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Baroque violin master Andrew Manze will lead Academy of Ancient Music in performing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and works by Handel and Geminiani 8 p.m. Friday, March 28, at the Williams Center for the Arts.

A limited number of concert tickets remain. For information about availability, contact the box office at 610-330-5009.

Manze is “among the most exciting of early music’s young blades,” according to The Independent of London. He has been referred to as “a violinist with extraordinary flair and improvisatory freedom, the Grapelli of the baroque” (BBC Music Magazine) and “the first modern superstar of the baroque violin” (San Francisco Examiner).

The original Academy of Ancient Music was established in 1726 to study and perform ‘old’ music — defined initially as music composed at least a century earlier, but soon to include more contemporary composers, most notably Handel. In 1973, Christopher Hogwood founded the modern incarnation, one of the first “period-instrument” orchestras, renowned worldwide for its concerts and recordings of music from the Baroque, Classical and early Romantic eras.

The first orchestra to record all of Mozart’s symphonies on period instruments, Academy of Ancient Music has since recorded the complete piano concertos and symphonies of Beethoven and is part-way through recording the complete Haydn symphonies and the complete Mozart piano concertos with fortepianist Robert Levin. Honors for its recordings include a Grammy nomination, the Editor’s Choice prize at the Gramophone Awards 2001, and the Cannes Classical Award last year in the 17th/18th century opera category.

In 1996, the artistic directorship of Academy of Ancient Music was extended with the appointment of Paul Goodwin as associate conductor and Andrew Manze as associate director. Its recordings of commissioned works include two John Taverner albums and an CD celebrating the 350th anniversary of the birth of Corelli. Several recording projects alos have resulted in videos or TV shows.

The ensemble regularly performs in Europe, North and South America, and Southeast Asia. Highlights of the 2002-03 season include two U.S. tours, concerts in Japan, and appearances at major venues across Europe.

A Cambridge Classicist by training, Manze studied the violin with Simon Standage and Marie Leonhardt. He specializes in repertoire from 1610 to 1830. His recordings include Bach’s violin concertos, Vivaldi’s “Concert for the Prince of Poland,” the complete Concerti Grossi Op.6 of Handel (nominated for a Grammy), the Concerti Grossi of Geminiani (after Corelli Op.5), and the Bach harpsichord concertos with soloist Richard Egarr.

Manze became associate director of Academy of Ancient Music in 1996 and is artist-in-residence at Swedish Chamber Orchestra. He is increasingly in demand by modern instrument orchestras and is active as a conductor in large scale oratorio and symphonic repertoire with the Deutsche Sinfonie Orchester as well as the symphony orchestras of Stavanger, Tampere, and Norrköping. He guest directs the chamber orchestras of Zurich, Basel, Västerås and Norway, and period instrument ensembles such as The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Akademie für Alte Musik, Berlin, Philharmonia Baroque, Tafelmusik, and Australian Brandenburg Orchestra.

He has collaborated with Egarr since 1984, earning the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, the Gramophone Award, and Editor’s Choice in Gramophone, as well as a place on the Billboard Charts. Manze is also active in writing programs for the radio and articles for The Times, BBC Music Magazine, and other publications. His cadenzas to Mozart’s violin concertos will be published by Breitkopf & Härtel.

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 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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