EUBO - Celebrating the 2017 European Day of Early Music
As part of the transcontinental celebration of the European Day of Early Music 2017, coordinated by the European Early Music Network REMA-EEMN, we were delighted to welcome the unique European Union Baroque Orchestra (EUBO) to the NCEM for a residency and performance. Directed by the celebrated Danish harpsichordist Lars Ulrik Mortensen, and featuring the talents of soprano Maria Keohane from Sweden and the UK-based Croatian violinist Bojan Čičić, EUBO presented an evening performance on 21 March 2017, titled Betrayal and Betrothal featuring Handel's newly rediscovered Cantata Tu fedel? Tu costante? HWV171a, Bach's Wedding Cantata Weichet nur BWV 202 and other inspiring works by these two masters of the baroque. The concert was broadcast live by BBC Radio 3 and live streamed on NCEM's Facebook page.
EUBO's residency at NCEM ran from 15-21 March and included a packed programme of rehearsals and coaching, during which the young and talented orchestra members from different EU member states came together to deepen their collective knowledge of baroque orchestral repertoire. As part of the residency, EUBO and NCEM also offered educational opportunities to local young people:
On Saturday 18 March, York's youth early music ensemble, the Minster Minstrels, had an exciting morning at the National Centre for Early Music, starting with a tour of the venue and an insight into how an arts organisation is run. This was followed by an open rehearsal session with EUBO, in which Minster Minstrels had the opportunity to sit in amongst the EUBO players while they worked on two of the Handel pieces in their repertoire - the Concerto Grosso Op. 6 and the Sonata in G Major HWV 399. The visit was rounded off by a rare and exciting Q&A session between the Minster Minstrels and the members of EUBO, in which young musicians were able to seek guidance on performance and techniques, as well as gather inspiration and learn more about the professional musical world. These activities formed part of the Minster Minstrels' Explore level Arts Award, on which all members are currently working.
On Monday 20 March, EUBO once again motivated young minds to tune into and enjoy early music, through an informal concert for 80 Key Stage 2 pupils from Heworth Primary School. This presentation, led by Dr Mirjam James of Music For Open Ears, sought to introduce young people to the instruments of the orchestra, to compare baroque instruments to their more familiar modern equivalents, and to unpick the stories and sounds of Bach's Wedding Cantata BWV 202. Joined by soprano Maria Keohane, EUBO gave a full performance of this piece to a rapt audience of 7-11 year olds.
Young people involved in these opportunities told us they found the experience:
- "Exciting and new - really different to what I would listen to normally but I liked it"
- "Such an amazing thing to be able to do!"
- "Inspiring! I want to keep playing and be as good as them"
- "Not something you get to do everyday - sit right next to these amazing musicians and see them play and learn from them. Amazing!"
The European Union Baroque Orchestra is like no other - its modus operandi since its foundation in 1985 has been to select new personnel annually. Members come from all over the EU, often directly from university and conservatoire studies, to gain valuable professional performing experience. The orchestra is guided by some of the world's finest baroque music specialists, who nurture and influence the young EUBO musicians with charismatic leadership and high-quality practical education. EUBO's activities are an integral part of a European co-operation project EUBO Mobile Baroque Academy with co-funding from the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. In addition to the international touring and music education the project implements a digital programme titled Baroque Bytes . For more information please visit www.eubo.eu
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