The English Concert
Friday November 30 8:00pm

The English Concert

Harry Bicket, Artistic Director

Overview

The London-based period-instrument ensemble makes its Caramoor debut in a rare area appearance. The English Concert performs Baroque and Classical repertoire with the passion, sophistication and technical mastery established at its creation in 1972.

“Through it all, Bicket and The English Concert were nothing short of brilliant. Sporting perfectly tight ensemble, spacious and ringing tone, a variety of colors, gleaming strings and clean, forceful brass, they are the model of a period chamber orchestra in every sense.” — New York Classical Review
Artists

The English Concert
Harry Bicket, conductor
Alfonso Leal del Ojo, viola

Program

Purcell Suite from The Fairy Queen
Handel Concerto Grosso in G Minor, Op. 6, No. 6
Telemann Concerto for Viola and Strings in G Major, TWV 51:G9
Vivaldi Trio Sonata in D Minor, RV 63 ( Variations on La Folia)
Muffat Passacaglia from Armonico tributo: Sonata No. 5
Dall’Abaco Concerto a più Istrumenti in D Major, Op. 5, No. 6


The English Concert

Artist Website Listen Watch

We love music of the baroque and classical periods, and we believe that through our performances on original instruments, with styles of playing and singing appropriate to a composer or period, we can get to the essential core of the music. With our international group of close-knit musicians, many of whom are soloists in their own right, anything is possible.

Just because we have an enviable reputation, established since our foundation in 1973 with Trevor Pinnock, does not mean we rest on our laurels. Indeed, whether led by our Artistic Director Harry Bicket, or guests such as our newly appointed Principal Guest Director and fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout, we always strive for excellence.

We believe that through our performances on original instruments, with styles of playing and singing appropriate to a composer or period, we can get to the essential core of the music.

But it is not just about our award-winning discography, or who we have worked with, it is about reaching the audience and making music together. This is why we are always on the look-out for exciting new opportunities and new ways to tell a story, whether we are working with the likes of Tom Morris to stage Handel’s Messiah, bringing its emotional and dramatic essence to the fore, or interacting in a more intimate way in Shakespeare’s Globe or the Wanamaker Playhouse.

Central to our activities is our flourishing commission from Carnegie Hall to present one Handel opera-in-concert each year. Starting with Radamisto in 2013, subsequent performances of Theodora, Alcina, Hercules, Orlando, and most recently Ariodante, have seen the orchestra in major concert halls across Europe and the US, alongside Joyce DiDonato, David Daniels, and Sarah Connolly. This season, Iestyn Davies appears in the title role of Rinaldo.

 

Harry Bicket, conductor

Listen Watch

Internationally renowned as an opera and concert conductor of distinction, Harry Bicket is especially noted for his interpretation of baroque and classical repertoire and in 2007 became Artistic Director of The English Concert, one of the UK’s finest period orchestras. He became Chief Conductor of Santa Fe Opera in 2013 and opened the 2014 season with a critically-acclaimed Fidelio. Born in Liverpool, he studied at the Royal College of Music and Oxford University and is an accomplished harpsichordist.

Plans for the 2017/18 season include his debut with RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, return visits to Lyric Opera of Chicago (Orphée et Eurydice), Metropolitan Opera (Le Nozze di Figaro), Royal Northern Sinfonia, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, and a masterclass with the Juilliard School. Plans with The English Concert include European and US (Carnegie Hall) performances of Rinaldo and recording work, and with Santa Fe Opera, performances of Bernstein’s Candide. Highlights of recent seasons include acclaimed productions in the United States and Canada for Lyric Opera of Chicago (Carmen, Rinaldo), Santa Fe Opera (Alcina, Fidelio), Houston Grand Opera (Le Nozze di Figaro, Rusalka), Canadian Opera Company (Maometto II, Hercules), Atlanta Opera (Orfeo), Metropolitan Opera (Rodelinda, La clemenza di Tito, Giulio Cesare), guest conducting with Cleveland Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (Cincinnati May Festival), Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Houston Symphony, Seattle Symphony, St Paul Chamber Orchestra, NACO Ottawa, Indianapolis Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Messiah with the New York Philharmonic.

Within Europe he has conducted performances at the Liceu Barcelona (Agrippina, Lucio Silla), L’Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine (Alcina), and Theater an der Wien (Iphigenie en Tauride, Mitridate, re di Ponto) and appeared with Oslo Philharmonic, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Rotterdams Philharmonisch, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, Bayerische Rundfunk, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Recent highlights with The English Concert include UK and international touring within Europe, United States (most recently Ariodante featuring Joyce DiDonato, including Carnegie Hall) and the Far East, regular Wigmore Hall and Barbican projects, and BBC Proms (Samson, B Minor Mass, “Being Both” with Alice Coote). Previous work outside of Europe includes his Japanese debut with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and Ian Bostridge and a visit to Israel Philharmonic.

Staged opera has also included Minnesota Opera (Croesus), Opera Australia (Giulio Cesare), Scottish Opera (Orfeo), New York City Opera (Le Nozze di Figaro, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Clemenza di Tito, Rinaldo), Royal Danish Opera (Orfeo), Glimmerglass Festival (Partenope, Agrippina), New Israeli Opera (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Aldeburgh Festival (Faerie Queen), Edinburgh Festival (Clemenza di Tito), Spoleto Festival (Giasone, Tamerlano, L’ile de Merlin), English National Opera (Orfeo, Ariodante, Semele, Xerxes, Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda), Welsh National Opera (Clemenza di Tito), and Opera North (Radamisto, Return of Ulysses, The Magic Flute, Croesus), Los Angeles Opera (Giulio Cesare, L’incoronazione di Poppea).

He made his Glyndebourne Festival debut in 1996 with Peter Sellars’ landmark production of Theodora and returned in 1999 and 2003. In 2004 his first Metropolitan Opera production (an acclaimed new production of Rodelinda with Renée Fleming and David Daniels) was quickly followed by Giulio Cesare (2006/7) and Clemenza di Tito (2008) and he is now a regular guest. He made his debut with the Bayerische Staatsoper in 2000 (Rinaldo, new production) and over the following seven years conducted many performances including Ariodante, Serse, Orlando, Orfeo ed Euridice, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and Die Zauberflöte.

In 2001 his first Barcelona production, Giulio Cesare, earned him the Opera Critics’ Prize for best conductor. He has since returned for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2005), Ariodante (2006), L’Arbore di Diana (2009), and Agrippina (2013.) In 2003 his debut production for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Handel’s Orlando) received an Olivier Award nomination for Best New Opera Production. In the same year, he conducted Lyric Opera of Chicago for the first time and has since returned regularly.

Recordings to date with The English Concert include releases for Virgin Classics, Chandos, and Harmonia Mundi featuring Elizabeth Watts, David Daniels, Lucy Crowe, Sarah Connolly, and Rosemary Joshua. Harry’s discography also includes five recordings with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, including a collection of Handel opera arias with Renée Fleming (Decca) and Ian Bostridge (EMI), as well as selections from Handel’s Theodora, Serse, and the cantata La Lucrezia with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Avie), which was nominated for a Grammy Award. His Gramophone Award-nominated CDs also include Sento Amor with David Daniels featuring arias by Gluck, Handel, and Mozart (Virgin Veritas) and Il tenero momento with Susan Graham featuring arias by Mozart and Gluck (Erato).

 

Alfonso Leal del Ojo, viola

Alfonso Leal del Ojo grew up and received his initial training in Seville. In 1998 he moved to London where he studied at the Guildhall School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music where he specialized in period instrument performance.

He has been principal viola of The English Concert since 2006 and tours extensively with them throughout Europe, East Asia and North America. In addition to his work with The English Concert, Alfonso is much in demand with other European ensembles, frequently appearing as a soloist or guest principal.

Alfonso Leal del Ojo has been principal viola of The English Concert since 2006 and his recent recording of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 was selected as Gramophone Editor’s Choice

Participating on numerous recordings, many of them award-winning, his recent recording of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 with the Dunedin Consort was selected as both Gramophone Editor’s Choice and Classic FM album of the week.

Chamber music remains an important part of his life and often collaborates with Trevor Pinnock, Rachel Podger, and many other fine musicians.

He plays on a fine English viola by Edward Lewis (1687).