About Magnificat

Remembering Judy

September 7th, 2012 No comments

Along with all who were touched by her, I was deeply saddened to learn that soprano Judith Nelson had passed away earlier this year. Few musicians have had a bigger impact on me personally and Magnificat as an ensemble than Judy. She sang in over 40 Magnificat concerts in the 90s and appeared  in one of the title roles (along with Paul Hillier) on Magnificat’s first recording, Cavalieri’s Rappresentatione di Anima e di Corpo. I also had the privilege of working with Judy in California Bach Society projects and in many other situations. But it was as a friend that I remember Judy the best and it is these memories that I treasure most.

The first thing that comes to mind when I remember Judy is how influential she was and how much everyone tried to sing like her but the second thing I think of is how, in fact, no one ever sounded like Judy except Judy. Of course, she sang exquisitely in every style and genre and yet it was always undeniably Judy. Her great gift to me (and to all of us) was in embodying the ideal of using your talent and ability to express who you are with integrity and conviction, which she did as well as anyone I have ever known.

In rehearsals Judy was always a model of professionalism but she also had a sharp wit and everyone who worked with her has plenty of memories of her playful sense of humor and well-timed rejoinders that always contributed to an atmosphere of camaraderie and common purpose. Judy had a uncanny ability to surprise through her vocal artistry and the depth of her understanding of the historical and musical context of the music she was performing, but also through her disarming candor.

It was Judy who introduced me to the music of Chiara Margarita Cozzolani. Judy had invited me to join her at a music festival outside of Manilla in the Philippines in 1996 and she brought with her an extraordinary motet – O quam bonus es – that we performed there. I was overwhelmed, not only by Cozzolani’s extraordinary tonal palette but by the strikingly emotional-laden text. Judy sang in Magnificat’s first performances of Cozzolani’s music in December 1999 and while her voice is not heard on the recordings that we made subsequently, her spirit – the honesty of her artistry and the warmth and sincerity of her musicianship  – is present throughout.

A memorial concert to celebrate Judy’s life will take place on Monday September 10 at First Congregational Church in Berkeley. The program will feature many of the musicians and ensembles that shared music with Judy over the years including Magnificat co-founder Susan Harvey. The free concert will begin at 7:00 pm and I encourage everyone to join in remembering a truly remarkable musician and friend.


Magnificat’s Magnificent 2010

December 23rd, 2010 No comments

As the days finally start getting longer, it’s a good time to look back on the remarkable year that Magnificat enjoyed in 2010 – our biggest audiences ever, two appearances at the Berkeley Festival, the release of the first volume of Cozzolani’s complete works and, of course, lots and lots of spectacular music. In the past twelve months Magnificat performed 16 times in venues ranging from Yoshi’s to Grace Cathedral. We performed music by Alessandro Grandi, Claudio Monteverdi, Barbara Strozzi, Antonio Vivaldi, Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, John Blow, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Nicolas LeBegue, Biagio Marini, and Dario Castello.

Our first performances of the year were also the first performances in almost 400 years of the first works designated as “cantatas.” Soprano Laura Heimes was featured in a program that included three cantatas, a madrigal and a sonnet from Alessandro Grandi’s 1620 collection Cantade et Arie, in which the composer used to the term “cantada” to distinguish three settings of strophic poetry for soprano and continuo. Each of the works employs a compositional strategy identified by musicologists as “strophic bass” cantatas, an example of strophic variation with which many composers were experimenting at the time. Sadly, the only copy of Grandi’s historic 1620 collection thought to survive into the 20th century was destroyed in the Second World War, a previously unidentified copy of the print was uncovered recently and, working with musicologists Giulia Giovani and Aurelio Bianco, Magnificat had the honor of presenting some of Grandi’s collection for the first time in centuries.

In April, we went from a modern premiere to perhaps the best known work from the 17th Century, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, celebrating the 400th anniversary of this watershed publication with three performances, including one at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral. “With Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers, Magnificat is approaching music that is generally familiar to our audience — many of whom have even sung the piece — and each of the musicians involved can list multiple performances of the work on their resumes,” noted Artistic Director Warren Stewart. “Yet turning to Monteverdi’s familiar music together is no less a revelation than any premiere, especially in the company of musical friends that bring such a breadth of experience with them to the performances.” Magnificat was joined for these performances by the early wind ensemble The Whole Noyse.

In addition to our own 2009-2010 season, Magnificat also appeared twice at the Berkeley Early Music Festival in June. On June 11, we presented a program that featured nine motets by Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, eight of which we had just recorded in completion of our project to record her complete works. Volume I of the two volume set for formally released ina CD release party at Yoshi’s on June 7, though the actual delivery of the CDs was delayed due to printing issues. We have now begun the post production process for Volume II, which is now planned for release at our concerts in March 2011.

Magnificat also participated in the Festival Finale concert on June 13, a concert that featured all the mainstage ensembles from the Festival in a “Vespers from Monteverdi to Vivaldi.” It was an honor to join ARTEK, AVE, Archetti, the Marion Verbruggen Trio, Music’s Recreation and ¡Sacabuche! in Monteverdi’s hymn Ave maris stella and Vivaldi’s g minor Magnificat under the direction of Magnificat’s Artistic Director Warren Stewart. In addition, Magnificat performed Barabara Strozzi’s motet “O Maria” and the Dixit Dominue from Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers.

Our 2010-2011 season opened in October with a production of John Blow’s Venus and Adonis. Again, these performances were something of a first – these were the first performances of Blow’s revised version of the work. Soprano Catherine Webster sung the part of Venus; countertenor José Lemos sang the role of Cupid; and bass Peter Becker was Adonis. Magnificat was joined in these performances by members of the San Francisco Girls Chorus, who made a cameo appearance as the little cupids. The edition for our performance was generously provided by The Purcell Society and Stainer and Bell.

On the weekend of December 17-19, Magnificat performed Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit for three near-capacity crowds in Menlo Park, Berkeley and San Francisco. The program also included Charpentier’s Dialogus inter angelos et pastores and arrangements of many of the French noëls used by the composer in his delightful mass setting.

Of course we still have two programs remaining in the 2010-2011 season. On the weekend of February 4-6, a program featuring soprano Jennifer Ellis Kampani exploring the music of four remarkable women of the 17th Century: Francesca Caccini, Barbara Strozzi, Isabella Leonarda and Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre. The season will conclude March 18-20 with a staged production of Orazio Vecchi’s madrigal comedy L’Amfiparnaso in collaboration with commedia actors from the Dell’Arte Company.

Thanks to all the musicians appeared in Magnificat concerts during 2010 – Elizabeth Anker, Annette Bauer, Peter Becker, Meg Bragle, Louise Carslake, Daria D’Andrea, Hugh Davies, Rob Diggins, John Dornenburg, Jillon Stoppels Dupree, Paul Elliott, Ruth Escher, Steve Escher, Jeff Fields, Katherine Heater, Richard Van Hessel, Daniel Hutchings, Jennifer Lane, Christopher LeCluyse, Jennifer Ellis Kampani, José Lemos, Anthony Martin, Clifton Massey, Matthias Maute, Carla Moore, Herb Myers, Jennifer Paulino, Elisabeth Reed, Ernie Rideout, Robert Stafford, Sandy Stadtfeld, David Tayler, Brian Thorsett, Kiri Tollaksen, Hanneke van Proosdij, Jolianne von Einem, Catherine Webster, and David Wilson.

Many thanks as well to Magnificat’s Board of Directors: Nicholas Elsishans, John Golenski, Dorothy Manly, Michael Patterson, Michael Barger, Mickey Butts, Richard Fabian, Michael King and Chuck Thiel; our irreplaceable concert and stage team of  Margriet Downing and Julianna Wetherwax; creative director Nika Korniyenko and recording magician Boby Borisov. Most of all thank you to all those that have supported us with donations, CD and ticket purchases and all the good will on Twitter and Facebook. We look forward to sharing beautiful music with all of you in the new year!

Here’s a sample of photographs from 2010. Lots more can be viewed on our Flickr page.

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Quiet, but Busy

May 14th, 2010 No comments

The blog has been quiet, but we’ve been hard at work. We’re close to launching the new Magnificat website – and this blog will a little re-designing as well. But that’s just part of what’s been going on.

It’s less than a month now til our performances at the Berkeley Festival and Exhibition. The festival is shaping up to be a fascinating event – in addition to the seven ‘main stage concerts and the EMA conference and exhibition there will be 50 fringe concerts during the week! Many (most) of these concerts include dear friends of Magnificat and it is evidence of the amazing vibrance of the early music scene in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The same week, Magnificat will be officially releasing the first volume of our recordings of Cozzolani’s complete works at a CD release party at Yoshi’s in San Francisco. Beyond final tweaks and dithering with the audio files, there’s the booklet to proof read – and then there’s the cover image…

We are also putting the final touches on Magnificat’s 2010-2011 season – and the brochure that will announce it. We’re very excited about the programs we will be offering next season. Each program will examine a different aspect of the tremendous cultural shift that took place over the course of the 17th century – the changes in the notions of nobility, the way that music of the lower classes was reflected in art music, the various ways that brilliant women found to express themselves in spite of societal restrictions, and use of parody and satire in the form of the Italian commedia dell’ arte was used to comment on the human condition.

And the music! The first English opera, Charpentier’s beloved Midnight Mass, a program of women’s music featuring soprano Jennifer Ellis Kampani and a charming (and sometimes bawdy) staged madrigal comedy.

Even before the festival in June this blog will host the next History Carnival. While the subject is roughly the 18th century, in keeping with the focus of this blog, we’re getting fascinating nominations from a wide range of historical specializations – evidence of the impressive work being done in the blogosphere. We’re happy to receive more nominations – just go to this link to make your suggestion.

All in all a pretty exciting time.

Photos from 1610 Vespers at St. Patrick’s

April 24th, 2010 1 comment

Nika Korniyenko took some photos from our performance of Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers yesterday evening at the beautiful St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park. Two more performances – tonight at St. Mark’s Episcopal in Berkeley and tomorrow afternoon at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Both concerts are selling well but tickets are still available.


April 17th, 2010 1 comment

Qui dat nivem sicut lanam:
nebulam sicut cinerem spargit.
Mittit crystallum suum sicut buccellas:
ante faciem frigoris eius quis sustinebit?

The Four Tenors

April 16th, 2010 No comments

Dan Hutchings, Chris LeCluyse, Paul Elliott & Mirko Guadagnini

The parts designated ‘Alto’ or ‘Septimus’ in Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers, like all music from the period, encompass a vocal range that in later music is most often sung by high tenors. The ‘counter tenor’ of the later Baroque would typically sing in a slightly higher register. As a result together with the ‘Tenore’ and ‘Quintus’ parts, we will have four tenors for our performances April 23-25.

Three of these tenors are very familiar to Magnificat audiences – Daniel Hutchings, Christopher LeCluyse, and Paul Elliott have appeared frequently in a wide variety of repertoire over the past decade. For these performances we are welcoming Italian tenor Mirko Guadagnini, who will be making his American debut.

Monteverdi’s alto, extending from e to b flat’, coincides much more closely with a modern tenor than with a modern alto, and we can assume the part would habe neem sung in the seventeenth century by what today would be called a tenor. Monteverdi’s tenor on the other hand, approximates a modern baritone, except that the highest few notes are beyond the reach of most baritones and wide-ranging tenor, like the four in Magnificat’s concert, are essential for the performance of the 1610 Vespers. Read more…

The Sopranos (for Magnificat’s 1610 Vespers)

April 15th, 2010 No comments

Jennifer Paulino and Jennifer Ellis Kampani

A year ago, Magnificat performed Alessandro Scarlatti’s serenata Amore, Venere, e Ragione with “3 Jennifers“. For the final concerts of our 2009-2010 season, Magnificat is pleased to feature two of the Jennifers for the two soprano parts – Jennifer Paulino and Jennifer Ellis Kampani – as our sopranos. (Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Lane will be joining us for our performance at the Berkeley Festival & Exhibition in June.)

Jennifer Paulino has appeared frequently with Magnificat since singing the role of Daniele in Stradella’s La Susanna in February 2007, a production that we also performed at the Tropical Baroque Festival in Miami that Spring. She has been a prat of several productions since then, including earlier this season when she sang several roles – notably the seductive Siren) in Francesca Caccini’s La Liberatione di Ruggiero.

Jennifer is a founding member of the Baroque ensemble Les grâces, who appeared in earlier this season on the San Francisco Early Music Society series and toured in Europe last Fall. As an ensemble singer, Jennifer has performed in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Cathedral of Notre Dame, and the Arts Center in Seoul, Korea, and on recordings contracted by the Spoleto Festival USA and The Washington National Cathedral. She was a member of The Choral Scholars, a vocal ensemble dedicated to the study and performance of early music and new works from 1999-2004. Her tenure with the ensemble culminated in a recording and concert in collaboration with Trio Mediæval and the Washington National Cathedral girls choir. Read more…

Welcoming New Friends – Kiri Tollaksen, Jeffrey Fields and Mirko Guadagnini

April 14th, 2010 No comments

For Magnificat’s performances of Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers next week, we are pleased to welcome three musicians who will be appearing with us for the first time, cornettist Kiri Tollaksen, baritone Jeffrey Fields and tenor Mirko Guadagnini.

Mirko Guadagnini

These performances will be Mirko Guadagnini‘s San Francisco debut but he is known to early music fans from his appearance in the title role of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo on La Venexiana’s recording of Monteverdi’s opera, which received the 2008 Grammophone Award for Best Baroque Vocal.

In 2003 he sang for the opening of Teatro La Fenice in Venice with Caldara’s Te Deum led by Riccardo Muti and  in 2004 he made his debut as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte at Teatro Politeama in Lecce, as Oronte in Händel’s Alcina by Händel at Teatro Verdi in Trieste, as Conte in Il Barbiere di Siviglia by Paisiello at Teatro La Fenice in Venice and as Cassio in Otello at Grand Théâtre de Genève. In 2005 he sang Nerone in L’incoronazione di Poppea at Opera de Lyon, conductor William Christie with Les Arts Florissants; in Händel’s Messiah in Florence with Orchestra della Toscana. Mirko made his debut at La Scala in Milan as Goffredo in Rinaldo by Händel, and debuted in the title role of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo at Auditorium Verdi in Milan and at Auditorium Nacional de Madrid.

Kiri Tollaksen

Kiri Tollaksen enjoys a varied career as a performer and teacher. Kiri has performed extensively throughout North America and Europe with numerous groups such as Apollo’s Fire, Piffaro, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, New York Collegium, Concerto Palatino, La Fenice, and Tafelmusik. Kiri is a founding member of the ensembles Anaphantasia and Chiaroscuro. As a professional trumpet player, Kiri performs with the River Raisin Ragtime Revue and freelances throughout Michigan.

In addition to being on faculty at the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, Kiri maintains a teaching studio in Ann Arbor, and has taught cornetto at the Amherst Early Music Festival. Kiri holds performing degrees in trumpet from Eastman, Yale, and a Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Michigan. She has recorded with the Huelgas Ensemble, Apollo’s Fire, Piffaro, La Fenice, The New York Collegium, La Gente d’Orfeo, the River Raisin Ragtime Revue and the Dodworth Saxhorn Band.

Jeffrey Fields

Jeffrey Fields has performed regularly throughout California in concert, oratorio and opera since moving to the Bay Area in 1999. In 1998, he was selected as an Adams Fellow at the Carmel Bach Festival and has had numerous solo appearances there since; he will sing the Monteverdi Vespers at this summer’s festival. He also sings regularly with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and American Bach Soloists.

Jeffrey made his Carnegie Hall debut in Handel’s Messiah in December 2007. Recent and current engagements include Dvorak’s Stabat Mater in Berkeley, Handel’s Alexander’s Feast at UC Davis under Jeffrey Thomas, Brahms’ Requiem in Palo Alto, San Francisco and Berkeley, Mozart’s Requiem with the Marin Symphony, Orff’s Carmina Burana at Stanford, Handel’s Samson with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Acis and Galatea (Polyphemus) with Berkeley Opera, the title role in Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Marin Oratorio, Mendelssohn’s St. Paul in Berkeley, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at the Carmel Bach Festival and the Bach Society of St. Louis, the Requiems of Faure and Durufle, Haydn’s Creation in Los Angeles and Carmel, and Bach’s B Minor Mass with the San Francisco Bach Choir. Jeff was a three-time winner of the NATS Central Region auditions. His wide repertoire includes Marcello in Puccini’s La Boheme, Papageno in Mozart’s Die Zauberflote, and King Herod in Massenet’s Herodiade, as well as a broad spectrum of concert works, oratorios and art song.

KDFC to Present Magnificat at Yoshi’s in San Francisco on June 7th

April 14th, 2010 No comments

Tickets available online through Yoshi’s

On June 7th, KDFC with present Magnificat’s CD Release Party at Yoshi’s in San Francisco. The event will mark the official release of the first volume of Chiara Margarita Cozzolani’s complete works.

Over the past couple years, “KDFC in the Clubs” has offered Bay Area audiences the chance to hear classical artists performing in a less formal atmosphere. Magnificat will be the first early music ensemble to be presented – and the first to appear at Yoshi’s. Read more…

Magnificat to be Featured at 2010 Berkeley Early Music Festival

March 11th, 2010 No comments

Tickets Now available Online – Click Here

Magnificat has been invited to perform a  program of Cozzolani motets as a featured concert on the Berkeley Early Music Festival and Exhibition this June. The concert will mark the release of the first volume of our recordings of Cozzolani’s complete works. Sopranos Catherine Webster, Jennifer Ellis Kampani, and altos Meg Bragle and Jennifer Lane will join with the continuo team of David Tayler and Hanneke van Proosdij for the concert on Friday June 11 at 8:00 at First Congregational Church in Berkeley.

The program will be drawn from Cozzolani’s 1642 collection Concerti Sacri and will include setting of all four Marian antiphons – Ave regina coelorum, Salve, O regina, Alma redemptoris mater, and Regina caeli, laetare. In addition, Magnificat will perform six of her other motets – Colligite, pueri, flores, O mi domine, Obstupiscite, gentes, Regna terrae cantate Deo, Quid, miseri, quis faciamus and Psallite superi.

Magnificat first appeared on the Festival in it’s inaugural year 1990, in a performance with Marion Verbruggen, and was presented by the San Francisco Early Music Society on the 1996 and 2002. At the most recent Festival in 2008, Magnificat joined with several other Bay Area ensembles in memorable performances of Alessandro Striggio’s Missa sopra ‘Ecco sì beato giorno’ under the direction Davitt Moroney.

Magnificat is grateful to all those who have supported the Cozzolani Project and look forward to sharing more of Donna Chiara’s magnificent music at the Festival. More details will be available soon on Magnificat’s website and this website.

Brian Howard (1944-2010)

February 15th, 2010 No comments

Brian Howard

It was with tremendous sadness that we learned that Brian Howard passed away earlier this month. Brian was a founding member of The Whole Noyse and appeared in Magnificat’s first season in performances of Schütz’ Weihnachtshistorie. A dear friend and musical colleague, Brian touched the lives of many in the early music community in the Bay Area. Magnificat extends our deepest sympathy to Brian’s wife Lynn. The following obituary gives some sense of Brian’s remarkable and diverse life. We will miss his gentle warm spirit.

Brian Howard, Computer designer and musician, died of cancer on February 1st at his home in Portola Valley, CA; he was 65 years old. Born on March 23, 1944, in Cambridge, MA, he grew up in Norman, OK. His father was a physics professor at the University of Oklahoma, and his mother was a classical pianist. He attended Stanford University on a National Merit scholarship, graduating in 1967 with a B.S. degree in electrical engineering.

In 1978, he became the 32nd employee of Apple Computers. As editor of the famous computer manuals, he combined meticulous language skills with exhaustive computer knowledge to create user-friendly instruction books that helped to popularize the nascent company”s products. One of the original four members of the Macintosh Project team, Brian Howard helped to revolutionize the personal computer; his signature was molded into the case of the original Macs. He eventually moved from computer documentation to architectural hardware design, which was more commensurate with his engineering background. At Apple, where he was the longest continuous employee, he was promoted to the level of DEST (Distinguished Engineer, Scientist or Technologist), in recognition of his exemplary work. He was celebrated among his colleagues for his fertile imagination and communication skills.

An accomplished and dedicated musician, Brian played cornetto, flute, and recorder with the Stanford Renaissance Wind Band and sang with the St. Ann Choir, California Bach Society, Stanford Early Music Singers, and Albany Consort. He also performed music at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Marin County and, in 1986, became a founding member of the early brass and winds ensemble, The Whole Noyse.

Predeceased by his mother Jane, stepmother Phyllis, father Robert, and brother Donald, Brian is survived by his beloved wife Lynne Toribara, stepdaughter Mariko Toribara, sisters Kathleen Howard (of Fostoria, OH) and Eileen Howard (of Belchertown, MA), nieces Keira Manes (of Greenfield, MA) and Terri Torres (of Fircrest, WA), and nephew Devin Manes (of Frederickton, NB, Canada), as well as a multitude of friends who cherished his gentle humility, boundless curiosity, creativity, generous spirit, and funny bone. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Doctors Without Borders or join Terra Pass.

A memorial concert will be given at Stanford University”s Memorial Church on Saturday, February 20 at 11 am.

New Magnificat Blog Design

December 30th, 2009 No comments

For the New Year, we’ve made some changes to the blog. We’ve added direct links to Magnificat on Facebook, Twitter, and Flikr. You can also listen to streaming audio of Magnificat by clicking on the Magnificat Radio tab. We hope you enjoy it!

Happy New Year!

Photos from Magnificat’s Cozzolani Performances

December 14th, 2009 No comments

We’ve uploaded photos from our wonderful week of Cozzolani to our Flickr page. Beyond the excellent musicians, we benefitted from assistance from a four footed advisor in Berkeley. Here’s a sample from the photo set:

Magnificat at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, San Francisco

Sound Check at St. Mark's Episcopal in Berkeley

Berkeley Continuo Advisor

Meeting with the Audience

SFCV Review: Milanese Mass and Motets

December 8th, 2009 1 comment

Listen to Cozzolani’s Music

The San Francisco Classical Voice published the following review by Anna Carol Dudley. It is very gratifying to be recognized so graciously. Bravi tutti to Catherine, Meg, Jennifer, Kristen, Hugh and Hanneke – it was a wonderful week!

Catherine Webster, Meg Bragle, Jennifer Ellis Kampani, Kristen Dubenion-Smith

Magnificat’s dazzling singers have done it again. As part of their ongoing project to perform and record the complete works of Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, four singers brought her glorious music vividly to life in a performance Saturday at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Berkeley. The four women sang music that Cozzolani wrote for the famous singing nuns in her convent, Santa Radegonda, in 17th-century Milan.

Cozzolani’s setting of a Christmas Mass, In nativitate Domini (The birthday of the Lord), was written to be sung by a male celebrant — in this concert, Hugh Davies, whose expressive chant framed the work. The women formed a chorus, chanting in unison, then blossoming into a quartet to sing the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei. The quartets, originally sung by women, were published in Cozzolani’s time with tenor and bass parts, which have been given back to women in Magnificat’s performances.

The quartet for this concert consisted of sopranos Catherine Webster and Jennifer Ellis Kampani and altos Meg Bragle and Kristen Dubenion-Smith. Ellis Kampani sang the tenor parts transposed up, Bragle did some at pitch, and Dubenion-Smith, a real alto possessed of a lovely low range, sang bass, sometimes transposed and sometimes at pitch. A bass line provided by cellist Warren Stewart supported the harmony. Hanneke van Proosdij completed the continuo at the organ, playing with wonderful imagination, especially in a couple of solo motets. Read more…

Chiara Margarita Cozzolani Gets a Facebook Page

November 22nd, 2009 No comments

Listen to Cozzolani’s Music

By all accounts the nuns at the convent of Santa Radegonda in the 17th Century did not have internet access and so it had to wait until the 21st century for Chiara Margarita Cozzolani to launch get her own Facebook page. With her birthday coming up on November 27th in seemed like an especially appropriate time. As Magnificat prepares for our upcoming performances of  phenomenal music of the Benedictine nun from Santa Radegonda, it occurred to us that she deserved a Facebook page. Please visit and become a fan!

Magnificat has benefited tremendously from Robert Kendrick’s path-breaking research into convent music in Milan as well as the work of other scholars like Colleen Reardon, Craig Monson, Gabriella Zarri, Ann Mather, and so many others who have helped us developed a deeper appreciation for the music written and performed in convents in the 17th Century. We are also grateful for the excellent work of Candace Smith and Capella Artemesia not only in performing Cozzolani’s music but also making it available, along with the music of other cloistered composers of the period, through Artemesia Editions.

When Magnificat first performed Cozzolani’s music in 1999 as part of the San Francisco Early Music Society concert series, there had been very few performances of her music. Over the past decade she has begun to received the attention she so richly deserves. We will be trying to draw attention to other performances and recordings that we hear about.

While Magnificat created the page and will maintain it, we are looking forward to posts from musicians, scholars, and music lovers across the globe who have been inspired by Cozzolani’s music. So, while it’s a bit Magnificat-centric to begin with, we are hoping to hearfrom the many others who are involved in performing, studying and enjoying Cozzolani’s extraordinary music.

Magnificat at The Early Music Musician's Bazaar

November 22nd, 2009 No comments

(click for larger image)

Magnificat will be participating in the second annual Early Music Musician’s Bazaar. Among the delights available for purchase will be CD’s, concert tickets, sheet music & lots of other fun stuff.  The Bazaar will take place from 10 am to 3 pmon Saturday December 12 at MusicSources, 1000 The Alameda, Berkeley. It’s a great opportunity for holiday shopping that will support the Bay Area early music community,

As one of the organizers (and Magnificat musician) Hanneke van Proosdij explains, “it’s a community event bringing together the early music groups and supporting the local musicians. Basically there are a bunch of vendor tables spread out throughout the entire lower floor of MusicSources. People can drop in, peruse the stuff, hang out and eat way too much chocolate.”

The stellar list of participants in the Bazaar includes Cançonièr, Ensemble Vermillian, Farallon Recorder Quartet , The Festival Consort, Glen Shannon Music, Healing Muses, Junior Recorder Society, La Monica, Les Grâces, Musica Pacifica, San Francisco Early Music Society, Shira Kammen, and Voices of Music.

You can visit the Early Music Musician’s Bazaar on Facebook.

Magnificat Included on Wikio's First Classical Music Blog Top 20

November 4th, 2009 No comments

Wikio LogoWe learned that Wikio.com, a website featuring a news search engine for media sites and blogs is creating a music sub-category for Classical Music blogs and that this blog has made the top 20 (specifically, and ominously, no. 13). A big thank you to all our readers and subscribers and congratulations to all those other bloggers on the list! I’ve visited all these blogs and can confirm that there is a lot of terrific writing on music being done in cyberspace. Bravi!

Here’s the top 20:

1 Clef Notes
2 Nico Muhly
3 The Arts Blog
4 Andrew Patner: The View from Here
5 PostClassic
6 Think denk
7 Sandow
8 Oboeinsight
9 Violinist.com
10 Amusicology
11 The Collaborative Piano Blog
12 2’23`
13 Magnificat
14 Adaptistration
15 Intermezzo
16 SLSO Blog
17 Entartete Musik
18 The Opera Tattler
19 Opera Today
20 Musical Perceptions

Ranking by Wikio

According to Wikio, the position of a blog in the ranking depends on the number and weight of the incoming links from other blogs. These links are dynamic, which means that they are backlinks or links found within articles. Only links found in the RSS feed are included. Blogrolls are not taken into account, and the weight of any given link increases according to how recently it was published, the intention being to provide a classification that is more representative of the current influence levels of the blogs therein. The weight of a link depends on the linking blog’s position in the Wikio ranking. With Wikio’s algorithm, the weight of a link from a blog that is more highly ranked is greater than that of a link from a blog that is less well ranked. Wikio’s rankings are updated on a monthly basis.

The Future of Music Policy Summit: "It's the future, so get used to it"

October 5th, 2009 No comments

This line from the 2002 performances of Radiohead’s  song “Go to Sleep” (sadly omitted from the studio version) kept coming back to me at the Future of Music Policy Summit this week. I’m updating some of my thoughts from the first day of the concert. As I noted in that post, the summit was packed with ideas and energy and I was impressed with the spirit of cooperation and community that pervaded the discussions, which I have also sensed in the cyberworld of social media. There is a feeling of open ended possibilities that I found especially refreshing.

Throughout the summit, I continued imagining how the promotion and networking strategies, the new technologies and media platforms, and the radically altered market structure for music will affect artists, like Magnificat, that work with historical music – how to make the music of the past part of the future of music.

Mike Mills sings "Ohio" with Bonerama

Mike Mills sings "Ohio" with Bonerama

At the remarkable performance by Bonerama, Nicole Atkins, Erin McKeown, Wayne Kraemer, Mike Mills and others on Monday night, someone on stage observed the importance of touching base with your roots – whether it is traditional New Orleans Delta Blues, Cuban Son, Appalachian folk songs, whatever. Knowing where you’ve been and how it touches you today, can provide a basis for navifating the future. I would argue that this is one of the best arguments for the continued renewal of “historical” music. While I’ve written before that all music is in some sense “historical”, here I mean specifically Classical music – the only genre offered by ReverbNation, BlackPlanet, Virb, and any number of other muic portals, for artists involved in the performance of Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, etc. forms of “art music”.

Focusing on the music Magnificat loves, promotes and performs, I would venture that most of what serves as the basis for music of today – not just the institutions of orchestras, opera, chamber music, virtuoso vocal and instrumental music, but also the theoretical basis for “common practice” tonality, vertically conceived harmony, and melody/accompaniment compositional structure – was first formulated and solidified in the 17th Century. The humanistically motivated shift in orientation toward the expression of human emotion ignited a century of experimentation and exploration that still speaks with a freshness and wonder centuries later.

The trick is to find the place for this “roots” music in the new and exciting avenues that are emerging, that were the focus of attention at the summit.

Needless to say, the focus of the discussions was “popular” music, but it is clear that the genre fragmentation characteristic of “the music business” in the past generation allows “Baroque Music” or even “17th Century Music” to be just another niche market along with “speed metal” or “skronk”. It’s really a question of scale – Stradella may never be a popular as Jay-Z, but there is a “fan base”. The recurring mantra of the sessions was that musicians need to identify the listeners who love their music, their “fans”, and build relationships with them. The global nature of communications now makes it possible to build those relationships on a scale unimaginable just a few years ago. Read more…

Making the Music of the Past Part of the Future of Music

September 30th, 2009 No comments

Future of Music Policy Summit

Magnificat will be attending the Future of Music Policy Summit October 4-6 in Washington DC. The Summit promises to be a fascinating exploration of the ramifications of new technology and communications portals on the production, dissemination, and promotion of music.

The wide range of a range of speakers and panelists for the Summit include US Senator Al Franken, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Daniel Ek, founder of the music service Spotify, as well as artists like Wayne Kramer of MC5, Mike Mills of R.E.M., Erin McKeown, and Brian Message of Radiohead’s management team. From the FoM website:

It’s been nearly a decade since the digital music genie burst out of its bottle, changing the game for virtually everyone in the music ecosystem. So what comes next? Future of Music Policy Summit 2009 will examine this question through practical, musician-focused workshops, keynotes from leading artists, managers and policymakers and inspired panel discussions with the sharpest minds in the music/technology space.

As Magnificat has jumped head first into the deep end of cyberspace over the past few months, we have thought alot about how music lovers will access and interact with music in the future. One of the exciting aspects of the social media revolution has been the emergence of new avenues for communication between audience and performer. Through Twitter and other micro-blogging platforms “fans” have the possibility of following the preparation for a production and sharing the experience with others on a global scale. Photo-sharing sites like Flickr can provide the audience a glimpse “backstage” and give the performers a chance to share their audience’s perspective. And music-sharing portals like last.fm, blip.fm, and many others have radically changed the way listeners access music.

The new technology raises many complex issues and questions of course and we are looking forward to participating in the discussions and break out sessions that address some of these concerns. Magnificat is grateful to The Future of Music Coalition for helping to make Magnificat’s participation in this event possible. The Summit program can be viewed here. The sessions will be webcast here. Magnificat (@MagBaroque) will be live tweeting during the event – #fmc09 – so see you in Twitterspace!

Magnificat’s 2009-2010 Season Brochure

September 11th, 2009 No comments

Magnificat’s 2009-2010 Season Brochure will be hitting snail mailboxes next week, but we wanted to give you a sneak peek. It can be downloaded by clicking here (PDF – 17MB). Magnificat’s creative director Nika Korniyenko designed the brochure and the beautiful poster below. Nika has been designing Magnificat’s brochures and programs since 2005 and she also designed Magnificat’s new website and the “CD” covers for all the recent releases on Magnificat’s music page.

Nika has been involved in a variety of creative projects ranging from theatre and film production to classical illustration and printmaking. A native of St. Petersburg, Russia, she practiced classical art techniques at the City of St. Petersburg Art School and studied art history at the Hermitage State Museum. She later graduated from the California College of Arts and Crafts. In addition to her published illustrations, Nika’s artwork has been seen in group exhibitions in Venice, Osaka, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington DC. You can see some of Nika’s work at her website artnika.com.

Magnificat 09-10 Season Poster by Nika Korniyenko

Magnificat 09-10 Season Poster by Nika Korniyenko