Type of Organization
Piffaro has delighted audiences throughout the United States, Europe, Canada and South America since its inception in 1980. Under the direction of Joan Kimball and Robert Wiemken, Piffaro brings to its audiences historically- informed performances of music from the late Medieval, Renaissance and early Baroque periods, in the manner of the civic, court and chapel wind bands which existed roughly between the years 1450-1650.
Piffaro’s members are active in the research and making of historically based instruments and reeds, and its collection of professional-quality instruments – all careful reconstructions of period instruments – includes over forty shawms, dulcians, sackbuts, recorders, krumhorns, bagpipes, lutes, guitars, harps, and a variety of percussion.
Piffaro inaugurated its yearly Philadelphia concert series in 1985 and made its European debut at Tage Alter Musik in Regensburg in 1993 and has since appeared in Austria, France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, The Czech Republic, Spain, England, the Netherlands, Colombia, and Bolivia. In the U.S., Piffaro has performed at early music festivals in Boston, Berkeley, Indianapolis, and Madison (for which Wiemken is Artistic Advisor), and on seasons presented by Music Before 1800 in NYC, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Seattle Early Music Guild, the San Francisco Early Music Society, Milwaukee’s Early Music Now, the Detroit Chamber Music Society, and Pittsburgh Renaissance & Baroque, among many others.
The ensemble has issued nineteen recordings, on Newport Classics, Deutsche Grammophon/Archiv Produktion, Dorian Recordings, PARMA/Navona, and on its own house label. Its music can be heard frequently on radio stations throughout the US and Europe.
Piffaro has prioritized education and outreach since its inception, and its National Recorder Competition for Young Players attracts talented competitors from around the country to Philadelphia every two years. The ensemble was awarded Early Music America’s “Early Music Brings History Alive” award in 2003 and Laurette Goldberg Award for Lifetime Achievement in Early Music Outreach in 2011 and was the American Recorder Society’s Distinguished Artist of 2015.