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Early Music Missouri presents “The Evolving Cello: Sonatas & Sinfonia by Italian Virtuosi”
May 24 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm MDT$20
Early Music Missouri brings a concert of Italian Baroque music to San Miguel Chapel. “The Evolving Cello: Sonatas & Sinfonias by Italian Virtuosi” features music by the first generation of cello virtuosi, offering an entertaining and enlightening look at some of the musicians who determined the future of the cello.
The performance will feature Baroque cellist Stephanie Hunt supported by lutenist Jeffrey Noonan on theorbo. Playing reproductions of historical instruments, the duo offers a fascinating program to listeners, combining the sound of historical instruments with the historical acoustic of San Miguel Chapel. Featured composers include some of the most accomplished cellists of the Baroque era. In their lifetimes, these performers toured across Europe, acclaimed as international superstars, yet few modern listeners know their names or music.
The concert presents several works by Giovanni Bononcini, an international figure recognized for his cello playing and his operas. In fact, when he resided in London, Bononcini’s operas were considered the equal of Handel’s. The works of Giuseppe Dall’Abaco and Antonio Vandini survive principally in manuscripts and only recently have been performed for modern listeners. Their demanding music demonstrates the experimental nature of their approach to this new instrument. Perhaps the only composer on the program known to modern audiences, Benedetto Marcello primarily composed vocal music, but his six cello sonatas remain the music most popular with modern players and listeners.
Stephanie and Jeff have performed together for many years in a number of Early Music ensembles based in the Midwest. These include La petite brise, a trio featuring repertoire for Baroque flute and Passione ed Harmonie, a Baroque string ensemble. They premiered this cello program in early 2022 in St. Louis on the Early Music Missouri concert series and have since performed it in various venues, including concerts in Cincinnati and Louisville. This concert is the duo’s first appearance in Santa Fe.
With the development of new strings and a smaller body, the late 17th-century cello became essentially a new instrument. Following the model of virtuosic violinists, a generation of cellists born in the last third of the century created a repertoire that expanded the instrument’s range, technique and voice. This program shines a light on these overlooked composers and confirms the primacy of Italian cello virtuosi in this era. Works on the program include two sinfonia by Giovanni Bononcini as well as one sonata each by the little-known Dall’Abaco and Vandini. In addition, the program also features a favorite of Suzuki teachers and students, Marcello’s Sonata II in E Minor.
San Miguel Chapel is the centerpiece of El Barrio de Analco National Register Historic District in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Constructed in the early 17th Century, San Miguel Chapel has seen use by both Spanish and Indigenous communities since. While the community still uses San Miguel for religious services, it has become an important performance venue in Santa Fe, hosting a wide range of concerts and recitals. The intimate space and gorgeous acoustic is ideal for Early Music performance.
The concert is open to the public. Admission is $20 at the door. Free parking is at the Santa Fe Visitors Center and the venue is handicapped accessible.
Stephanie Hunt (Baroque cello) is an active and versatile musician who performs across the Midwest on both modern and Baroque cellos. Her current activities include regular performances with Chamber Project St. Louis and the Persied String Quartet. Stephanie has participated in numerous international music festivals, including the Nederlandse Orkest-en Ensemble-Academie (Netherlands), Royaumont Formations Professionnelles (France), the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme (England), and two summers as a Tanglewood Music Center Fellow. Her studies on modern cello led to a B.Mus. summa cum laude from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and a M.Mus. from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Following her American studies, Stephanie moved to Europe, earning both a B.Mus. Honours and M.Mus. in Baroque cello from the Utrecht Conservatory in the Netherlands. Her teachers include Viola de Hoog, Norman Fischer, Hans Jørgen Jensen, Ross Harbaugh, and Monique Bartels. Following five years of study and performing in the Netherlands, Stephanie returned to the United States, settling in the St. Louis area. In addition to her performing, she serves on the full-time faculty of the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Suzuki program, teaches at Lindenwood University and maintains a private studio in St. Louis.
Founder and Director of Early Music Missouri, Jeffrey Noonan (theorbo) has played early plucked instruments across the Midwest for over forty years. Based in St. Louis, he has performed regionally with various ensembles including Shakespear’s Bande, Early Music St. Louis, Bourbon Baroque (Louisville), Madison Early Music Festival (Wisconsin), Ars Antigua (Chicago), and Musik Ekklesia (Indianapolis.) In recent seasons, Jeff has appeared regularly with Baroque violinist Samuel Breene as the duo Musicke’s Cordes. In addition, Jeff directed Such Sweete Melodie, a quintet specializing in seventeenth-century vocal repertoire and is a founding member of La petite brise, a trio featuring music for the Baroque flute. As accompanist and continuo player, Jeff performs a varied repertoire ranging from sixteenth-century chanson with solo voice to Handel’s Messiah with the St. Louis Symphony. A scholar of the early guitar, Jeff has produced two books and articles for Grove on the subject as well as an edition of eighteenth-century violin sonatas by Giovanni Bononcini. Jeff has received funding and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Newberry Library. In 2016, the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission awarded him an Artist Fellowship in recognition of his work as a performer, teacher and scholar.
Jeff holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame (A.B.), the Hartt School of Music (B.Mus.) and Washington University in St. Louis (M.Mus., Ph.D.) He taught as adjunct faculty at St. Mary’s College, Indiana/Purdue Universities in Fort Wayne, Andrews University and Washington University in St. Louis before joining the fulltime music faculty at Southeast Missouri State University. Jeff taught upper-level music literature and history courses and directed the classical guitar program at Southeast, retiring as a Professor of Music in 2015.
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