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Trio Sonnerie

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Biography

Trio Sonnerie is a most unique ensemble: originally founded as a trio, it enlarged to perform orchestral works and renamed itself Sonnerie, then in 2009 reverted to the original form, with the core group of musicians: Monica Huggett, director and violinist; Emilia Benjamin, viola da gamba, violin, and viola; and James Johnstone, harpsichord. Trio Sonnerie often goes on tour throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Its repertorial focus over the years has largely been early music and Baroque works, though Mozart has also been explored since the turn of the new century. Trio Sonnerie/Sonnerie has made over 20 recordings spread over several labels, including ASV, EMI, Teldec, Harmonia Mundi, Virgin, and Gaudeamus. Trio Sonnerie was founded in London in 1982 by violinist/conductor Huggett. Its first concert was given in London that same year. The group then consisted of Huggett, bass violist Sarah Cunningham, and harpsichordist Mitzi Meyerson. As one might suspect, there have been more than a few personnel changes over the years: in addition to the departure and replacement of Cunningham and Meyerson, harpsichordists Gary Cooper and Matthew Halls, and cellists Alison McGillivray and Joseph Crouch have come and gone as core players of the ensemble. By the early '90s Trio Sonnerie was internationally acclaimed, not least because of recordings like the Op. 5 Corelli violin sonatas, on Virgin Classics, released in 1990. By the mid-'90s the group had expanded into the chamber orchestra Sonnerie and thus had also extended its repertory to include many large Baroque works. Among their first recordings was a pair of highly acclaimed 1994 J.S. Bach cantata discs on EMI, with Nancy Argenta, soprano. In 2002 Sonnerie was given a Gramophone award for its recording of the Biber violin sonatas on ASV. Other prestigious citations and awards followed, as the group maintained a fairly active concert schedule, which typically has included major European Baroque festivals, such as the Cheltenham, Innsbruck, Aldeburgh, and Nordic Baroque festivals. As of the group's 2009 reformation as Trio Sonnerie, its concert schedule included performances of works by Handel and Purcell at the Luftana Festival in England, and 2011 saw it tour Asia.

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