NATCHITOCHES –The Austin Baroque Orchestra, a period-instrument orchestra based in Texas’ capital city, will present a program of Baroque music at Northwestern State University Tuesday, Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. This is the orchestra’s first performance in Louisiana, and will showcase the work of some of the most popular composers of the Baroque era. Ticket prices are $10 for non NSU and LSMSA students, $20 for senior citizens and $25 general admission and can be purchased either at the door (cash, check and all major credit/debit cards accepted), or through the ensemble’s website (austinbaroqueorchestra.org). NSU and LSMSA students, faculty, and staff are admitted free with valid ID. Founded in 2011 as a chamber ensemble called Ensemble Settecento, the Austin Baroque Orchestra originally consisted of 10 players and one singer. The ABO and its associated chorus are now comprised of 35 young instrumentalists and singers who are eager to share their love for Renaissance, Baroque, and Classic-era music. The players perform using period-appropriate performance practices, on replicas of 17th- and 18th-century instruments, while the chorus members sing in a historically informed manner, including the use of historic diction. “I’m incredibly excited to be coming home to Louisiana and to be bringing my ABO colleagues with me,” said Artistic Director Billy Traylor, a native of Denham Springs. “It’s so rare that period-instrument ensembles perform in Louisiana, so when Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra conductor Doug Bakenhus invited us to come to Natchitoches to perform, I very happily agreed to put a program together.” A baroque oboist and harpsichordist, Traylor is an NSU alumnus (M.M., 2004) and also was a student in Indiana University’s prestigious Early Music Institute. “The concert we’ve prepared will include some of the most beloved genres of the first half of the 18th century, including concerto grosso, cantata, and overture, and will include music by some of the greatest composers to ever live. Because of this ‘sampler’ quality of the program, it would make an ideal introduction for those unfamiliar with the use of period instruments – replicas of instruments from the Baroque era. I’m also very happy that Dr. Bakenhus and Dr. Dennette McDermott will be joining us on this performance, on baroque bassoon and baroque flute, respectively.” The concert, entitled “Live [Baroque] Music Capital(s) of the World,” references both Austin’s nickname as the “Live Music Capital of the World” and the fact that the works performed all originated in the most important musical centers of 18th-century Europe. Among these will be works by George Frideric Handel (London), Jean-Philippe Rameau (Paris), Antonio Vivaldi (Venice), and Ignacio Jerúsalem (Mexico City). To close the concert, the orchestra will be joined by a small choir made up of NSU faculty and student singers for a performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata “Jesu, der du meine Seele.” The Austin Baroque Orchestra & Chorus seeks to entertain and engage audiences by presenting high-caliber performances of both well and lesser-known works from the 17th and 18th centuries. Their concerts, on period instruments and informed by the latest research in performance practice, include works by renowned masters as well as pieces by less familiar composers. Each performance is preceded by an informative and informal discussion of the music and composers, led by the artistic director.
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