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Folger Consort

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Biography

The Folger Consort is an early music ensemble associated with the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. The group was founded in 1976 by lutenist/guitarist/harpist Christopher Kendall, and to this day he and fellow founding member and viol and recorder player Robert Eisenstein form the core of the ensemble. Having met as students at Ohio's Antioch College, Kendall and Eisenstein shortly thereafter formed a group that became the resident music ensemble for the Folger Library. Within a short time, it took on a life of its own, the Folger Consort becoming an American exponent of early Celtic-Anglo-European music, which, after all, has a tradition going back to the time of the Roanoke Colony and Walter Raleigh. Although the ensemble specializes in music of the Renaissance, its repertoire extends well past the 16th century in both directions, covering repertoire from the high Middle Ages all the way through to the 18th century. In addition to extensive live concerts and National Public Radio broadcasts, the Folger Consort produces one recording per year. So far, their body of recorded work gives an example of the ensemble's broad range, from 12th century Christmas carols to Swiss-Austrian Alpine airs. In addition to guest performers, past members have included Tina Chancey and Scott Reiss. The latter has expanded the borders of the consort, by association at least, through the crossover ensemble Hesperus by playing blues and jazz on the recorder, citing providing a link with the improvisational tradition in much early music. Similarly, the Folger Consort remains an active and important New World link to the Old World tradition. It is based, with the rest of the Folger organization, in Washington, D.C.

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Formed:

1976 in Washington DC

Genre
Years Active:

'70s, '80s, '90s, '00s