Arts & Entertainment

Ensemble bringing its repertoire to Tri-Cities

The Baltimore Consort ensemble has had its share of Top 10 albums on the Billboard charts.

The group's mix of early music from England, Scotland, France, Italy and Spain is like "speaking to the heart as well as the mind" music critics say.

The troupe also draws into its repertoire arrangements that are gleaned from America's Appalachian mountain region and Nova Scotia in eastern Canada.

The seven-member ensemble performs its renowned balladry and dance tunes for Tri-Citians on Oct. 11.

Baltimore Consort's members are Mary Anne Ballard, Mark Cudek, Larry Lipkis, Ronn McFarlane, Minday Rosenfeld, Jose Lemos and Danielle Svonavec.

What perhaps makes this group's sound so unique is the members use period instruments.

Ballard plays violin and the rebec -- a three-stringed, pear-shaped instrument that was played with a bow during the Middle Ages. She also performs with Galileo's Daughters, Brio and the Oberlin Consort of Viols.

Cudek also plays violin as well as Renaissance guitar and cittern, which is in the guitar family. It's a pear-shaped instrument with a flat back that was popular from the 15th to the 18th centuries. Cudek is founder and director of the Peabody Renaissance Ensemble at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.

Lipkis is the composer in residence and director of early music at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa. He plays bassoon and trombone.

McFarlane plays various lutes, which were another stringed instrument popular centuries ago. In 1996, McFarlane was given an honorary doctorate degree in music from Shenandoah University in Virginia for his work in bringing the lute and its music to a worldwide audience.

Rosenfeld, the founding member of the group, plays flute. She is a summertime faculty member at Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute in Ohio where she conducts various violin workshops.

Lemos, a countertenor, is currently touring with the group as a guest vocalist. A countertenor's falsetto range is similar to a contralto and can sometimes reach a soprano level.

Svonavec also is a guest soprano vocalist currently touring with Baltimore Consort. She also has toured with the Smithsonian Chamber Players and the South Bend Chamber Orchestra, and is currently the Cantor for the nationally televised Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame in Indiana.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com

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