Celebrating the beauty of baroque

An exquisite evening of music that promises to warm the soul wraps up the Faculty Artists and Friends season, Mar. 17 at 8 p.m. in the University Recital Hall. La Virtuosissima Cantatrice: Songs by Italian Baroque Women, features special guest ensemble Cecilia's Circle, highlighting the beauty of baroque chamber music by prolific women composers.

Comprised of four exceptional musicians, Dr. Vivian Montgomery (harpsichord), Dr. Julie Andrijeski (baroque violin), Ann Marie Morgan (viola da gamba) and U of L music faculty
Dr. Janet Youngdahl, Cecilia's Circle has performed its music throughout the United States and Canada. Since its inception in 1991, the group has been committed to bringing new life to the long-buried brilliance of many women composers.

Cecilia's Circle came together when the members were doing graduate studies, and has continued for the past 20 years. All four musicians continue to teach, and have busy independent performance careers.

Montgomery, who holds numerous awards from international early keyboard competitions, and received a Solo Recitalist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, teaches harpsichord and historical performance practice at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. Andrijeski serves on the historical performance faculties of both the Peabody Conservatory and Case Western Reserve University, while Morgan is on the Early Music Faculties of the Peabody Conservatory of Music and the Interlochen Center for the Arts. A member of the U of L music faculty, Youngdahl is the director of the U of L Singers.

The Mar. 17 concert highlights the outstanding talents of two Italian women composers, Barbara Strozzi and Isabella Leonarda.

"They were both prolific, expert composers; Strozzi existed in the secular world as an unmarried woman with children, and Leonarda, a respected nun and leader of her own convent," says Youngdahl. "Listeners will be surprised by the passion and virtuosity of the works by these composers. Although they developed in very different realms, they both managed to bring significant ardor and drama to their works."

During their week-long residency at the University, Cecilia's Circle will also perform as part of the Music at Noon concert series, Tuesday, Mar. 15 at 12:15 pm in the University Recital Hall, present a lecture in a music history class and work with music students.

Reserve tickets to La Virtuosissima Cantatrice at the U of L Box Office or by calling 403-329-2616. Tickets are priced at $15 for regular admission and $10 for students and seniors.

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