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Piffaro, America’s premier Renaissance wind ensemble, will perform in concert with Capilla Flamenca, Belgium’s top early musical vocal consort, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, at Lafayette’s Williams Center for the Arts.

Tickets cost $18 and may be ordered by calling the box office at 610-330-5009.

The program will feature musical tableaus from the traveling court of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. It will include works by Nicolas Gombert, Cristobal Morales, Thomas Crecquillon, Claudin de Sermisy, and Josquin des Pres, among others.

Based in Philadelphia, Piffaro’s members are drawn from the core community of early music experts from the Philadelphia, New York, and Boston areas. The ensemble recreates the elegant sounds of the official, professional wind bands of the late Medieval and Renaissance periods as well as the rustic entertainments of the peasantry, using shawms, sackbuts, dulcians, recorders, krumhorns, bagpipes, lutes, guitars and percussion.

Under the direction of Joan Kimball and Robert Wiemken, Piffaro tours throughout the United States and has performed on many of the major early music series in the U.S., including Music Before 1800 and The Cloisters Concerts in New York City, the Seattle Early Music Guild, the San Francisco Early Music Society, the Concert Society at Maryland, Milwaukee’s Early Music Now, and the Pittsburgh Renaissance & Baroque Society. The ensemble produces its own concert series in Philadelphia, with three to four programs per year. Excerpts from these concerts are regularly broadcast nationwide on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today.”

Piffaro made its European debut in May 1993 at Tage Alter Musik Regensburg. It performed there again in 1996 as part of a tour of summer music festivals in Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, and Italy, and in 1997 and 1998 appeared at festivals in Hamburg, Berlin, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Spain, and Colombia. Since then, Piffaro has returned to Regensburg for a third time, performed two summers in a row at the Spoleto Festival in Italy, made its English debut at the York Early Music Festival, and performed at the Utrecht Early Music Festival last summer.

Piffaro has recorded for Newport Classics and Deutsche Grammophon, Archiv Produktion. Canzoni e Danze, the ensemble’s first recording for DG’s Archiv division, was released in fall 1995, and was followed by a recording of French music in 1996, a recording of Spanish and Portuguese wind music in 1997, and a Flemish recording in March 2000. Since then, it has signed with Dorian Records, and its first recording with that label, Stadtpfeiffer, Wind Music of Renaissance Germany, was released early last year, with its second, a recording of repertoire from Harmonices Musices Odhecaton A, to be released next month.

Capilla Flamenca borrows its name from Emperor Charles V’s court chapel. When this prince left the Low Countries for good in 1517, he took along the country’s best musicians, who made the famous polyphony of the Low Countries resound in Spain as well. The present Capilla Flamenca recruits its specialized musicians mainly from Flanders in order to bring to life again the brilliant music of the golden age of the polyphonists in the Low Countries.

The core of the Capilla Flamenca consists of four male singers: countertenor Marnix De Cat, tenor Jan Caals, baritone Lieven Termont, and bass Dirk Snellings. According to the program being performed, such as the Lafayette concert, the quartet enlarges with complementary singers, an alta cappella, a bassa cappella or an organ.

Capilla Flamenca has recorded more than a dozen albums and appeared in numerous concerts both at home and abroad. Its concert schedule in the past few months has included engagements in Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium.

This Williams Center performance is funded in part by Pennsylvania Artists on Tour, developed and funded by the Vira I. Heinz Endowment; the William Penn Foundation; the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency; and the Pew Charitable Trusts; and administered by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.

The 2001-02 Performance Series at Lafayette is supported in part by gifts from Friends of the Williams Center for the Arts and by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and New England Foundation for the Arts.

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