2022-2023 Concert Season
The One That Was a Hiatus™
2021-2022 Concert Season
The Year That Was Truncated™
Fernando y Bárbara – November 6 & 7, 2021
Though little-known today, Ferdinand VI was Spain’s most musical monarch. At their palaces at Aranjuez and Madrid, Ferdinand and his Portuguese-born wife Queen Maria Bárbara de Braganza employed an army of Spanish and Italian musicians and artists that easily rivaled those at the equally music-obsessed courts of Louis XV or Frederick the Great. Among the king’s musical entourage was Farinelli, the famed castrato who had originally come to Spain to assuage Ferdinand’s father’s melancholy with his voice, and Domenico Scarlatti, who had been the Queen’s harpsichord tutor since the age of ten. This program offered a glimpse into this world, telling the story of Ferdinand and Bárbara’s lives through music by Scarlatti, José de Nebra, Carlos de Seixas, Nicola Conforto, Luigi Boccherini, and others.
Musique pour le Coucher du Roi – April 30 & May 1, 2022
In addition to ruling a nation, Louis XIV presided over one of Europe’s most lavish royal musical establishments, and his taste in music strongly influenced musical tastes across France. Only the best French musicians were members of the musique de chambre, the king’s private retinue of musicians who performed in his personal chambers. Louis’s highly choreographed day was capped off by the coucher, a set of ceremonies that surrounded the king’s evening meal and bedtime. The coucher always involved music, and over the years the coucher brought together such illustrious musicians as Lully, Marais, Couperin, and Rebel, who performed their compositions for the music-obsessed Sun King. This concert included readings from diaries written at Versailles during Louis’s life – it was très magnifique!
2020-2021 Concert Season
The Year That Had COVID-19™
Keeping an Ear to the Ground – Septmber 19, 2020 – Online Concert Event
Since ancient times, musicians have used repeating patterns as a foundation for compositions and improvisations. One of the most common, the ground bass, involves a bass line that repeats itself while the voices above engage in melodic variation of increasing complexity. Later, dances based on repeating chord progressions, like the chaconne and passacaille, became popular, turning up in popular French operas and Italian concertos. Recorded at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Austin and live premiered in high-definition video and audio on YouTube, this program will include music by Handel, Vivaldi, Lully, Purcell, and others. Click here to learn more.
Lamentación y Esperanza – November 21, 2020 – Online Concert Event
One of music’s greatest powers is its ability to wordlessly express the extreme depths of human emotion. 2020 brought with it a great deal of loss and sadness, but there remains for many a strong sense of hope for the future. We honor and remember those who’ve been lost, and hope for a brighter future, through a collection of Iberian and Latin American choral works whose texts relate to lament and loss, hope and light. Featuring music by Lôbo, Magalhães, López de Capillas, Padilla, Guerrero, Victoria, and others, this program will be recorded at historic Mission Concepción and live premiered in high-definition video and audio on YouTube. Click here to learn more.
Go to the Principals’ Office! – May 15, 2021 – Online Concert Event
Ten years ago, our original plan was to form a chamber ensemble – the orchestra and choir bit ended up happening somewhat on its own! We’ll commemorate the midpoint of our tenth season with a return to this original conception, in a program of chamber music curated and performed by seven of our principal players. We’ve selected a smörgåsbord of chamber music from all over Europe, and we’ll present each piece to you along with an introduction by the player who selected it, including why they selected it and something interesting about it. Click here to learn more.
Schütz & Giggles – June 12, 2021 – Online Concert Event
Without a doubt, the greatest German composer before JS Bach was Heinrich Schütz. Though much of his music is lost, including all of his secular music, what remains shows a masterful composer who deftly combined the passion of the Italian early baroque with German craftsmanship, bringing a new brilliance to the music he created for Lutheran worship. His contemporaries were just as enamored with the exciting new styles of music coming out of Italy, and they followed his lead. A small ensemble of instruments and voices will present music by Schütz, along with Schmelzer, Scheidt, Praetorius, and Buxtehude. Click here to learn more.
2019-2020 Concert Season
Concerto [molto] Grosso! – August 24 & 25, 2019 The concerto is one of the most popular and important genres of baroque music. There are concerti for solo instruments, others for groups of instruments, and some that even feature the entire orchestra! Invented by Italians and brought to perfection by Germans, concerti were written by composers from all across Europe with the intent to show off their own virtuosity, or that of a colleague or a specific orchestra. This program will trace the history of the concerto from its earliest stages in Italy through its flowering north of the Alps. Click here to learn more.
Hecho en México – November 16 & 17, 2019 As in Spain, music played an enormously important role in the day-to-day life of a Mexican cathedral, occupying a central place in not only the Mass, but also in daily services like Vespers and Matins. This year’s installment of our annual performance of Latin American early music will be a musical tour of four of Mexico’s most musically prominent cathedrals: Mexico City, Oaxaca, Puebla, and Durango. The concert will feature secular and sacred works by Salazar, Sumaya, Jerúsalem, Billoni, and others, including several US and modern world premieres. Click here to learn more.
Masterless Mistresses – February 15 & 16, 2019 Since their arrival in New Orleans in 1727, the Sisters of St. Ursula have taught and cared for the inhabitants of that most European of American cities without ceasing. A music manuscript in their library remains the only surviving example of music from Louisiana’s colonial period, and is a rare example of French baroque music from our nation’s past. This intimate, candle-lit evening of music will consist of selections from the Manuscrit des Ursulines de la Nouvelle-Orléans, interspersed with readings from the nuns’ diaries and other colonial-era documents. Click here to learn more.
Early Music Idol – Cancelled due to COVID-19 In our first ever audience-participation concert, you’ll get to vote on the merits of four starry-eyed up-and-coming (read: little-known) Baroque composers to decide who gets to be the next Early Music Idol! We’ll have four local early music celebrity judges on hand, with each pleading the case of one of four composers you’ve probably never heard of, but should have! Will the winner be the suave and debonair Frenchman, the powdered-wigged Englishman, the practical, hardworking German, or the pious yet passionate Spaniard? You make the call! Click here to learn more.
Los Elementos – Cancelled due to COVID-19 In 1718, Antonio de Literes composed Spain’s first all-sung, Italianate opera for the birthday celebrations of the Duchess of Medina-Sedonia. In this one-act chamber opera, the four Classical elements—Fire, Air, Earth, and Water—find themselves alone in a garden in the pre-dawn hours arguing over who is the most important. As dawn breaks, they are interrupted by Time itself, who suggests that a better alternative is to work together, and to grace the new day with their combined beauty. Fully staged with costumes and sung in Spanish, with English supratitles. Click here to learn more.
2018-2019 Concert Season
Louis, Louis – September 1 & 2, 2018 A celebration of the 300th anniversary of the founding of New Orleans, this program will consist of beautiful, sumptuous sacred and operatic works from the Chapelle Royale at Versailles and the Opéra in Paris, and even from la Nouvelle-Orléans herself. There will be music associated with the courts of the Roi-Soleil Louis XIV, his great-grandson Louis XV, and the ill-fated Louis XVI, with works by Lully, Rameau, de Lalande, Mondonville, and more. Our first large-scale French concert since 2012 promises to be très magnifique! Click here to learn more.
España Antigua, Nueva España – November 2 & 3, 2018 The Spanish sought to create a “New Spain” in what is today Mexico and the southwestern United States, and this included the composition of appropriate music for their new churches. Soon, cathedral archives became filled with works that would rival those found in Old Spain herself. We’ll commemorate the 300th anniversary of San Antonio’s founding with 16th- and 17th-century music from both Old and New Spain, including works by Morales, Lobo, Flecha, Padilla, and Sumaya, and featuring the Texas premiere of Francisco López Capillas’s Missa de Batalla. Click here to learn more.
Carnevale Veneziano – January 19 & 20, 2019 Just in time for Carnival season, we present a chamber program made up of early baroque works from Venice and northern Italy. Often seen as a reaction against the controlled restraint of the late Renaissance, music in 17th-century Italy changed drastically, and the expressivity and emotional frankness of the music of Monteverdi and his contemporaries can be arresting, even today. Works by Monteverdi, Merula, Uccellini, Strozzi, Bertoli, and others, performed by a small ensemble including violin, recorder, cello, dulcian, harp, and theorbo. Click here to learn more.
Viva Vivaldi! – April 6 & 7, 2019 Electrifying, passionate, sensual — these are but a few words that can describe the genius that was the music of Antonio Vivaldi. Known to his contemporaries as il prete rosso (the Red Priest) on account of his red hair, his music has enchanted millions since it found widespread popularity nearly a century ago. Our first all-Vivaldi program will consist of a diverse assortment of his instrumental and vocal output, with concerti featuring talented ABO soloists, overtures, chamber works, as well as arias from his sacred and operatic œuvre. Click here to learn more.
Eine Kleine Kammermusik – June 1 & 2, 2019 We close our season with a musical voyage to Napoleonic France and Biedermeier Vienna, with chamber music featuring ABO’s principal players. We’ll perform music by Beethoven, with a piano quartet from his youthful and Haydn-influenced First Period, along with a quintet by his childhood friend Antoine Reicha, the so-called “Father of the Wind Quintet.” We’ll end with Louis Spohr’s Gran Nonetto, a rarely-performed and virtuosic work that is a perfect blend of Classical balance and Romantic passion. Click here to learn more.
2017-2018 Concert Season
Known Unknowns – September 23 & 24, 2017 Our season opener features hidden and forgotten gems by some of the Baroque era’s heavyweights. Forget the Canon in D – we’ll be performing one of Pachelbel’s Parthie a 5, along with J.S. Bach’s Concerto in C minor for Violin & Oboe featuring Concertmaster Stephanie Raby and Artistic Director Billy Traylor. It’s not all German, though – we’ll include operatic excerpts from Rameau and Vivaldi. And finally, to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Georg Philipp Telemann’s death, we’ll perform the Austin premier of his rarely performed oratorio Der Tag des Gerichts. Click here to learn more.
For All the Saints – October 28 & 29, 2017 Our annual performance of Latin American music will feature music for the feasts and holidays of the Church year. With music for major annual celebrations like Christmas, Corpus Christi, and the Assumption, as well as minor feasts like St. Joseph’s Day and St. Peter’s Day and regional celebrations such as St. Ildephonsus’ Day and the Solemnity of Our Lady of Guadalupe, this program will be a fiesta of musical beauty! Music by Salazar, Jerúsalem, Tollis de la Rocca, Sumaya, Salas, Nebra, and more. Click here to learn more.
When Freddie Met Frankie – January 20 & 21, 2018 This intimate program will give a glimpse into the world of the music-obsessed, flute-playing Frederick the Great, whose complex relationship with the French philosopher Voltaire began before the author’s residence at court and extended beyond his abrupt departure. The concert will consist of works by composers employed, admired, or coveted by the king, including JS and CPE Bach, Hasse, Schaffrath, Graun, Benda, and Čart, interspersed with readings from Frederick’s correspondence with Voltaire. Click here to learn more.
String Break! – March 3 & 4, 2018 Join us for our springtime celebration of ABO’s phenomenal string players, who will demonstrate to you the development of string ensemble literature, from Renaissance canzonas to Baroque concerti grossi and Romantic sinfonias. Much of this music is Italian, but non-Italian composers readily emulated (and copied) the latest music to come across the Alps. With works from Frescobaldi, Muffat, Corelli, Vivaldi, Handel, Mendelssohn, and more, this program will be a musical springtime jaunt across Europe! Click here to learn more.
Unknown Unknowns – May 26 & 27, 2018 We close our season with a return to our roots as a champion of obscure and forgotten music! Our understanding of the Classical era today is so altered by the magnitude of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven that we often forget that many, many composers other than those three were active in the second half of the eighteenth century. This program will introduce you to a varied group of works from the Classical era’s less-known masters, including music by Reicha, Holzbauer, Bonno, and Grétry. Click here to learn more.
2016-2017 Concert Season
Wholly Handel! – September 17 & 18, 2016 One of the titans of western music, George Frideric Handel’s name has never disappeared from concert programs since his death, an amazing feat considering how many of his once-famous peers faded into relative obscurity. We’ll open our season with a sampling of Handel’s orchestral and choral output, including the Oboe Concerto in G minor featuring oboist and Artistic Director Billy Traylor, the Concerto Grosso in B-flat major (op. 3 no. 1), Zadok the Priest, and instrumental pieces, arias, and choruses from Israel in Egypt, Messiah, Belshazzar, Solomon, Rinaldo, Giulio Cesare, and more! Click here to learn more.
Native Tongues – November 5 & 6, 2016 The Spanish and Portuguese conquistadores encountered a myriad of cultures upon their arrival in the New World. These indigenous peoples spoke an array of languages, and the colonizers used their knowledge of these languages in their conversion of the natives to Catholicism. Our fifth annual program of Latin American music will include a wide variety of sacred pieces from 16th- and 17th-century Spain, Mexico, Guatemala, and Bolivia, with texts in Nahuatl, Quechua, Chiquitano, Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin, including works by Gaspar Fernandes, Domenico Zipoli, Antonio de Salazar, Tomás de Torrejón y Velasco, and the ever-popular Anonymous. Click here to learn more.
Friends & Family – January 28 & 29, 2017 Composers in the past didn’t live in a bubble! With so many musicians working in Europe in the late 18th century, it’s no surprise that so many of them were friends, or even related to one another. They spent plenty of time together on and off of the job, and all of them were familiar with the works of the others. Music by Mozart père and fils, Salieri, J.C. Bach, and Joseph & Michael Haydn. Click here to learn more.
J.S. Bach’s Passion According to St. John – March 18 & 19, 2017 Bach composed the St. John Passion for Good Friday services in Leipzig in 1724, and it remains a testament to his brilliant genius and emotional depth. Though more intimate than the St. Matthew Passion, this setting of the story of Christ’s death is no less moving. Austin’s first period-instrument performance of the Passion in a number of years will feature several of ABO’s talented vocal and instrumental soloists in a Lenten concert, the ensemble’s first presentation of this monumental work. Click here to learn more.
Forces of Nature – May 6 & 7, 2017 We close our sixth season with 18th-century orchestral music inspired by Mother Nature herself! From Haydn’s depiction of morning (Symphony no. 6, “Le matin”) to Jean-Féry Rebel’s musical retelling of the Ancient Greek creation myth (Les Élemens), you’ll see that many baroque and classical needed only look outside their door for compositional ideas. We’ll also bring you nature-inspired arias from Handel’s Scipione and Rameau’s Platée, sung by soprano Julianna Emanski, and we’ll close with JS Bach’s virtuosic Brandenburg Concerto no. 1. Click here to learn more.
2015-2016 Concert Season
Music Fit For a King (or Queen) – August 22 & 23, 2015 Since ancient times, royals have inspired the pens of composers, whether through their (mis)deeds or their patronage. We open our fifth season with music written for or about royalty, featuring Haydn’s Symphony no. 85, called “La Reine” because it was said to have been Marie Antoinette’s favorite, and including works by Purcell, Zelenka, Dauvergne, and Vivaldi. Learn more.
Les goûts-réünis, pt. 1 – Gli italiani – October 3 & 4, 2015 Seventeenth-century Italian music is dazzling, mercurial, virtuosic, passionate. This exciting repertoire set the stage for the high baroque as it percolated northward from Italy into Austria and beyond. Join us as we dazzle you with a variety of works from the Italian seicento, including music by Monteverdi, Uccellini, Merula, Corelli, and Biber. Learn more.
A Tale of Three Cathedrals – November 14 & 15, 2015 The cathedral archives of Latin America hold a treasure trove of sacred music written for the many holidays and feasts of the church year. Our annual concert of Latin American music will feature music from Mexico, including ornate baroque works by Sumaya and Salazar, along with pleasant galant music by Jerúsalem, Billoni, and others. Learn more.
Les goûts-réünis, pt. 2 – Les français – February 20 & 21, 2016 Grace, elegance, and delicacy are just a few hallmarks of the music of the French Baroque. From the court of the Sun King to the salons of Paris, this highly ornamented music of French composers tickled the ears of courtiers and philosophers alike. Works by Marais, Lully, Boismortier, Rameau, and more. Learn more.
Magnificent, Miraculous, Magical Mozart – May 28 & 29, 2016 We close our fifth season with a celebration of the wunderkind of Salzburg! Mozart’s music continues to astound with its sublime beauty, grace, and balance. We’ll present a variety of masterworks including the Symphony no. 33, the Bassoon Concerto in B-flat major with ABO bassoonist Elizabeth Hardy, and the Coronation Mass, featuring soprano soloist Meredith Ruduski. Learn more.
2014-2015 Concert Season
Water Works – August 23 & 24, 2014 The Austin Baroque Orchestra kicks off its fourth season with a series of pieces inspired by water. We’ll play Handel’s beloved Water-Musick, composed for a barge party on the River Thames, and feature ABO hornists Drew Stephen and Kevin Miescke on a concerto by Vivaldi, a native of the watery city of Venice. Along with that, we’ll thrill you with Telemann’s musical depiction of water deities and rushing tides, and an exciting musical storm from Marais. Learn more.
Youthful Indiscretions – October 4 & 5, 2014 Some of classical music’s heavyweights died young, but in those short lives many of them composed more exquisite music than others who lived twice as long. The ABO will captivate you with Mozart’s cheerful Violin Concerto in G major, featuring concertmaster Edmond Chan, and move you with Pergolesi’s stirring Salve Regina in C minor. Add to that music from Schubert and Mendelssohn, and you’ll be amazed that such music could have flowed from the pens of such young men. Learn more.
España Antigua, Nueva España – November 15 & 16, 2014 The cathedrals of Old Spain and New Spain required a great deal of high-quality music, and their chapelmasters were all too happy to oblige. Our annual concert of Latin American early music will feature works from Old World masters (including Morales and Victoria) as well as New World composers, including Padilla and Capillas, along with Mexico City Cathedral’s last four colonial chapelmasters: Sumaya, Jerúsalem, Tollis de la Rocca, and Juanas. Learn more.
A Cantata By Any Other Name… – March 14 & 15, 2015 You probably are familiar with the term “cantata,” but did you know originally it simply referred to a piece meant to be sung? We’ll show you the wide variety of sacred works for choir and orchestra in the Baroque era, including a motet, an ode, a Marian hymn, and a Lutheran cantata. Featuring J.S. Bach’s masterful Jesu, der du meine Seele and Charpentier’s regal Te Deum in D major, along with works by Buxtehude, Galuppi, and Jerúsalem. Learn more.
Handel’s Esther – May 23 & 24, 2015 Handel’s operas were wildly popular in London. They were so popular that the immigrant Handel was soon the most famous musician in the English capital, and he had more than his share of friends, enemies, and frenemies. He soon sought to find ways to make even more money by composing, and in the process created the musical genre most commonly associated with his name: the English oratorio. Some of the master’s most popular music originated in these operatic retellings of Biblical stories, and a number of them are still performed regularly today. Esther was his first, a 1732 reworking of a masque he originally wrote for the Duke of Chandos in 1718. Learn more.
2013-2014 Concert Season
The Dresden Files – September 14 & 15, 2013 Join the Austin Baroque Orchestra and Coro Settecento for our third season with the virtuosic music of the Saxon court at the time of Augustus the Strong. Featuring solos from violinist Edmond Chan and countertenor Sawyer Sellers, we’ll be playing music by Zelenka, Hasse, Vivaldi, Pisendel, and others. Click here for concert program.
Croissant Baroque – October 12 & 13, 2013 We return to our origins as a chamber ensemble, presenting French chamber music from the time of the founding of New Orleans. Experience what an aristocratic, mid-eighteenth century musical soirée in the Crescent City might’ve been like, with works from Couperin, Boismortier, Corrette, Clérambault, and more. Click here for concert program.
North & South – November 16 & 17, 2013 The music produced in Spain’s colonies in the New World was just as ornate, complex, and beautiful as anything found in the mother country, and this music is only recently being rediscovered. Join us as we explore the sacred music of Mexico, Bolivia, and Peru, including Ignacio de Jerúsalem’s rarely-performed Matins for the Virgin of Guadalupe, and music by Zipoli, Padilla, and more. Click here for concert program.
Haydn-Go-Seek – March 8 & 9, 2014 You’ve heard of Papa Haydn, but did you know he had a little brother? Along with excerpts from Michael Haydn’s Responsories for Holy Week, we’ll play (among other works) Joseph Haydn’s “Alleluia” Symphony, the Nicolaimesse, and will feature organist Steve Wiberg on the charming Organ Concerto in D major, all using replicas of Classic-era instruments. Learn More
Carl Heinrich Graun’s Montezuma – April 12 & 13, 2014 Experience the sumptuousness of baroque opera as we present the story of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, with music by Frederick the Great’s opera maestro Carl Heinrich Graun, and a libretto by none other than Freddie himself. Our first operatic production will be semi-staged and sung in Italian with English supratitles. Learn More
Salon Classique – May 24 & 25, 2014 Settecento will close its third season with the sublime chamber music of the Classic era. You’ll enjoy this chamber music the way it originally was, in an intimate setting, using Classical instruments. We’ll revel in the youthful brilliance of Mozart, the humor and wit of Haydn, and the exotic, Spanish influences of Boccherini, along with equally charming fare by J.C. Bach and Christian Cannabich. Learn More