Founded in 2007 by British baroque violinist and conductor Garry Clarke, Baroque Band has rapidly established itself as a leading member of Chicago’s musical community and has gained an international reputation as one of the most exciting period-instrument ensembles in the United States. In 2010, BBC Music Magazine proclaimed the Band one of America’s top five baroque ensembles.
In addition to its own subscription series, including performances at Chicago’s Symphony Center, Baroque Band has been featured at the Ravinia Festival, Madison Early Music Festival, American Bach Society conference, International Viola d’amore Conference, Dame Myra Hess Concert Series, and at the Art Institute of Chicago as part of the Chicago Latino Music Festival. Baroque Band’s three-year, three-opera collaboration with Chicago Opera Theater earned the Band praise from The Wall Street Journal as “an excellent period-instrument orchestra.” Baroque Band is regularly invited to tour nationally, including most recently to Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Oregon; and to Palo Alto, Berkeley, and San Francisco as part of the San Francisco Early Music Festival. The orchestra is also regularly heard on the airwaves, broadcasting from the studios of 98.7 WFMT Radio. In summer 2008, WFMT appointed Baroque Band as the station’s first-ever Resident Ensemble.
Baroque Band has brought international guest soloists and artists to its stages, including sopranos Dame Emma Kirkby and Lucy Crowe from England, British directors Harry Bicket and Simon Standage, former Chicago Symphony Orchestra principal oboist Alex Klein, baroque violinist Monica Huggett, Spanish countertenor Xavier Sabata, and British countertenor Iestyn Davies.
In 2009, to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death, Baroque Band gave three performances of Handel’s “Dublin” Messiah — the original version of his masterpiece, which was premiered in Dublin in 1742. NewCity listed those performances — alongside concerts by Simon Rattle with the Berlin Philharmonic and Riccardo Muti with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra — as among Chicago’s top five classical concerts of the year.
Baroque Band’s first CD for Cedille Records, featuring Heinrich Biber’s Mensa Sonora, has earned international critical acclaim. Baroque Band continues to earn high praise from audiences and press for performances at home, on tour, and on disc that take a fresh look at the baroque era. According to the Chicago Tribune, “Baroque Band’s programs of unusual Baroque instrumental and vocal literature continue to make its concerts unmissable.”
For more information about Baroque Band visit baroqueband.org