May 1, 2015 | 8:00pm
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“This is a disc that merits the attention of anybody who appreciates the highest flights of violin playing, from whatever period.” – The Daily Telegraph, review of Monica Huggett’s recording of music by Biber
Monica Huggett celebrates her 20th season with the Portland Baroque Orchestra with a Northwest tour of Vivaldi’s inimitable Four Seasons (plus additional works by Vivaldi and Matthew Locke). Experience sounds and scenes of nature and country life with the virtuosity and theatricality that Monica and the wonderful Portland Baroque Orchestra deliver.
Vivaldi Violin Concerto “Spring” op. 8 no. 1
Vivaldi String Sinfonia “alla Rustica” RV 151
Vivaldi Violin Concerto “Summer” op. 8 no. 2
Locatelli Lamento in F Minor
Vivaldi Violin Concerto “Autumn” op. 8 no. 3
M. Locke Curtain tune from “The Tempest”
Vivaldi Violin Concerto “Winter” op. 8 no. 4
To be added soon…
Monica Huggett, artistic director and violin soloist
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. This 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 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 (PBO’s first artistic advisor); 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 Arion Baroque Orchestra, Montreal; Tafelmusik, Toronto; the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Philharmonia Baroque, San Francisco; the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra; the Seville Baroque Orchestra; and Concerto Copenhagen. She also performs frequently as a solo violinist all over the world.
The 2013-14 season marks Monica’s 18th as artistic director of Portland Baroque Orchestra. Under her leadership the orchestra has achieved an ever-higher level of artistic excellence and expanded its historically informed repertoire through the Classical period to the early Romantic. Her achievements with PBO include a week-long festival of Bach on the 250th Anniversary of his death, the commission and world premiere of a Baroque-inspired violin concerto and two commercial CD releases (Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante and Concertone on the Virgin Veritas label and Giuliani’s Guitar Concerto and Boccherini’s Guitar Sinfonia on Koch International). She has also released two limited-edition live recordings with Portland Baroque Orchestra, one entirely of music by J.S. Bach, and, in 2008, her first new release of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons since 1992, paired with his complete Opus 11 violin concerti.
Monica’s discography numbers in the hundreds, many of which, sadly, are currently out of print. Her award winning CDs of Biber Sonatas with Sonnerie will be re-released by Universal Music later this season. Universal will also soon make many of her out-of-print recordings available to the public again as downloads.
Among her recent prizes is 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. Monica and Ensemble Sonnerie received a 2009 Grammy™ nomination for J.S. Bach: Orchestral Suites for a Young Prince, and was recently praised by the New York Times for her “sizzling rendering” (Allan Kozinn, 2/9/2010) of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 with her Juilliard Baroque ensemble.
Alongside her work at Juilliard and Portland Baroque Orchestra, Monica continues as artistic director of the Irish Baroque Orchestra.
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, B.C., is available on the AVIE label. In April 2014, legendary Dutch bass, Harry van der Kamp will join PBO under Huggett for a program of rarely heard 17th-century German Cantatas with performances in Portland, Salem, Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria, B.C.