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Student ensemble will perform 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13 in the Williams Center for the Arts

Through the use of period instruments and techniques, students in the Marquis Consort are introduced to the music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods as it would have been originally performed.

The College’s early music ensemble will perform a program of 17th-century Italian music 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13 in the Williams Center for the Arts. The concert will consist of vocal and instrumental works by Luigi Rossi, Girolamo Frescobaldi, Giacomo Carissimi, and Stefano Landi. Other campus performances this weekend will include The Graduates choir’s  Christmas Vespers concert 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, in Colton Chapel and Concert Band 8 p.m. Dec. 12 in the Williams Center.

“One of the great things about this ensemble is that we play largely forgotten musical repertories,” says Marquis Consort director Jorge Torres, associate professor of music. “Many early music directors like me are trained musicologists, so many of our pieces are taken from rare and often unpublished sources. I get to find old prints and manuscripts from the 16th and 17th centuries, usually available in facsimiles or microfilms, and transcribe the pieces into modern notation that can be read by modern players. What this means is that many of these works are probably being played by our students for the first time in hundreds of years.”

The concert will feature Torres on vihuela and guitar, Meredith Castor ’10 on violin, Emily Clark ’12 on cello, soprano Danyelle Dell’Olio ’11, Clara Fisher ’10 on viola, soprano Fairouz Foty ’11, Chris Jose ’11 on violin, Nathaniel Kelley ’12 and Peter Lowe ’12 on guitar, and baritone Mike Phillips ’11.

The College had a previous early music ensemble headed by William Melin, professor emeritus of music, in the 1970s. The ensemble was revived by Torres in the fall of 2008. As a specialist in Renaissance music, Melin was responsible for acquiring many of the historical instruments that the ensemble uses in its performances, including flutes, recorders, string instruments, and crumhorns. Through Torres, the department added lutes and guitars to the collection as well.

“I wanted to take what Bill had started many years ago and continue its development for a new generation of Lafayette musicians so that we could continue in the tradition of unique early music performances,” says Torres. “Early music groups are not that common among college ensembles, so this gives our department an additional distinctiveness.”

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