This concert program actually covers several "golden" eras, beginning with Medieval melodies from the convents at Las Huelgas and Montserrat and traditional Sephardic songs, rooted in a time when Christians, Moors and Jews lived together peaceably.
From the Middle Ages, we leap to songs from the "Cancionero de Palacio" (housed in Madrid's Biblioteca Real) by the 15th-century acclaimed poet/playwright/musician, Juan del Encina. This manuscript, dedicated to the Catholic Monarchs, holds several hundred short works, mostly in Castilian, with 63 attributed to Encina. Many of these follow the popular villancico form, some with melancholy tunes about lost love, others with a "devil-take-all" stance.
The third set puts us on the trail of composers who followed Encina into the 16th century. These include a nonsense song about a spinner, Josquin's delightful parody of a Spanish singer in the choir at Milan, and a joyful Easter hymn.
At last we venture into the 17th-century with the beautiful French chanson "Doulce memoire" and a set of Diego Ortiz' divisions on that melody, a lute improvisation on the popular ground "La Monica", a battle between dueling recorders, and an invitation to a knock-out block party.
Founded in 1995, Concordia Consort is the performance ensemble representing Recorders/Early Music MetroWest, the metroWest's participatory early music program. For two decades, Concordia has appeared as guest musicians at churches throughout New England. Concordia has been heard in live broadcast on WCRB, WHRB and WGBH Radio and has presented concerts in historic King's Chapel, Old North Church and St. Paul's Cathedral in downtown Boston, at Middlesex Community College, MIT Chapel and Williams College, for the Concord Museum, and other community concert series.
Concordia Consort was featured in holiday concerts with The Boston Boy Choir, in concerts during the Museum of Science's acclaimed Leonardo da Vinci exhibit, and for First Night performances in Boston and Portsmouth NH. Under director Sheila Beardslee, Concordia's players have toured Italy and Croatia with Ars et Amici, performing in Rome, Florence, Siena, Orvieto, Bolzano, Venice, Padua, Zagreb, Osijek, Djakovo, and other cities.
Named Ensemble-in-Residence at Trinity Episcopal Church in Concord, Concordia Consort frequently performs there on Sundays with the Parish Choir and in concerts during the year. Concordia has collaborated with Portsmouth (NH)-based Pavane Renaissance Dance Ensemble amd often joins forces with Ars & Amici vocal ensemble; guest soloists have included sopranos Eileen Cecelia Callahan and Harriet Bridges, countertenor Andrei Caracoti, and lutenist William Good. Concordia's CD, Ay me, Ohime!, was released in 2009.
Concordia's director Sheila Beardslee received her M.M. degree (Performance of Early Music) from New England Conservatory where she studied with the late Nancy Joyce Roth. Ms. Beardslee has taught recorder, historical flutes, viola da gamba and historical dance at Tufts University, Wellesley College and workshops from Maine to Florida. She taught recorder to the young singers of The Boston Boy Choir for ten years. She is founder and music director of Recorders/Early Music MetroWest, one of the region's most active early music societies. Ms. Beardslee is artistic director of Concordia Consort and the vocal ensemble Ars & Amici, and is a founding member of The Phillips Consort of Viols. She researches and prepares new editions of a variety of Renaissance works, and and has led eleven performance-study tours to Italy and Croatia. Sheila Beardslee is a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International. Recordings: Northeastern, Amherst Early Music, VdGS-NE, BACS & Concordia labels.
Nouri Newman grew up in a family of musicians, and is an accomplished classical player on both flute and oboe. After setting aside her instruments when her children were young, Nouri re-embraced music with enthusiasm, joining the groups MotherTongue, Urban Myth, Village Circle Band, and International Music Club, in which she played international folk, Renaissance, new age, and world music on a number of instruments, including the pennywhistle. She switched her focus to early music several years ago, studying recorder under Heloise Degrugillier and Lisle Kulbach. Nouri currently plays in several Baroque and Renaissance consorts in the Boston area.
Brian Warnock, son of the noted stringed instrument maker Donald Warnock, learned recorder at age 10 and started playing regularly in his early teens, taking lessons with Dorothy Briel and later Sarah Cantor. He has played recorder with several ensembles in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, including Collegium Musicum Keene State College, Monadnock Chamber Players, Wilton Chamber Players, La Fontegara, and the BRS Performance Group. He has been a member of Concordia Consort since 2003.
Soprano Eileen Cecelia Callahan began singing as a child in Concord, MA, where she was active in Trinity's children's choir and later the high school chorus and concert choir. While studying at Haverford College for a BA in Russian Language, she sang with the Bryn Mawr Renaissance Choir. Now living in the Boston area, she has appeared with Capella Clausura, Ars & Amici, Concordia Consort, the Warner Consort, and Patelena Baroque Ensemble, and is the soprano section leader at Grace Episcopal Church in Newton. She is featured on Concordia Consort's CD, Ay me, Ohime! In 2003 she sang the role of "Anima" in Ars & Amici's production of Hildegard von Bingen's Ordo Virtutum which toured Italy under the direction of Cristi Catt. Ms. Callahan holds a Master of Music degree from Longy School of Music. She is a registered Music Together teacher and directs Music Together MetroWest in Framingham, offering parent-child music classes for children from birth to age 5.
Guest lutenist Douglas Freundlich launched his lute career in the 1970s with The Greenwood Consort, winning the Erwin Bodky Award and Musical America's "Young Artist of the Year". He has performed with the Boston Symphony, Boston Baroque, Emmanuel Music, Renaissonics and many other ensembles. He is a founding member of the Venere Lute Quartet, whose recordings, Sweet Division, Palestrina's Lute, and Airy Entertainments, have garnered international acclaim. Doug teaches lute and early music ensembles at The Longy School of Music of Bard College, recently serving as acting Early Music Chair; he is active in Longy's Teaching Artist Program. Other teaching includes Lute Society of America Seminars, Amherst Early Music, and the BEMF Outreach program. Doug "cross-trains" as a jazz bassist. Recordings: TelArc, Titanic, Revels, Centaur, and LSA labels.
More information about Concordia Consort is available on their web site.