Exhilarating Challenges: Beethoven on Period Instruments
April 30, 2017

Sunday, April 30, 12:30pm
Nighttown Restaurant
12383 Cedar Rd, Cleveland, OH 44106

Don Rosenberg, moderator
Jeannette Sorrell, Thomas Forrest Kelly, and AF principal players.

$35 cover charge includes a glass of champagne.

What’s it like to play the Fifth Symphony on the instruments that Beethoven actually intended?  No violin chinrests, no cello end-pins, gut strings that bring beauty and transparency, colorful woodwinds with very few keys… and those crazy, fast metronome markings that Beethoven marked in his scores….  Nationally respected music critic Don Rosenberg, now editor of Early Music America Magazine, moderates this lively discussion with Jeannette Sorrell, visiting scholar Thomas Forrest Kelly, and AF principal players.  Enjoy brunch on your own tab, and a complimentary glass of champagne!

    visiting scholar




SCHUBERTIADE (Chamber Concert)

Sunday, April 30, 2017, 12:30PM

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


Editor of EMAg, The Magazine of Early Music America

Don became editor of EMAg in July 2014 following a nearly 36-year career in daily journalism as a music critic and arts reporter. He was on the staff at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland for 21 years and previously served as music critic of The Pittsburgh Press and the Akron Beacon Journal. Don has written for Gramophone, Symphony magazine, Opera (London), Opera News, Early Music America magazine, and many other publications. He is the author of The Cleveland Orchestra Story: “Second to None” and former four-term president of the Music Critics Association of North America. Don majored in French horn at the Mannes College of Music and the Yale School of Music. He was a participant in the Aspen and Marlboro music festivals, where he performed under such conductors as Herbert Blomstedt, John Nelson, Pablo Casals, and Leon Kirchner. While at Yale, he mustered the courage to play Bach’s Brandenburg concertos nos. 1 and 2 on the same program. When not editing EMAg in Shaker Heights, Ohio, he teaches music criticism at the Oberlin Conservatory and classes for Case Western Reserve University’s Laura & Alvin Siegal Lifelong Learning Program.


“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.”

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

Hailed as “one of the world’s finest Baroque specialists” (ST. LOUIS DISPATCH), Sorrell 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 Robert Spano, Roger Norrington and Leonard Bernstein, 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 founded Apollo’s Fire in 1992. Since then, she and the ensemble have built one of the largest audiences of any baroque orchestra in North America. She has led AF in sold-out concerts at 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.

As a guest conductor, Sorrell has worked with many of the leading American symphony orchestras and is represented by Columbia Artists Management (CAMI). In December she will make her Kennedy Center debut conducting the National Symphony in performances of Handel’s Messiah. 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). The same occurred with her recent debut with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, where the TWIN CITIES PIONEER PRESS wrote, “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.” She has also appeared as conductor or conductor/soloist with the New World Symphony (Miami), the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony, Utah Symphony, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis with the St. Louis Symphony, Handel & Haydn Society (Boston), and has appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra as guest keyboard artist. In 2014 Ms. Sorrell filled in for British conductor Richard Egarr on 5 days’ notice, leading the complete Brandenburg Concertos and playing the harpsichord solo in Brandenburg no. 5, for the closing concert of the Houston Early Music Festival. This summer she returns to Utah Symphony and makes her debut with Grand Teton Festival.

Sorrell and Apollo’s Fire have released 25 commercial CDs, of which seven have been bestsellers on the Billboard classical chart. Her recordings include the complete Brandenburg Concerti and harpsichord concerti of Bach (with Sorrell as harpsichord soloist and director), which was 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 Handel’s Messiah, the Monteverdi Vespers and four creative crossover projects: Come to the River – An Early American Gathering (Billboard Classical #9, 2011); Sacrum Mysterium – A Celtic Christmas Vespers (Billboard Classical #11, 2012); Sugarloaf Mountain – An Appalachian Gathering (Billboard Classical #5, 2015); and Sephardic Journey – Wanderings of the Spanish Jews (Billboard World Music Chart #2 and Billboard Classical #5, Feb. 2016).

Sorrell has attracted national attention and awards for creative programming.  She holds an Artist Diploma from Oberlin Conservatory, and honorary doctorate from Case Western University, two special awards from the National Endowment for the Arts for her work on early American music, and an award from the American Musicological Society, and two different awards from the Cleveland Arts Prize. Passionate about guiding the next generation of performers, Ms. Sorrell has led many baroque projects for students at Oberlin Conservatory and is a frequent guest coach at the Cleveland Institute of Music. She is the architect of AF’s highly successful Young Artist Apprentice Program, which has produced the majority of the leading young baroque professionals in the country today.


visiting scholar

Thomas Forrest Kelly is Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music at Harvard University. Before coming to Harvard he taught at Oberlin Conservatory (where he served as mentor to Jeannette Sorrell, as well as Acting Dean of the Conservatory). Prior to that he taught at Wellesley College and the Five Colleges in Massachusetts.

He is the author of the highly popular book First Nights: Five Performance Premieres (Yale University Press, translated into Korean and Chinese). This lively book takes readers back to the first performances of five famous musical compositions: Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo in 1607, Handel’s Messiah in 1742, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in 1824, Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique in 1830, and Stravinsky’s Sacre du printemps in 1913.

His other books include First Nights at the Opera (Yale, 2006); Capturing Music (Norton, 2015); and Early Music: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, translated into German and Hungarian). His book The Beneventan Chant (Cambridge) was awarded the Otto Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society for the most distinguished work of musicological scholarship of 1989.

He is a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres of the French Republic and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Academy in Rome. He received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005. He is an honorary citizen of the city of Benevento (Italy).

Professor Kelly served as President of the Board of Apollo’s Fire during 1993-1995 and currently serves as one of AF’s national Board members.

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