Last summer’s “Mediterranean Roots” program raised the rafters, and now it returns in a fresh, new version. Soulful singers Amanda Powell and Brian Kay celebrate the common ties of Spanish, Italian, Greek, and Arabic cultures, along with a colorful ensemble of plucked instruments, recorder, strings, hammered dulcimer, and exotic percussion. The Lautenwerck – a beautiful lute-like keyboard instrument – makes its debut on the AF stage at the hands of Jeannette Sorrell.
Tarantella at Mergellina, c.1750 (oil on canvas), Falciatore, Filippo (1718-68) / Detroit Institute of Arts, USA / Founders Society Purchase, Acquisitions Fund / Bridgeman Images
has been praised for her “abundant vocal technique and infectious spirit” (ClevelandClassical.com) and enjoys a diverse career in the realms of classical, folk, and jazz. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Shenandoah Conservatory and a certificate in jazz improvisation from the Jazz in July Institute (University of Massachusetts). Ms. Powell’s solo performances with Apollo’s Fire in recent seasons have included Handel’s Messiah (soprano soloist), Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Second Lady), Praetorius Christmas Vespers (soprano soloist), and Liza Jane in the 2013 national tour of the acclaimed Come to the River program. Her work as an internationally recognized leader in the field of sacred world music has taken her to concert halls in Italy, Spain, France, Mongolia and China. Her debut solo album, entitled Beyond Boundaries, was released in 2015 and quickly sold out on Amazon. The album explores folk and jazz traditions of cultures around the world. Amanda spent her childhood summers riding through the Blue Ridge Mountains in the back of her grandpa’s pickup truck and later lived in the Shenandoah Valley, within sight of Sugarloaf Mountain.
plucked instruments & vocals
is a modern-day troubadour. He holds a Master’s degree in music from Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied lute and theorbo. He specializes in historical plucked instruments and ancient songs of various world traditions. He is a songwriter and poet, and also paints and plays a variety of percussion and wind instruments. Cleveland Classical.com called him “far-ranging,” “brilliant,” and “exciting,” and Early Music America called his work “phenomenal.” His newest album, Three Ravens, was released in January 2015.
lautenwerck & co-director
Award-winning harpsichordist and conductor Jeannette Sorrell 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… a seductive vision of musical authenticity.” Sorrell made her debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony in 2013 as conductor and soloist in the complete Brandenburg Concertos. With standing ovations every night, the event was hailed as “an especially joyous occasion” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). Other guest conducting engagements include the Seattle Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the New World Symphony (Miami), Utah Symphony, Handel & Haydn Society (Boston), the Opera Theatre of St. Louis with the St. Louis Symphony, Omaha Symphony, and the Houston Early Music Festival where she filled in for British conductor Richard Egarr on five days’ notice, leading the complete Brandenburg Concertos and playing the harpsichord solo in Brandenburg No. 5.
Sorrell and Apollo’s Fire record for the British label AVIE RECORDS, and have released 26 commercial CDs, of which seven have been Top 10 bestsellers on the Billboard Classical chart. Her recordings include the complete Brandenburg Concerti and harpsichord concerti (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 Magazine. Billboard bestsellers include the Brandenburgs, the Monteverdi Vespers, and Sorrell’s 4 crossover/folk programs: Come to the River – An Early American Gathering; Sacrum Mysterium – A Celtic Christmas Vespers; Sugarloaf Mountain – An Appalachian Gathering; and Sephardic Journey – Wanderings of the Spanish Jews.
Sorrell has attracted national attention and awards for creative programming. She is a two-time recipient of the prestigious “American Masterpieces” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for the research and production of early American music. Her awards include an honorary doctorate from Case Western Reserve University, the Bodky Award from the Cambridge Society of Early Music and the Noah Greenberg Award from the American Musicological Society, given for her work in reconstructing early American repertoire. As a teenager, Ms. Sorrell lived in the rural Shenandoah Valley, where she grew to love Appalachian music and Southern harmony.