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Introducing the UNT Baroque Orchestra, by Rui Li

Welcome to our blog, and greetings from the University of North Texas Baroque Orchestra. It is my honor to present the UNT Baroque Orchestra and discuss the November 20th, 2015 concert.

It has been a great experience for me to be a member of the UNT Baroque Orchestra. UNT has one of the largest early music programs in North America. Prof. Paul Leenhouts is the conductor of the Baroque Orchestra. This group has appeared at the Boston and Berkeley Early Music Festivals and was invited to perform at the Seventh International Festival “Misiones de Chiquitos” in Bolivia (April – May 2008).

This fall was my first semester in the UNT Baroque Orchestra; it was also my first time playing Baroque period instruments. I feel so lucky to have Cynthia Roberts, baroque violinist, and Allen Whear, baroque cellist, as my private instructors on period instruments. When we first began, I learned the differences between baroque and modern instruments. The difference between modern viola and baroque viola include the nature of the neck, fingerboard, bridge, bass bar, and tailpiece.

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The UNT Baroque Orchestra and Collegium Singers performed on November 20th, 2015 in Murchison Performing Arts Center’s Winspear Performance Hall. This performance was a part of the Czech Christmas Festival. It was also our honor to invite Barbara Maria Willi (a Czech-German harpsichordist) to play with us. She has significantly contributed to the development of historical performance practices in the Czech Republic. She is the program director of Bach’s Organ Autumn in the Czech Republic and member of the Prague Spring Harpsichord Competition Commission.

This evening’s program began with an impressive opening piece by the Baroque Trumpet Ensemble and the Baroque Orchestra played Sonata con arie by Johann Heinrich Schmelzer. (If you are on Safari, Chrome, or Internet Explorer, click on the composers name below to hear the pieces.)

Schmelzer

I felt like the trumpets invited everyone in the audience to listen to our concert! The next piece was performed by the UNT Sackbut Ensemble and written by Antonio Bertali. The soloists Karina Sim and Seowon Lee played baroque violin while Sydney ZumMallen and Su Eun Park played Baroque Cello. In this piece, the violin solo and the cello solo have a beautiful conversation in the middle section.

We performed two U.S. premiere pieces in this concert. The first one was performed by Fantasmi Baroque Ensemble and written by Jan Josef Ignac Brentner.

Brentner

The second one was written by Antonin Reichenauer Baroque violin concerto and the soloist was Hao Miao.

Reichenauer

This performance was dedicated to Cecil Adkins who taught musicology at the College of Music from 1963 to 1988. He was the founder of our Early Music Program, and directed the ensembles in over 400 performances. He also maintained 200 period instruments for student use. We would also like to give a special thanks to Paul Leenhouts, who edited all works. The performance was a huge success and it is thanks to the hard work and dedication of all those involved!

This coming week, February 19, 2016, is the next performance of the UNT Baroque Orchestra and Collegium Singers. Please come hear us in the Murchison Performing Arts Center, Winspear Performance Hall, at 8pm! Or catch the performance on Live Streaming. The concert, entitled “Les Concerts Royaux”, will feature Rebel – Le Cahos, Leclair – Concerto No. 2 in A Major, Six Concertos a tre violini, alto e basso, Opus 10, Marais – Tombeau de Mr. Meliton, Pièces a une et a deux violes, Lully – Chaconne, Amadis, Tragédie en musique Philidor l’aîné – from Pièces de trompettes et timballes, and Charpentier – Te Deum, H. 146, Mélanges autographes, volume 10.


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