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Press Releases

Boston Camerata Announces 2019-2020 Tours

August 13, 2019 | By Stephanie Janes

The 65th season sees the Camerata from coast to coast with performances of rebellious early-American tunes; holiday music from Europe and Spanish-speaking countries; staging of the Medieval “Play of Daniel” that speaks truth to power; early French songs of love and passion from the female perspective; and two new CDs

For immediate release (Boston, MA—August 13, 2019) The Boston Camerata, America's preeminent early music ensemble, has announced their 2019-2020 Boston performance season. The concerts and events span from historic Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston, MA, to Seattle, WA. Songs of freedom, rebellion, independence, and love heard through the perspective of early music provide a powerful look at today’s political and cultural landscape.

A September 2019 Harmonia Mundi release of the Camerata’s latest recording, Free America, ties in with the season-opening performances of the same name with newly recorded songs from the late 1700s and early 1800s. Commissioned by the Philharmonie and recorded in France in September 2018, this CD will be the basis for both the Boston and Portland, ME concerts, and a concert in Boston’s sister-city Strasbourg, France on October 5, 2019. Listen to a sample on Spotify.

"Every generation faces deep challenges, and ours is no exception says Anne Azéma, Camerata Artistic Director. The Boston Camerata presents a life-affirming musical season full of both challenge and consolation. Let's celebrate, together, the healing forces of music and the arts as we strive to move ourselves, and our beloved nation, into a better place.”

La Reina Joiosa
September 15, 2019, 6:00 pm
Via Mediaeval, Klingenmünster Monastary, Weinstraße 40, 76889 Klingenmünster, Germany

With its jubilee edition, Via Mediæval looks back on 20 years of concerts and presents "old acquaintances," both as performers and in the choice of spaces. Anne Azéma, a Via Mediæval favorite, returns to perform "La Reina Joiosa" (The Happy Queen), music from France and Provence.

Free America! Songs of Revolt and Rebellion (1790-1860)

October 5, 2019, 8pm
Palais de la Musique, Auditorium Cassin, Strasbourg, France

Free to the public at large


November 8, 2019, 8pm

Faneuil Hall, 4 S Market St, Boston, MA 02109
Tickets: $26-$63; students $10

December 1, 2019, 8pm
Portland Ovations, Hannaford Hall, USM Campus, 88 Bedford Street, Portland, ME 04101
Tickets: $47-$51

"These are the times that try mens' souls," wrote Thomas Paine in 1776. But what fantastic music and verse arose from those early years of our Republic, as its citizens sang and played forth their love of freedom and their rejection of tyranny! This program explores, during a time when American ideals are undergoing such deep challenges, the vital and life-affirming sounds of the young Republic. The rough-hewn sounds of citizen-composers, such as the Boston tanner Billings or the Vermont tavern-keeper Ingalls, still ring true and strong today. And Liberty’s early attendants -- feminists, abolitionists, freed slaves, Boston rascals and the insolent scallywags of "Yankee Doodle" all remind us that in our musical roots lies our true strength.

Exhilarating part songs, marches, anthems, jigs, and ballads from early prints and manuscript sources in a program first commissioned by the Paris Philharmonie and first performed there last fall 2018 and now the subject of a new Harmonia Mundi CD.  

The concerts in Strasbourg, France and Boston, MA celebrate the Sister City partnership between the two cities, first established in 1960. The birthplace of Camerata Artistic Director Anne Azéma, Strasbourg is a center of government, economy, culture, education, and medicine.

Puer Natus Est: A Medieval Christmas

December 6, 2019, 5pm
Lane Concert Series, Burlington, VT

December 7 and 8, 2019, 5pm
Early Music Now, St. Joseph Chapel, 1501 S Layton Blvd, Milwaukee, WI 53215
Tickets: $29-$59


December 14, 2019, 3pm
Union College Concerts, Memorial Chapel, Schenectady, NY 12308
Tickets: $35

A glimpse of Christmas spirituality from Medieval France, Italy, England, and Provence, including music of the church and songs of private devotion around the joyous theme of the Nativity. Included are songs to the Virgin Mary, processionals from Saint Martial of Limoges, hymns, lyrics, and miracle ballads sung in Latin, Old French, Old Provençal, and Saxon, interlaced with Medieval English texts of the Nativity. Our cast features an extraordinary trio of women’s voices with harp and vielle. Anne Azéma, Camila Parias, Deborah Rentz-Moore, voices; Christa Patton, winds, harp; Allison Monroe, Vielle.

La Estrella: A Hispanic Christmas
December 20-22, 2019:
December 20, 8pm, All Saints' Church — Ashmont,  209 Ashmont St, Dorchester Center, MA 02124
December 21, 8pm, First Parish Church of Newbury, 20 High St, Newbury, MA 01951
December 22, 4pm, The First Parish in Cambridge, 1446 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138
Tickets: $26-$63; students $10

This exuberant, vivacious program celebrates Christmas with music from the Spanish speaking parts of the globe: Medieval and Renaissance Iberia, and the Hispanic settlements of the New World. Encounters among indigenous Americans, the Spaniards, and West Africans produced some extraordinary musical results -- unusual vocal colors, soulful melodies, and irresistible rhythms, sustained in our production by winds, keyboards, gamba, baroque guitar, and Iberian harp. The exceptional singers and instrumentalists of the Camerata (Colombia and North America) are joined by Les Fleurs des Caraïbes and The Hispanic Children's Choir at Immaculate Conception under the direction of Oscar Olmos.


Daniel: A Masterpiece Revisited (The Play of Daniel)

January 18, 2020, 7:30pm
Early Music Seattle, St. Mark’s Cathedral, 1245 10th Avenue E, Seattle, WA           
Tickets: $20-$45

January, 25, 2020, 8pm
First Church Cambridge, 11 Garden St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Tickets: $26-$63; students $10

February 2, 2020, 2pm – Salem, OR Debut
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1444 Liberty Street SE, Salem, OR 97302

February 3-8, 2020 – Eugene, OR Debut
University of Oregon School of Music and Dance, 961 E 18th Ave, Eugene, OR 97403

This ambitious production combines old and new, bringing together music and movement, theater and liturgy, light and shadow, to retell the biblical story of the young prophet-in-exile. The underlying, still-contemporary themes of truth to power, tyranny punished, and of redemption from bondage, are brilliantly served by Anne Azéma's staging and by an extraordinary singing cast. 

Daniel was conceived in the Middle Ages as a student play, of and by irreverent young people. Camerata's production incorporates and develops this basic idea. The Boston Camerata principals (voice and instruments) are supported by Peter Torpey's deeply evocative lighting and special effects. Other participants in the play are recruited among students, choristers, children's choir, as well as the public. The Camerata's Daniel was premiered in 2014, has since toured in the US three times (2017, 2018, 2020) and returns now to our series.

The Night's Tale: A Tournament of Love

April 17, 2020, 7:30pm
UChicago Arts, Assembly Hall, International House, University of Chicago, 1414 E 59th St, Chicago, IL 60637
URL: boston camerata/events

April 19, 2020, 2:30pm
Linda Hall Library, 5109 Cherry Street, Kansas City, MO 64110
Tickets: $15-$35

The Night's Tale is a music-theater production created by Boston Camerata director Anne Azéma, based on a medieval French narrative of festivity, tournaments, and love games.  

Our performance captures a day’s celebrations. Daylight is the domain of men, who joust and fight in ritual encounters; when night falls, women converse in music and dance, far from the masculine violence of the daytime. Mutual desire aroused during the day culminates in the evening’s rites --aggressive and courtly, passionate and playful.  Lighting and Design, Peter Torpey.


The Three Sisters: Songs of Love and Passion, ca 1300
April 25, 2020, 8pm
Pickman Hall, Longy School of Music of Bard College, 27 Garden St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Tickets: $26-$63; students $10

Camerata's new offering to the spirit of Spring: a conversation, via fabulous, age-old music and poetry, and very much from the female point of view, around the always-contemporary themes of desire, yearning, and fulfillment. These songs will be performed by a virtuoso consort of women in love (or not); Anne Azéma, joined by Camila Parias, Clare McNamara, voices, and Susanne Ansorg, vielle and guittern.


About The Boston Camerata

The Boston Camerata occupies a unique place in the densely populated universe of European and American early music ensembles. Camerata's distinguished rank stems partly from its longevity: founded in 1954, when the field of endeavor was in its infancy, as an adjunct to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts' musical instruments collection, Camerata is now one of the longest-lived groups to be functioning, and vigorously so, up to the present day.

But length of service, by itself is not sufficient to account for Camerata's preeminence, nor are its numerous distinctions, including the American Critics' Circle Award, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, residencies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Tennessee, and the Grand Prix du Disque. The Boston Camerata has achieved its eminence in large part because of its willingness to approach, with consistent success, many kinds of historical repertoires from many centuries, from the early Middle Ages to the nineteenth century, and from many places and cultures, stretching from the Middle East to early New England, with numerous intermediate stops in Renaissance and Baroque Europe and Latin America. Directed from 1969 to 2009 by Joel Cohen, and from 2009 to the present day by Anne Azéma, the Boston Camerata has continued to create, over more than a half-century of activity, a very large number of concert and recorded productions. These typically combine scholarship, much of it original, with high performance standards maintained by a distinguished roster of outstanding vocal soloists and instrumentalists. Camerata's productions regularly combine dramatic flair with a certain humane, overarching perspective on the role music has played in (wo)mankind's search for meaning and fulfillment. Camerata's signature approach, as embodied in its touring, pedagogy, and media projects, has won the ensemble many listeners and followers on five continents as the ensemble presents new projects, all the while maintaining in active repertoire many of its historic achievements.

Camerata's diary in recent seasons has reflected intense activity. The ensemble has appeared in concert at the Théatre de la Ville, Paris (2015), the Alcântara Festival in Brazil (2016), The Metropolitan Museum The Cloisters (2017), Rockefeller Chapel Chicago (2018), and La Philharmonie de Paris (2018). Anne Azéma's innovative staged productions, include  The Night's Tale, narrating a medieval tournament in France.  It was first presented in France and Luxembourg (2007), then performed in Boston to great acclaim (2016) with further touring in 2017 and 2018 (Switzerland, Holland, France), and in the US in 2020. Azéma's reimagining of the Play of Daniel (premièred in 2014) is by now an integral part of the Camerata's public face to the world. Further tours of Daniel took place in North America (Canada and the US Midwest) – in late 2014, continuing in 2017, 2018, 2020. 

Two new recordings appeared in 2019. Treasures of Devotion presents music from the early Renaissance. Free America! Songs of Revolt and Rebellion renews a historic of the ensemble with Harmonia Mundi.


About Anne Azéma, Artistic Director

French-born vocalist, scholar and stage director Anne Azéma has directed both The Boston Camerata since 2008 and the French ensemble Aziman, which she founded, since 2005. Intensely engaged since her student days with the song repertoire of the Middle Ages, she is esteemed as a charismatic solo performer. But she also is widely admired for her creative skill in building and directing complete musical productions of varied styles and periods, both for her recital programs and for larger ensemble forces (concert and stage) in Europe and the United States.

Anne Azéma's current discography of 35 recordings as a soloist (Grand Prix du Disque; Edison Prize) includes five widely acclaimed solo CD recitals. Since assuming the directorship of The Boston Camerata in 2008, she has created a series of sixteen new productions, acclaimed by press and public alike. Ms. Azéma is in demand as a recitalist, presenting her original programs to audiences in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Her collaboration with the Tero Saarinen Dance Company (Helsinki, Finland) around early American songs has been praised on three continents. Her 2007 music theater creation (The Night's Tale – Le Tournoi de Chauvency), based on a 14th century French narrative, is in continued demand and is slated to tour in the US in 2020. The year 2017 marked the creation of a commissioned program in coordination with an international exhibit project of late Medieval artifacts (Art Gallery Ontario, Toronto, The Metropolitan Museum, New York and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) culminating with a CD issued in 2019 (NAXOS). In November 2014, she edited, directed and staged The Play of Daniel to critical and public acclaim; the production was successfully reprised in 2017 and 2018 and again in 2020.

Among Anne Azéma's teaching activities are master classes, seminars, and residencies at conservatories and universities here and abroad. She has contributed articles to scholarly and general audience publications. In 2011, Ms. Azéma was named Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government. Ms. Azéma was the Robert M.

Trotter Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Oregon, Eugene in 2012 and 2020. She has been invited to lecture at New York University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brandeis and Boston University, and is currently a faculty member at the Longy School of Music of Bard College. Her second film appearance received two prizes at the Montréal FIFA (2014). She has taught at the Fondazione Cini, Venice

(2015); the Fondazione Benetton, Treviso (2016); the Schola Cantorum, Basel (2015). In 2017, she was presented with the Distinguished Artist Award of the Saint Botolph Foundation, Boston.

Anne Azéma's first collaboration with Harmonia Mundi grew from two programs of early American music commissioned in 2018 by the Philarmonie de Paris.







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