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One of the major success stories on the international Early Music scene today, the Red Priest ensemble will perform works by Vivaldi, Bach, LeClair, Tartini, van Eyck, Purcell, Diego Ortiz, and others in its “Baroque Fantasy” concert 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, at the Williams Center for the Arts.

Tickets cost $4 with Lafayette ID. For the public, individual tickets cost $18. A Basically Baroque subscription also includes the March 28 concert by Academy of Ancient Music with guest baroque violinist Andrew Manze. The $39 subscription price represents a savings of $4 compared to the total cost of the individual concerts if purchased separately.

For information on subscription packages and individual tickets, call the Williams Center at 610-330-5010. Starting Tuesday, Aug. 27, call the box office at 610-330-5009 from noon-2 p.m., 4-5 p.m., and one hour before performances.

Red Priest is comprised of Piers Adams, recorder; Julia Bishop, violin; Angela East, cello; and Howard Beach, harpsichord.

The Washington Post has found Red Priest’s playing to be “effortless, a barrel of fun and almost invisibly subtleimmaculately forged and cunningly phrased. An electrified audience shouted and cheered.”

Gramophone calls Red Priest “the UK’s most dynamic, theatrical and outrageously different baroque ensembleRed Priest has the fire, technical ability and sheer daring to bring it offbrilliant and inspired musicianship.”

“Listening to the incredible virtuoso displays, I found myself rather overawed,” noted a review in The Virginia Gazette. “All four displayed extraordinary technique and skill, especially given the lightning tempi of many of the sections.”

The Denver Post wrote of a performance, “the results were nothing short of electrifying. The English quartet combined a supremely accomplished level of musicianship with an almost superhuman energy and a sense of showmanship in a concert that will stand as one of the season’s best.”

Named after the flame-haired priest, Antonio Vivaldi, Red Priest has re-defined the art of baroque music performance, combining the fruits of extensive research with swashbuckling virtuosity, creative re-composition, heart-on-sleeve emotion, and compelling stagecraft. The group performs largely from memory, allowing an operatic level of freedom and interaction, and its highly imaginative programs are drawn from myriad baroque sources to create a kaleidoscopic range of moods and colors.

Formed in 1997, Red Priest gives over 50 concerts a year in some of the most prestigious festivals and venues in Europe and the United States, together with radio and television broadcasts and CD recordings. Its debut disc, Priest on the Run,, was released in 1998 to high acclaim from the press, and the ensemble has now embarked on a five-year recording project with Dorian Recordings.

Adams is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest recorder virtuosi. His playing has been described as “astonishing” (Washington Post), “breathtaking” (London Daily Telegraph), and “staggering” (Gramophone). He has performed in numerous festivals and at premier concert halls throughout the world, including London’s Royal Festival and Wigmore and Queen Elizabeth Halls, and as soloist with orchestras including the Philharmonia, the English Sinfonia, the Academy of Ancient Music, the Singapore Simphony, and the BBC Symphony. Piers has made several solo CDs.

Bishop is one of the outstanding baroque violin specialists of her generation, with a virtuoso style described in BBC Music Magazine as “psychedelic”. She has toured the world with most of the UK’s leading period instrument orchestras, including the English Concert, of which she was a member for six years. She is now in great demand as an orchestral leader and soloist, in particular with the celebrated Gabrieli Consort, with whom she performs internationally and records for Deutsche Grammophon. She has also appeared as concerto soloist with Florilegium, the Brandenburg Consort, and the Hanover Band, and regularly coaches and directs the baroque orchestra of the Royal Academy of Music, London. This year marks the recording of her first recital disc.

East is widely respected as one of the most brilliant and dynamic performers in the period instrument world, praised in The Times (London) for the “elemental power” of her cello playing. She has given numerous concerto performances in London’s Queen Elizabeth and Wigmore Halls, and has performed as soloist and continuo cellist with many of Europe’s leading baroque orchestras. Her list of concert credits include La Scala, Milan, Sydney Opera House, Versailles, and Glyndebourne. In 1991, East formed The Revolutionary Drawing Room, which performs chamber works from the revolutionary period in Europe on original instruments, and whose first eight CDs have received glowing reviews worldwide. In May 2001 she recorded the complete Bach Cello Suites.

Beach’s uniquely wide-ranging style of keyboard playing has been developed through years of partnering fine musicians in many different fields of music, as well as his own experience as an accomplished singer and violinist. As an outstanding student he was piano accompanist to Bryn Terfel and numerous other prize-winning singers and instrumentalists. Since 1989 he has worked regularly with Adams in concert and in the recording studio as both harpsichordist and pianist including several performances in London’s Wigmore Hall and tours throughout Europe, Canada, and the Far East. He has also performed and recorded as a concerto soloist and continuo player with Les Arts Florissants, Apollo Chamber Orchestra, and London Mozart Players. Beach broadcasts frequently on radio and has been consultant and performer on programs for UK’s Channel 4 TV.

The nationally recognized Performance Series at Lafayette attracts more than 10,000 people each season. It has been cited for performing excellence by the National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, Chamber Music America, Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund, Pennsylvania Arts and Humanities Councils, and Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

The 2002-03 Performance Series at Lafayette College is supported in part by gifts from Friends of the Williams Center for the Arts; by the F.M. Kirby Foundation; by provisions of the Alan and Wendy Pesky Artist-in-Residence Program, the James Bradley Fund, and the Ed Brunswick Jazz Fund; and by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour, and New England Foundation for the Arts.

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