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A Night at Bach’s Coffeehouse

ON TOUR: February/March 2017 & March 2018

APOLLO’S FIRE | The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra
Jeannette Sorrell, director/harpsichord

As performed in sold-out concerts at Tanglewood and the BBC Proms (2015), “A Night at Bach’s Coffeehouse” presents Apollo’s Fire and director/harpsichordist Jeannette Sorrell in music of J.S. Bach and his most admired colleagues. Inspired by the lively coffeehouse concerts led by Bach in 18th-century Leipzig – fiery strings, colorful recorders and a dizzying harpsichord solo… an evening of rampant virtuosity!

This tour includes Carnegie Hall. Program: Brandenburgs no. 4 & 5, Telemann’s Don Quixote Suite, Handel’s Terpsichore Chaconne, and Sorrell’s acclaimed arrangement of Vivaldi’s La Folia (“Madness”) which the group performs from memory.

Presenters may also choose the alternate program (all Bach), or a combination of the two programs.

  • JEANNETTE SORRELL
    JEANNETTE SORRELL
    conductor & harpsichordist

“Apollo’s Fire has forged a vibrant, life-affirming approach to the re-making of early music… European ears have begun to appreciate the blend of intellect and artistry concocted by harpsichordist Sorrell and her colleagues. Their seductive vision of musical authenticity is guided by a shared commitment to honest emotional expression, rooted in period style yet never its slave.”
BBC Music Magazine

“Visually charged, minutely stage-managed musical theatrics from Jeannette Sorrell and her irrepressible team of musicians… Utterly sensational, every phrase a Baroque curlicue dipped in gold and then embellished still further. Charismatic and boundlessly energetic… this is Baroque music in its unbuttoned state.”
TheArtsDesk.com, London

“Under the inspired direction of Jeannette Sorrell, Apollo’s Fire has become one of the pre-eminent period-instrument ensembles, causing one to hear familiar baroque material anew.”
The Independent, London

“Apollo’s Fire is one of the brightest lights of period-instrument playing in the United States… arguably the most distinctive in sound and memorable in style. Its trademark qualities: expressive subtlety, exuberance and passion.”
Classical Music Magazine, London

“This swaggering version… makes the most of the variety of instrumental colour Bach so exhilaratingly put on show. Two harpsichord concertos BWV 1052 and 1056 [are] both brilliantly played, as is the keyboard part in the Fifth Brandenburg, by Sorrell.”
The Sunday Times, London (reviews of Bach Concertos CD)

“These excellent young musicians take a highly gestural approach to phrasing and bring across their music with an exuberant musicality, like wind through a forest. Easily one of the most enjoyable concerts of the season.”
The Boston Globe

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

JEANNETTE SORRELL
conductor & harpsichordist

“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 a leading creative voice among 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… 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. Her debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony in 2013 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 appeared as conductor or conductor/soloist with the New World Symphony (Miami), the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis with the St. Louis Symphony, Handel & Haydn Society (Boston), the Omaha Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, 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. In 2015 she returned to the Pittsburgh Symphony as conductor/soloist.

Sorrell and Apollo’s Fire have released 24 commercial CDs, of which six 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; Sacrum Mysterium – A Celtic Christmas Vespers; Sugarloaf Mountain – An Appalachian Gathering, and most recently, Sephardic Journey – Wanderings of the Spanish Jews.

Sorrell has attracted national attention and awards for creative programming. She holds an 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. Passionate about guiding the next generation of performers, Ms. Sorrell has led many baroque projects for students at Oberlin Conservatory.

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