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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Newberry Consort Announces 2021-2022 In-Person Season Line-Up
Final season for Artistic Directors Ellen Hargis and David Douglass
CHICAGO (August 30, 2021) — After more than a year of performing virtually, The Newberry Consort is pleased to announce a return to in-person performances for its 35th anniversary season, which will be filled with programs that range from music that would have been heard by the Medicis in Renaissance Italy to the lively Christmas folk music of 17th century Mexico.
The Newberry Consort’s 35th anniversary season will be the final one for artistic directors Ellen Hargis and David Douglass. Douglass has been performing with the Consort since it was founded in 1986, and he assumed the role of artistic director in 2007, when the Consort became independent of the Newberry Library. Hargis joined him as co-artistic director in 2009, and over their tenure, they have continued to perform rarely heard music from the medieval era to the Renaissance and beyond. Some of the highlights of their tenure include presenting a concert of music from Lincoln’s America, researching and editing three programs of 17th century Mexican convent music, and putting on a staged production of Elizabethan jigs in honor of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
“It’s been an honor to hold this dream job, to create all these programs and to work with our stellar roster of musicians,” Hargis said. “While we will stay with the Consort in an advisory capacity, we are ready for other challenges and are delighted to pass the baton to the next generation.”
Audiences will have the opportunity to celebrate Douglass and Hargis’s retirement and welcome the Consort’s incoming artistic director, Liza Malamut, at the Welcome Back Gala, which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Halim Museum in Evanston. The gala will feature live performances by 10 musicians, including Malamut on trombone.
The Newberry Consort’s 35th anniversary season, which will begin on Thursday, Dec. 2, features three diverse concerts. The first, entitled A Mexican Christmas, will once again feature the Newberry Consort and EnsAmble Ad-Hoc performing the beautiful, sacred music that would have been sung in the convents of 17th century Mexico, along with the joyful, rousing folk music that would have been played in the streets.
A live recording of the Mexican Christmas concert will be released as an album on Parma Records in November. The album will be available on CD or via a digital download.
In February 2022, the Newberry Consort will present Music Fit for the Medicis, a concert featuring many of the songs that would have been played at the Medici court in the 15th century, with songs set to the poems of Dante, Petrarch and more. The season will culminate with Four Queens and a Joker, a hilarious evening of hijinks as four singers, eight musicians and one stage director sing, dance, perform and play games all at the same time!
“After a year of performing virtually, we can’t wait to get back in front of audiences again to bring these diverse musical periods to life,” says Ellen Hargis, co-artistic director of the Consort. “As always, we strive to make this historical music feel fun, lively, and fresh, and we think audiences will love being transported back in time to these amazing periods in history.”
2021 – 2022 Season Details
- Mexican Christmas
Join the Newberry Consort and EnsAmble Ad-Hoc for this beloved Christmas tradition, as they recreate the yuletide music of the streets and the convents of 17th century Mexico. The Newberry Consort’s convent ensemble will sing elegant sacred polyphony, while EnsAmble Ad-Hoc, lead by early music specialists Francy Acosta and Jose Luis Posada, will have you dancing in your seats with as their street band of guitars, harp, violins, percussion and singers burst into the joyful melodies and rhythms of the traditional “villancicos,” the folk-based songs of praise and celebration.
- Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021 at 8 p.m. at St. John Cantius Church in Chicago
- Friday, Dec. 3, 2021 at 8 p.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Evanston
- Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021 at 3 p.m. at Mother of the Americas Parrish in Chicago
- Music Fit for the Medicis
The Medicis were one of the most powerful families in Italy in the 15th century, and as patrons of the arts, they collected music by some of the best Florentine composers of the previous decades. In this concert, featuring singers and medieval strings, harp, lute, percussion, and organetto, you’ll hear many of the songs that would have been played at the Medici court, including lively music for dancing, gorgeous and complex polyphony, and songs with lyrics by poets such as Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio.
- Friday, Feb. 18, 2022 at 8 p.m. at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Old Town
- Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022 at 8 p.m. at International House at the University of Chicago
- Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022 at 3 p.m. at Galvin Recital Hall at Northwestern University in Evanston
- Four Queens and a Joker
Games and cards were all the rage in the 17th and 18th centuries, and in this concert, you’ll hear two pieces that are both about playing games. The first is an intermezzo by Italian composer Virgilio Mazzocchi, which would have been performed in between acts of a serious opera for comic relief. Titled “La Civetta,” or Little Owl, it’s about a hunting game, which is a euphemism for flirting. In the second piece, an 18th century cantata named “Il Guicolo del Quadriglio,” our singers and musicians will all be dancing, playing music and playing the card game quadrille at the same time! Featuring four sopranos, violin, viola, two mandolins, theorbo, harpsichord and more.
- Friday, April 22, 2022 at 8 p.m. at Hairpin Arts Center Logan Square
- Saturday, April 23, 2022 at 8 p.m. at International House at the University of Chicago
- Sunday, April 24, 2022 at 3 p.m. at Galvin Recital Hall at Northwestern University in Evanston
Pre-concert chats start 30 minutes before each performance.
Tickets for all performances are $50. To purchase tickets please visit www.newberryconsort.org.
About the Newberry Consort:
Directed by David Douglass, Newberry Musician-in-Residence, and early music diva Ellen Hargis, the Newberry Consort plumbs the Newberry Library’s vast music collection and assembles a star-studded roster of local and international artists to bring you world-class performances of music from the 13th to the 18th centuries…and occasionally beyond! Affiliated with the Newberry Library Center for Renaissance Studies, the Consort also serves as an ensemble-in-residence at both the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. In addition to an annual concert series in Chicago, the Consort has an active touring schedule.