Take a trip back in time with UA's baroque ensemble

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Courtesy of the UA Fred Fox School of Music

An image promoting Arizona Baroque Vivaldi!, an event by the UA Fred Fox School of Music. The Arizona Baroque ensemble will perform lesser-known works by the famous composer.

The Fred Fox School of Music will be welcoming the Arizona Baroque ensemble on Nov. 18 in Holsclaw Hall. Arizona Baroque, the UA’s baroque ensemble, will perform an all-Vivaldi concert, featuring his lesser-known vocal and instrumental works.

“The performance includes a sinfonia from an opera, a cello concerto, a trio for lute, a concerto for recorder and oboe and vocal excerpts from two operas,” according to the Fred Fox School of Music’s website.

Founded three years ago by Olman Alfaro, a graduate student in vocal performance as well as the ensemble’s tenor vocalist. Arizona Baroque is dedicated to interpreting, analyzing and studying early music from an academic perspective. It strives to foster the performance of little-known and sometimes recently discovered repertoire from the 17th and 18th centuries.

“A lot of the music that we perform is hardly played,” Olman said. “There are even times when we are reading directly from a copy of the composer’s manuscript. We have to study the music for quite some time to discern how it is to be played.”

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The ensemble consists of a handful of graduate and undergraduate students in the music department and is coached by Dr. John Brobeck, an associate professor and the director of graduate studies in music.

“Performing with the ensemble is a nice experience,” said Mariana Mevans, a masters student in the harpsichord performance studio. “I enjoy the Baroque music; it’s a whole new experience in the world of music. Composers of [the 17th and 18th centuries] are unlike the kind we hear from today.”

Recently returning from the 37th International Festival of Early Music in Zaragoza, Spain, and from being coached by top European musicians and scholars, the Arizona Baroque ensemble is excited to use its newfound experience this week.

The group’s concert will showcase all work written by Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, an Italian baroque composer of the 18th century.

“The inspiration for this ensemble’s formation was that there really wasn’t any chamber groups based in early music,” Olman said. “While Vivaldi is a well-known composer, our aim is to focus on his neglected music.”

In addition to baroque music, there will be an appearance of baroque-styled instruments. For example, the violinists will be using baroque-styled bows for their instruments, adding to the tone and sound quality of the music.

The ensemble also proves to be a very educational environment. At its concert, the group will discuss one of the pieces they will perform.

“One of our pieces is supposedly written by Vivaldi, but at the concert we’re going to give an explanation on why it might not be his,” Alfaro said.

The ensemble also offers an excellent opportunity for undergraduate students to gain experience alongside graduate students.

“I really love working with the graduate students,” said Emily Asay, a music education senior. “We’re able to bounce ideas off each other. It really helps [my] ability to play with [them].”

The Arizona Baroque ensemble will be performing in Holsclaw Hall at the Fred Fox School of Music on Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are only $5 and can be purchased at tickets.arizona.edu.


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