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The Vocal Concerto

17th-Century Cantatas for Bass


Monica Huggett artistic director & violin, Harry van der Kamp bass, Stephen Stubbs lute,
Erin HeadleyElisabeth Reed & Josh Lee viols, Carla Moore violin,
Susan Jensen organ, & Curtis Daily violone

Legendary vocalist Harry van der Kamp, renowned interpreter of the bass cantata, joins long-time colleagues, acclaimed music director & violinist Monica Huggett, and lute virtuoso Stephen Stubbs, for a programme of rarely-heard masterpieces from 17th-century Germany.

Monica Huggett artistic director & violin

Monica Huggett was born in London, in 1953, the fifth of seven children. In order to differentiate herself from her piano-playing siblings, she took up the violin at age six. Her talent became apparent quickly and, by the age of twelve, it had been decided by her parents and teachers that she would become a violinist, which saved her from the agony of having to decide what to do with her life.

At age sixteen, she entered the Royal Academy of Music as a student of Manoug Parikian. Although she did well and won several prizes, she was not entirely comfortable with her instrument until she was given a baroque violin to try. She was immediately won over by the mellow quality of the gut strings and became a fervent champion of the baroque violin.

From age seventeen, Monica has earned her living solely as a violinist and artistic director – beginning in London as a freelance violinist – and currently as the newly-appointed first artistic director of the Juilliard School’s Historical Performance Program. In the intervening four decades, she co-founded the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra with Ton Koopman; founded her own London-based ensemble Sonnerie; worked with Christopher Hogwood at the Academy of Ancient Music; with Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert; and toured the United States in concert with James Galway. She has served as guest director of the Seville Baroque Orchestra; the Kristiansand Symphony Norway; Arion Baroque Orchestra, Montreal; Tafelmusik, Toronto; the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Philharmonia Baroque, San Francisco; the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra; and Concerto Copenhagen. She also performs frequently as a solo violinist all over the world.

Monica has given master classes in Banff, Dartington, Vicenza, Dublin, and Medellin, and has been professor of baroque violin at the Hochschule für Künste, Bremen and the Koninklijke Conservatorium in The Hague. Monica’s expertise in the musical and social history of the Baroque Era is unparalleled among performing musicians. This huge body of knowledge and understanding, coupled with her unique interpretation of Baroque music, has made her an invaluable resource to students of the baroque violin.

Monica’s discography numbers in the hundreds, many of which, sadly, are currently out of print. She is working on reviving some of her favorite recordings. She is still making new recordings and a CD of Mendelssohn Piano Trios will be released later in 2009, as well as a CD of 17th century Italian instrumental music with the Irish Baroque Orchestra.

Among her recent prizes are the 1997 Editor’s Choice award, Gramophone magazine, for J.S. Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin; the Vantaa Baroque Energy Prize (Finland), 2005; and Gramophone’s Best Instrumental Recording Award, for Heinrich Biber’s Violin Sonatas, 2002. The latest CD release from Sonnerie "Music for a Young Prince" early versions of the J.S. Bach Four Orchestral Suites, won a Diapason d'Or in June 2009.

Alongside her work at Juilliard Monica continues as artistic director of both the Irish Baroque Orchestra, and the Portland Baroque Orchestra.

Harry van der Kamp bass

The Dutch bass Harry van der Kamp first studied law and psychology in Amsterdam. Then he studied singing with Elisabeth Cooymans and Max van Egmond at the Amsterdam Sweelinck Conservatory. He also took courses with Alfred Deller, Pierre Bernac and Felix de Nobel. From 1974 he studied with Herman Woltman.

Until 1975 Harry van der Kamp was a member of Cappella Amsterdam, directed by Jan Boeke, and from 1974 until 1994 of the Nederlands Kamerkoor, whose artistic adviser he was from 1982 (or 1980) to 1987 In 1984 he founded his own ensemble, Gesualdo Consort Amsterdam, for the performance of music from the early 1600's and music of the 20th century.. This experimental ensemble has appeared with great success in many European festivals.

Today, Harry van der Kamp is internationally known as one of the most important bass singers in the solo and ensemble repertoire of the 14th–18th centuries. He is a protagonist of the Baroque period (17th and 18th centuris) repertoire for bass solo, enjoys a great reputation as a bass-baritone, and has performed numerous oratorios, cantatas, and dialogues of that period. He is also a dedicated performer of contemporary music. His 30-year career has taken him all over the world, from New York to Peking. He has performed with all the leading Baroque specialists. During his career, he has worked with conductors such as Nikolaus Harnoncourt (J.S. Bach, Mozart, George Frideric Handel), Hans Vonk (Igor Stravinsky, Weill), Sergiu Commissiona (Rossini, Verdi), Gustav Leonhardt (J.S. Bach, Monteverdi, Biber, Purcell), Iván Fischer (Monteverdi, Jan Dismas Zelenka, Heinrich Schütz), Bruno Weil (Haydn, Schubert), Frans Brüggen (J.S. Bach, H. Schütz), William Christie (Monteverdi, G.F. Handel), Ton Koopman (J.S. Bach, Monteverdi, Mozart), Reinbert de Leeuw (Mauricio Kagel, Milhaud, Paul Hindemith, Arnold Schoenberg), René Jacobs (Cavalli, Cesti, Monteverdi), Alan Curtis (Stradella, J.S. Bach, G.F. Handel), John Eliot Gardiner, Sigiswald Kuijken, Jos van Immerseel and Philippe Herreweghe. He is one of Europe's leading ensemble singers, having appeared with ensembles such as the Hilliard Ensemble, Musica Antiqua Köln, Les Arts Florissants, Tragicomedia, La Petite Bande, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Tafelmusik, Huelgas Ensemble, Capella Ducale, Cantus Cölln, Concerto Vocale (René Jacobs) and with the Weserrenaissance ensemble of Bremen.

As an opera singer Harry van der Kamp has sung 30 roles in operas, maby of them of the baroque period (by Peri, Agazzari, Monteverdi, Cavalli, Landi, Cesti, Purcell, Meder, Rameau, Sacrati, Reinhard Keiser, and G.F. Handel) and in several operas of later date (by Mozart, Rossini, Berlioz and P. Hindemith), throughout Europe and America. One of the company he has worked with is Nederlandse Opera, in productions of Monteverdi's Orfeo and L'incoronatione di Poppea, and also in such modern productions asReves d'un Marco Polo by Claude Viviers, and, recently, Alexander Knaifel's Alice in Wonderland, all produced by Pierre Audi.

Since 1994 Harry van der Kamp holds a professorship of Singing at the Hochschule für Musik in Bremen, and he gives master-classes throughout Europe on the performance practice of early music. In 1997 and 1998 he was a visiting professor at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

Harry van der Kamp can be heard on more than 100 CDs, including Haydn's Missa in tempore belli and Nelson Mass, all of Schubert's masses, Mozart's Requiem, Verdi's Requiem and Haydn's Creation (which the BBC in 1995 hailed as the best recording of the work), G.F. Handel's Orlando (conducted by William Christie), Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni (Sigiswald Kuijken) and Die Zauberflöte (Ton Koopman), Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria and L'incoronatione di Poppea (Alan Curtis), Francesco Cavalli'sGiasone (René Jacobs), Stefano Landi's La morte d'Orfeo (Stephen Stubbs), R. Keiser's Masaniello furioso (Thomas Albert's Fiori Musicali), Ezra Pound's Testament de Francois Villon (Reinbert de Leeuw) and Stephan Wolpe's Zeus und Elida (Werner Herbers). Countless great solo works and solo cantatas from the 17th century have appeared on the Teldec, Astree, CPO, Capriccio, Accent and Sony labels, accompanied by Gustav Leonhardt (Purcell, Awake and with attention hearEvening Hymn, etc.), Andrew Lawrence-King (Purcell, Begin the song), Stephen Stubbs (Monteverdi, Io nell'otio nacqui; Landi, Superbi colli; Mazzocchi, Padre del ciel), Hermann Max (Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach, Pygmalion), and Musica Fiata (Förster's dialogues and oratorios; J. Rosenmüller, Domine ne in furore tuo).

For the Sony Vivarte label Harry van der Kamp has recorded North German cantatas for solo bass by Nicolaus Bruhns, Franz Tunder, Johann Christoph Bach, Heinrich Schütz, Dietrich Buxtehude and Johann Rosenmüller. He has also recorded J.S. Bach's oratorios and cantatas Gustav Leonhardt, Frans Brüggen, Sigiswald Kuijken and Thomas Albert. With his Gesualdo Consort Amsterdam he has recently completed the recordings of the complete vocal works by the Dutch composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck.

Stephen Stubbs lute

After a thirty year career in Europe, musical director and lutenist Stephen Stubbs returned to his native Seattle in 2006. Since then he has established his new production company, Pacific Musicworks, and developed a busy calendar as a guest conductor specializing in baroque opera and oratorio.

With his direction of Stefano Landi’s La Morte d’Orfeo at the 1987 Bruges festival, he began his career as opera director and founded the ensemble Tragicomedia. Since 1997 Stephen has co-directed the bi-annual Boston Early Music Festival opera and is the permanent artistic co-director. BEMF’s recordings of Conradi’s Ariadne, Lully’s Thesee, and Psyché were nominated for Grammy awards in 2005, 2007, and 2009.

Stephen was born in Seattle, Washington, where he studied composition, piano and harpsichord at the University of Washington. In 1974 he moved to England to study lute with Robert Spencer and then to Amsterdam for further study with Toyohiko Satoh and soon became a mainstay of the burgeoning early-music movement there, working with Alan Curtis on Italian opera in Italy, William Christie on French opera in France and various ensembles in England and Germany particularly the Hilliard Ensemble.

With his return to Seattle in 2006 he formed the long-term goal of establishing a company devoted to the study and production of Baroque opera. His first venture in this direction was the creation of the Accademia de’Amore, an annual summer institute for the training of pre-professional singers and musicians in baroque style and stagecraft, now housed at the Cornish College of the Arts.

In 2008 he established Pacific MusicWorks. The company’s inaugural presentation was a revival of South African artist William Kentridge’s acclaimed multimedia marionette staging of Claudio Monteverdi’s penultimate opera The Return of Ulysses in a co-production with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. After a warmly received 2010 presentation of Monteverdi’s monumentalVespers of 1610 at Seattle’s St. James Cathedral, PMW presented a full subscription season, opening with a  programme based on the Song of Songs and ending with two triumphantly successful performances of Handel’s early masterpiece, The Triumph of Time (1707).
As a guest conductor Stubbs has led performances of Gluck’s Orfeo and Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto in Bilbao, Spain, and Monteverdi’s Orfeo at Amsterdam’s Netherlands Opera. Following his successful debut conducting the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in 2011he was invited back in 2012 to conduct the Symphony’s performances of Messiah. He will also debut with the Edmonton Symphony in Messiah this season.

Musicians of the
Portland Baroque Orchestra

Emerging in the early 1980s as a grassroots cooperative of musicians, the Portland Baroque Orchestra has matured as a polished, professional organization within the ranks of the best period-instrument orchestras in North America and Europe. Succeeding PBO’s regular guest director and artistic advisor Ton Koopman, Monica Huggett has been the group’s artistic director for seventeen years. She is considered one of the premier baroque violinists, and was appointed the inaugural artistic director of the Juilliard School’s Institute for Historical Performance in 2008.

In addition to its October to May Portland subscription series, PBO presents the Pacific Northwest’s only annual performances of Handel’s Messiah on period instruments, and it is a regular collaborator with arts organizations in the Portland region and beyond. In 2009 PBO collaborated with Portland Opera to gather a unique ensemble of 17th-century specialists from around the nation to perform Cavalli’s Venetian masterpiece La Calisto. In that same year, PBO became period ensemble-in-residence of the Oregon Bach Festival and has since represented the Festival in Ashland, Astoria, Bend, Corvallis, Lincoln City, as well as Portland and Eugene, Oregon. In July 2013, to celebrate the fifth year of this partnership, Monica Huggett and members of PBO will join OBF artistic director designate, Matthew Halls, for performances of music by J.S. Bach in Portland, Eugene, Corvallis and Florence, Oregon.  In March 2013, PBO joined forces with Portland Opera for a second fully-stage production at the Newmark Theater with Handel’s Rinaldo.

Under the direction of Monica Huggett, in 2011 PBO collaborated with Montreal’s Les Voix Baroques and Portland’s Cappella Romana to produce and record Bach’s St. John Passion. The studio recording of that production, made after critically acclaimed performances in Portland, Eugene, Seattle and Vancouver (British Columbia) is available on the AVIE label. This concert, featuring legendary Dutch bass Harry van der Kamp in a programme of rarely heard 17th-century German cantatas, will be performed in Portland, Salem, Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria.