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Boston Baroque

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Biography

Founded by harpsichordist, conductor, and music scholar Martin Pearlman, Boston Baroque was the U.S.'s first specialist Baroque orchestra. Boston Baroque was founded under the name Banchetto Musicale (changing the name when it began a contract with Telarc in 1992) and quickly entered the vanguard of the American period instrument movement. Since its founding, Boston Baroque has been recognized as one of the world's leading period choral/orchestral ensembles. It has many notable events in its history, including the North American premiere of Rameau's Zoroastre; the first American period-instrument performances of Mozart's Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute as well as performances of other Mozart operas; the first U.S. period instrument performances of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony and Violin Concerto; stage performances of works of Purcell, Gluck, and Monteverdi; and acclaimed annual Boston performances of Handel's Messiah. Boston Baroque is a fully professional organization and plays an annual subscription series in the Boston area. In addition, it performs regularly in New York City (where it has taken its Messiah performance to further critical praise) and has toured in New England and the Midwestern U.S. states. One of Pearlman's most striking discoveries was Der Stein des Weisen (The Philosopher's Stone). This 1790 singspiel had a libretto by Emmanuel Schikaneder, author of the book to Mozart's The Magic Flute. The music is by a group of composers, including Schikaneder and, it was recently discovered, Wolfgang Mozart himself. The story's similarity to that of The Magic Flute, the chance it gives to hear the charming (if less accomplished) music of several of Mozart's contemporaries, and Mozart's own contributions (including a solo for a woman who can only meow like a cat) made the opera a major find. Boston Baroque premiered the opera for the opening of its 25th anniversary season. Boston Baroque has compiled an important discography, including several releases on the Telarc label. Among them was the world's first period-instrument performance of Robert Levin's completion of Mozart's Requiem, listed as one of the most important 1995 releases by CD Review. Classic CD in 1997 rated Boston Baroque's recording of Messiah as the top choice for that masterpiece. In 2012, the ensemble began recording for Linn Records, its first release being Haydn's The Creation.

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