Handel and Haydn Society and Artistic Director Harry Christophers Announce 2011-2012 Season

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The Handel and Haydn Society (H&H) and Artistic Director Harry Christophers announce the 2011-2012 Season, featuring the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus performing a wealth of both iconic and lesser known pieces led by a roster of nationally and internationally acclaimed artists. The 2011–2012 Season will continue H&H’s exploration of historically significant works introduced and premiered by the Handel and Haydn Society as part of the preparations for the Bicentennial celebrations in 2015. A cornerstone of this upcoming season is Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, premiered in America by H&H in 1871 and first performed in its entirety by H&H in the United States in 1879.

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The 2011–2012 Season will continue H&H’s exploration of historically significant works introduced and premiered by the Handel and Haydn Society as part of the preparations for the Bicentennial celebrations in 2015.

The Handel and Haydn Society (H&H) and Artistic Director Harry Christophers announce the 2011-2012 Season, featuring the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus performing a wealth of both iconic and lesser known pieces led by a roster of nationally and internationally acclaimed artists. The 2011–2012 Season will continue H&H’s exploration of historically significant works introduced and premiered by the Handel and Haydn Society as part of the preparations for the Bicentennial celebrations in 2015. A cornerstone of this upcoming season is Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, premiered in America by H&H in 1871 and first performed in its entirety by H&H in the United States in 1879.

“This season I’m thrilled to continue celebrating the amazing heritage that H&H has given Boston and America. H&H has a tradition of introducing audiences to the great works while carrying on a principle of educating them about lesser known works and composers, such as Alexander Reinagle, Manuel de Zumaya, and Dmitri Bortniansky. It’s truly a luxury to program two of the finest musical compositions together in one season; St. Matthew Passion and Messiah epitomize the rare beauty of hearing great works on period instruments. It makes it as if Bach and Handel were writing today – the work sounds new and daring.” – Harry Christophers

The season will showcase a wealth of established artists such as Rosemary Joshua and Rinaldo Alessandrini and emerging North American talent such as Steven Fox and Jean-Marie Zeitouni as well as H&H’s own talented musicians, including principle bassist Rob Nairn and the solo debut of new concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky. Under Christophers’ leadership, the Handel and Haydn Society continues to expand its musical and education efforts, grow its Boston-community partnerships, and develop plans for its Bicentennial in 2015. Students involved in H&H’s educational program will be exposed to the repertoire both through outreach efforts to local schools and performance opportunities for students in grades 3 through 12.

2011-2012 Season Highlights:
Beginning the season with his continued exploration of Mozart, Harry Christophers leads a program with sensational fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout, returning to H&H for his fourth time. Born in South Africa, Bezuidenhout first gained international recognition at the age of 21 after winning first and audience prizes in the Bruges Fortepiano Competition. Mozart’s tenure in Vienna was marked by many brilliant compositions; the program will delve into some of his later works, including his dramatic and compelling Symphony No. 40 in G Minor.

In October, conductor Rinaldo Alessandrini conducts H&H for the first time since 1999 and also appears as a soloist in Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in D Major. Alessandrini will lead a program of Baroque jewels, with Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater at the heart of the concert. The evening will feature the H&H debuts of soprano Liesbeth Devos and mezzo soprano Emily Righter.

December brings the Handel and Haydn Society’s annual tradition of Handel’s Messiah again under the baton of Harry Christophers, the 158th continuous performance since H&H began performing the work annually since 1854. The work was presented to sold out audiences in 2010, and this season will feature a stellar collection of North American talents. H&H eagerly anticipates the return of soloists soprano Sarah Coburn and tenor Tom Randle, and the Handel and Haydn debuts of countertenor Lawrence Zazzo and baritone Tyler Duncan.

As 2011 draws to an end, New York based conductor Steven Fox will make his H&H debut, conducting the Orchestra and Chorus in a holiday exploration of Bach and international compositions. Bach’s prolific output included many works written for the time of Christmas, including his Cantata 133 and his Christmas Oratorio Cantata V. The program will also include Celebren, Publiquen by Manuel de Zumaya, a master of the Mexican baroque.

2012 begins with a musical expedition to Italy showcasing H&H’s new concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky. Harry Christophers has programmed a selection of Handel’s Italian opera overtures, two of Corelli’s elegant concerti grossi, and J.C. Bach’s dramatic G minor symphony (written just after his stay in Italy). Nosky will make her solo debut with a performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Nosky said, "I am very excited to be performing Vivaldi's The Four Seasons with the Handel and Haydn Society. These concerti are four of the most imaginative pieces ever composed for the violin and I look forward to bringing them to life with Harry and the Orchestra."

Canadian Jean-Marie Zeitouni, returning after his 2008 debut with H&H, will conduct’s Beethoven’s groundbreaking Eroica Symphony, last performed by H&H in 2004. Expanding upon the theme of royalty and heroics, the program will also feature Haydn’s Symphony No. 48, composed for a visit by the Holy Roman Empress, Maria Theresia.

Handel and Haydn’s principal bass Rob Nairn returns to the helm to lead H&H on another journey. As the seasons change and spring arrives in Boston, audiences will travel back in time to Boston in the 1820s. With period instruments and a selection of classical chamber masterworks by three legends (Handel, Mozart, and Schubert) with three American composers (Reinagle, Raynor Taylor, and Benjamin Carr), the concert hall and its inhabitants will be transported to the intimate, salon atmosphere of two centuries ago.

Given its first complete performance in the country by Handel and Haydn Society in 1879, Bach's St Matthew Passion is presented as a component to the 2015 Bicentennial celebrations. Considered by many to be one of the greatest masterpieces of music, Bach's musical setting presents chapters 26 and 27 of the Gospel of Matthew. “Bach's St Matthew Passion is now revered the world over and it remains as innovative today as it must have sounded to the congregation in Leipzig almost 300 years ago. It's not just the make up of the work – large double choir choruses, fiendishly difficult arias, chorales for the people, an evangelist who communicates to us like a modern day news reporter – it's Bach's invention, both dramatic and textual, which is staggering. With our performances we will demonstrate just why it probably is the greatest work ever written and why it needs no ‘dressing up,’" said Harry Christophers.

The season will culminate with a series of coronations. Mozart’s Coronation Mass includes the tender “Agnus Dei” for solo soprano, to be performed by internationally renowned soprano Rosemary Joshua in her debut with the Handel and Haydn Society. The Coronation Mass will be recorded as part of H&H’s Mozart trilogy on the CORO label, joining recordings of Mozart’s Mass in C minor and Requiem. Other works to be performed include Haydn’s Symphony No. 85, a favorite of Marie Antoinette which led to its subtitle, “La reine,” by which it’s more commonly known today, and Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba and Zadok the Priest.

Recordings:
The second in a trilogy of Mozart CDs released by H&H on the CORO label is set for release in September 2011. Mozart’s Requiem will be recorded live at Symphony Hall during the current season (May 2010). From the final concert of the 2011-2012 Season, Mozart’s Coronation Mass will be recorded to complete the series. The Coronation Mass will join the live recordings of Mozart’s Mass in C minor (January 2010) and Requiem. The CORO label was launched in 2001 to record conductor and founder Harry Christophers’ UK-based ensemble The Sixteen.

2011–2012 Season Subscription Information:
Subscriptions to the 2011-2012 Season are now available. New packages include “choose your own” packages as well as Vocal or Orchestral themed selections. Packages range from three to nine concerts; package prices begin at only $57. Subscriptions may be purchased through the Handel and Haydn Box Office by phone at 617 266 3605, online at handelandhaydn.org, or in person at Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston (M-F 10:00am – 6:00pm). Single tickets go on sale in August 2011.

2011–2012 Season Calendar:

Mozart in Vienna
September 23, 2011, 8:00pm at Symphony Hall
September 25, 2011, 3:00pm at Symphony Hall
Harry Christophers, conductor
Kristian Bezuidenhout, fortepiano
Haydn: Overture to “Autumn” from The Seasons
Haydn: Divertimento in C Major for keyboard & strings
Haydn: Overture to “Winter” from The Seasons
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat Major, K. 482
Dittersdorf: Overture to Esther
Mozart: Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550

Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater
October 28, 2011, 8:00pm at Jordan Hall
October 30, 2011, 3:00pm at Jordan Hall
Rinaldo Alessandrini, conductor and harpsichord
Liesbeth Devos, soprano
Emily Righter, mezzo soprano
Geminiani: Concerto Grosso in E Minor, Op. 3 No. 3
J.S. Bach: Harpsichord Concerto in D Major, BWV 1054
Pergolesi: Salve Regina
Pergolesi: Stabat Mater

Handel’s Messiah
December 2, 2011, 7:30pm at Symphony Hall
December 3, 2011, 3:00pm at Symphony Hall
December 4, 2011, 3:00pm at Symphony Hall
Harry Christophers, conductor
Handel and Haydn Society Chorus
Sarah Coburn, soprano
Lawrence Zazzo, countertenor
Tom Randle, tenor
Tyler Duncan, baritone
Handel: Messiah

Bach Christmas
December 15, 2011, 8:00pm at Jordan Hall
December 18, 2011, 3:00pm at Jordan Hall
Steven Fox, conductor
Handel and Haydn Society Chorus
J.S. Bach: Cantata 133 (In Thee Do I Rejoice)
J.S. Bach: Cantata V from Christmas Oratorio
Manuel de Zumaya: Celebren, Publiquen
Anon. (Bolivian): Sonata Chiquitanas
Bortniansky: Tebe Boga Xvalim
Anon.: The Shepherd’s Star
Ingalls: The Apple Tree

Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons
January 20, 2012, 8:00pm at Symphony Hall
January 22, 2012, 3:00pm at Symphony Hall
Harry Christophers, conductor
Aisslinn Nosky, violin
Handel: Overture to Agrippina
Corelli: Concerto Grosso in C Minor, Op. 6, No. 3
J.C. Bach: Symphony Op. 6, No. 6 in G Minor
Handel: Overture to Rodrigo
Corelli: Concerto Grosso in D Major, Op. 6, No. 4
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons

Beethoven’s Eroica
February 17, 2012, 8:00pm at Symphony Hall
February 19, 2012, 3:00pm at Symphony Hall
Jean-Marie Zeitouni, conductor
Beethoven: Egmont Overture
Haydn: Symphony No. 48, “Maria Theresia”
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, “Eroica”

Classical Salon
March 9, 2012, 8:00pm at Jordan Hall
March 11, 2012, 3:00pm at Sanders Theater
Rob Nairn, concert leader
Handel: “Sweet Bird” from Il Pensieroso for soprano, flute, and strings
Alexander Reinagle: Philadelphia Sonata for fortepiano
Raynor Taylor: Sonata No. 2 for solo cello (with bass accompaniment) from “Six Solos”
Schubert: Piano Trio No. 1 in B-flat Major, D. 898
Benjamin Carr: “Why Huntress, Why?” from The Archers
Dragonetti: Quintet No. 18 in C Major for bass and string quartet
Mozart: Flute Quartet No. 1 in D Major, K. 285

St. Matthew Passion
March 30, 2012, 7:30pm at Symphony Hall
April 1, 2012, 3:00pm at Symphony Hall
Harry Christophers, conductor
Handel and Haydn Society Chorus
James Taylor, Evangelist
Matthew Brook, Christus
Gillian Keith, soprano
Monica Groop, alto
Jeremy Budd, tenor
Stephan Loges, bass
J.S. Bach: St. Matthew Passion

Mozart Coronation
April 27, 2012, 8:00pm at Symphony Hall
April 29, 2012, 3:00pm at Symphony Hall
Harry Christophers, conductor
Handel and Haydn Society Chorus
Rosemary Joshua, soprano
Paula Murrihy, alto
Thomas Cooley, tenor
Sumner Thompson, bass
Handel: Zadok the Priest
Mozart: Exsultate, jubilate
Haydn: Symphony No. 85, "La reine"
Handel: Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
Handel: “Ev’ry sight these eyes behold” from Solomon
Mozart: Coronation Mass

Works by Composer:

J.C. Bach
Symphony Op. 6, No. 6 in G Minor

J.S. Bach
Harpsichord Concerto in D Major, BWV 1054
Cantata 133 (In Thee Do I Rejoice)
Cantata V from Christmas Oratorio
St. Matthew Passion

Beethoven
Egmont Overture
Symphony No. 3, “Eroica”

Bortniansky
Tebe Boga Xvalim

Benjamin Carr
“Why Huntress, Why?” from The Archers

Corelli
Concerto Grosso in C Minor, Op. 6, No. 3
Concerto Grosso in D Major, Op. 6, No. 4

Manuel de Zumaya
Celebren, Publiquen

Dittersdorf
Overture to Esther

Dragonetti
Quintet No. 18 in C Major for bass and string quartet

Geminiani
Concerto Grosso in E Minor, Op. 3 No. 3

Handel
Messiah
Overture to Rodrigo
Overture to Agrippina
“Sweet Bird” from Il Penseroso for soprano, flute, and
strings
Zadok the Priest
Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
“Ev’ry sight these eyes behold” from Solomon

Haydn
Overture to “Autumn” from The Seasons
Divertimento in C for keyboard & strings
Overture to “Winter” from The Seasons
Symphony No. 48, “Maria Theresia”
Symphony No. 85, “La reine"

Ingalls
The Apple Tree

Mozart
Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat Major, K. 482
Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550
Flute Quartet No. 1 in D Major, K. 285
Exsultate, jubilate
Coronation Mass

Pergolesi
Salve Regina
Stabat Mater

Alexander Reinagle
Philadelphia Sonata for fortepiano

Schubert
Piano Trio No. 1 in B-flat Major, D. 898

Raynor Taylor
Sonata No. 2 for solo cello (with bass accompaniment)
from “Six Solos”

Vivaldi
The Four Seasons

Anon.
Sonata Chiquitanas (Bolivian)
The Shepherd’s Star

Harry Christophers enters his third season as Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society with the 2011-2012 Season. Appointed in 2008, he began his tenure with the 2009–2010 Season and has conducted Handel and Haydn each season since September 2006, when he led a sold-out performance in the Esterházy Palace at the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. Christophers and H&H have since embarked on an ambitious artistic journey that began with the 2010–2011 Season with a showcase of works premiered in the United States by the Handel and Haydn Society over the last 195 years, and the release of the first of a series of recordings on CORO leading to the 2015 Bicentennial.

Christophers is known internationally as founder and conductor of the UK-based choir and period instrument ensemble The Sixteen. He has directed The Sixteen throughout Europe, America, and the Far East, gaining a distinguished reputation for his work in Renaissance, Baroque, and 20th century music. In 2000, he instituted the “Choral Pilgrimage,” a tour of British cathedrals from York to Canterbury. He has recorded close to 100 titles for which he has won numerous awards, including a Grand Prix du Disque for Handel Messiah, numerous Preise der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics Awards), the coveted Gramophone Award for Early Music, and the prestigious Classical Brit Award (2005) for his disc entitled Renaissance. In 2009 he received one of classical music’s highest accolades, the Classic FM Gramophone Awards Artist of the Year Award; The Sixteen also won the Baroque Vocal Award for Handel Coronation Anthems, a CD that also received a 2010 Grammy Award nomination. Harry Christophers is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Granada Symphony Orchestra and a regular guest conductor with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the Orquestra de la Comunidad de Madrid.

In October 2008, Christophers was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Leicester. Most recently, he was elected an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and also of the Royal Welsh Academy for Music and Drama.

ABOUT HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY
The Handel and Haydn Society is a professional chorus and period instrument orchestra that is internationally recognize¬d as a leader in the field of Historically Informed Performance, a revelatory style that uses the instruments and techniques of the time in which the music was composed. Founded in Boston in 1815, H&H is the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the United States and has a longstanding commitment to excellence and innovation: it gave the American premieres of Handel’s Messiah (1818), Haydn’s The Creation (1819), Verdi’s Requiem (1878) and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (1879). The Handel and Haydn Society today, under the leadership of Artistic Director Harry Christophers, is committed to its mission “to perform Baroque and Classical music at the highest levels of artistic excellence and to share that music with as large and diverse an audience as possible.” H&H is widely known through its local subscription concerts, tours, concert broadcasts on National Public Radio, and recordings. Lamentations and Praises won a 2002 Grammy Award and two of its most recent CDs, All is Bright and Peace, appeared simultaneously in the top ten on Billboard Magazine’s classical music chart. The 2010-2011 Season marked the 25th Anniversary of Handel and Haydn’s educational programming. The award-winning Karen S. & George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program fosters the knowledge and performance of classical music among young people including in underserved schools and communities. Annually, the program brings music education and vocal training to more than 10,000 students in the Greater Boston area.

The Handel and Haydn Society is supported in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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