attention to dramatic and poignant moments in the narrative. A pleasure to hear from Overture to Amen. The chorus does most of the heavy lifting in this work, and Apollo’s Singers make it seem effortless. Singing with… power and brilliance. Sorrell draws brilliance and grandeur from her musicians, and makes the entire oratorio sound healthy and natural.”
–CLEVELAND CLASSICAL.com

TELEMANN – Don Quixote and Other Suites & Concertos
(AVIE 2015, previously KOCH International 2005)

“A hugely entertaining and characterful disc… with a brilliant portrayal of episodes from Don Quixote. The playing under Jeannette Sorrell is unfailingly bright-eyed, alert, and quite brilliantly executed with flair and panache.”
–FANFARE

“Enormous rhythmic zest and… poetic and elegant material.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

“From the very opening, I was enthralled – there is a sort of communal ease about the band, a sense of humour and genuine enjoyment.”
–EARLY MUSIC REVIEW (UK)

MOZART – Haffner & Jupiter Symphonies
(KOCH International 2004)

“I am in little doubt that Sorrell is an outstanding Mozartian… Her Mozart achieves a near-perfect combination of real dramatic cogency and the ability to sing…. The dark, dramatic fervor of Sorrell’s performance [of the Don Giovanni Overture] receives really first-rate playing by Apollo’s Fire.”
–FANFARE

“Sorrell captures the grandeur and intimacy in the masterpieces, finding new ways to phrase and clarify. Intriguing nuances, a crystalline sense of texture and balance… Boldness and sensitivity bring the “Haffner” to majestic life and invest the “Don Giovanni” with a blend of menace and charisma many conductors miss.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

SCARBOROUGH FAYRE – Tunes from the British Isles & the New World
(KOCH 2004)

“Dazzling fiddle playing. Great spirit and brio.”
–FANFARE

“One of its most buoyant releases yet. Obscure items leap from the page or caress the ears lyrically in these exceptional renditions.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

NOELS & CAROLS from the Olde World
(KOCH 2004, previously ECLECTRA 1999)

“Stunning examples of early music performance.”
–EARLY MUSIC AMERICA MAGAZINE

“The excellent period-instrument ensemble… performs with such style and commitment that you’ll feel close to even the most obscure music on first hearing. Warm and cozy.”
–THE BALTIMORE SUN

“Refreshing exuberance and thorough-going finesse… gorgeous recorded sound.”
–THE DETROIT NEWS

“Performed magically by Apollo’s Fire… uniformly excellent and above all supremely musical. The attention paid to detail renders each carol a jewel-like quality.”
–AUDIOPHILE AUDITION

MOZART – Requiem and Exsultate Jubilate
(KOCH 2006)

“Thoroughly enjoyable… a glorious sound.”
–EARLY MUSIC REVIEW (UK)

MOZART – Piano Concertos no. 20 and 23
with John Gibbons, fortepiano
(KOCH 2005)

“A most appealing performance, characterized on Gibbon’s part by the limpid fluidity of his fingerwork, and on that of Sorrell by the loving phrasing she draws from her orchestra.”
–FANFARE

MONTEVERDI L’Orfeo
(ECLECTRA 2001)

“A high achievement…. Bears comparison with the finest performances of the work. Much of the credit belongs to Sorrell’s constantly alert direction. Hardly a moment goes by when an insight is not being conveyed. Highly recommended.”
–FANFARE

“Sorrell has developed one of the most enterprising and plucky early-music ensembles in the nation today.”
–AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE

“Apollo’s Fire is a stellar advocate of Monteverdi and baroque music. Sorrell conducts a performance of remarkable elegance and dramatic thrust, and the instrumental playing is crisp, noble and beautifully balanced.”
–THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

“The U.S.A.’s hottest baroque band.” –CLASSICAL MUSIC MAGAZINE (UK)

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