Performing Arts: Closing Time

by patrickmccoy

The Folger Consort chose the music of Vienna to close out their season. 

By Patrick D. McCoy

Consort co-founders and artistic directors Robert Einstein and Christopher Kendall will be joined by guest musicians for the final concerts of the season. (Photo courtesy of Folger Consort)

For the season finale, The Folger Consort, the early music ensemble-in-residence at Folger Shakespeare Library, closes out with Vienna: Music for Maximilian April 12-14, 2013.  Comprising the program are  songs, instrumental pieces, and sacred music from the Renaissance court of Maximilian I, the Holy Roman Emperor who is credited for assembling the largest musical establishment in Europe between 1493 and 1519.

Joining Folger Consort artistic co-directors Robert Eisenstein and Christopher Kendall  will be baritone Peter Becker, tenors Mark Bleeke, John Wiggins and countertenor Martin Near. Complimenting co-directors Eisenstein’s viol and Kendall’s lute will be guest instrumentalists  C. Keith Collins (dulcian, recorder, harp), Wendy Gillespie (viol), and Daniel Stillman (dulcian, trombone, recorder).

Baritone Peter Becker has performed throughout the US, Europe, Asia, and South America in repertoire ranging from medieval to contemporary, including performances with the New York Shakespeare Festival, Glimmerglass Opera, and the 21st Century Consort. Guest appearances include those with Tafelmusik, Smithsonian Chamber Players, the Newberry Consort, Folger Consort, Artek, and he has performed at a number of festivals including Spoleto (Italy and USA), Caramoor, Ravinia, Hong Kong, and Saratoga. As a member of the male vocal quintet Hudson Shad, he has performed with such distinguished conductors as Kurt Masur (New York Philharmonic), Zubin Mehta (Los Angeles Philharmonic), Michael Tilson Thomas (San Francisco Symphony), and Bruno Bartoletti (Orchestra Regionale Toscana). Contemporary music credits include Peter Maxwell Davies’ “Eight Songs for a Mad King,” Stravinsky’s “Renard,” Oliver Knussen’s “Where the Wild Things Are,” and Kurt Weill’s “Seven Deadly Sins.”

Tenor Mark Bleeke recently sang a program of “Charpentier with L’Harmonie des Saisons” in Montreal, Handel’s “Messiah” with the Apollo Chorus in Chicago, and Robert Beaser’s Songs from “The Occasions” at the Bowdoin Festival. As a member of Hudson Shad, Mr. Bleeke has sung Kurt Weill’s “Seven Deadly Sins” with many renowned orchestras and conductors, including The Chicago Symphony (James Conlon), The Los Angeles Philharmonic (Zubin Mehta), and The Philadelphia Orchestra. This season, along with Hudson Shad, he performed music of the Comedian Harmonists in Philadelphia and “The Seven Deadly Sins” along with Ute Lemper. In the fall, Mr. Bleeke and the ensemble will be travelling to Hamburg, Germany for a series of performances. Among his recordings are Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, Musical Heritage Society; Bach’s St. John Passion, Pro Gloria Musicae; Folger Consort’s  Carmina Burana and Other Spirited Songs of the German Middle Ages; and two recordings of the title role in Handel’s Acis and Galatea with Les Boreades, and Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra.

On Friday, April 12 at 7pm, artistic co-director Robert Eisenstein and national radio personality Robert Aubry Davis will lead a lively pre-concert discussion in the theater at the Folger. Admission is free with a ticket for the evening performance.

For Tickets ($37) and information call 202-544-7077 or visit


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