2013-2014 Season

7NOTE: This page provides information on a past concert season. See our current season under Concerts


Roll over, Beethoven!  Join Calgary’s original early music choir as we present “Rock Stars of the Renaissance” in the 2013-2014 concert season.

Rock stars of the Italian Renaissance

rockstars-web-graphic-300pxSaturday, April 12, 2014 at 7:30 pm
Pre-concert talk at 7:00 pm
St. Stephen’s Anglican Church
1121-14 St SW – Map. (note: street parking only)

Guest musicians: Scott Blair and Alan Jessop, recorder

Italy was full of “rock stars” in the Renaissance, starring in the flirtatious madrigal as well as the sacred polyphonic mass. The concert will include madrigals by Di Lasso, Gesualdo and Gastoldi on themes that every rock star loves: wine, women, and song. To complement the male perspective on love, a female Italian poet of the Renaissance, Isabella Andreini, sings of her desire in a new motet composed by our own Marcia Jenneth Epstein. Monteverdi was also a star of the motet, but one or two arias from “The Coronation of Poppea” reveal why Italians fell in love with the opera. The music this evening will also transport hearers to the heavenly realms via the rock star of the church music scene in sixteenth-century Rome, Palestrina, whose Tu Es Petrus mass and motet fit perfectly with our theme. Between vocal pieces, our guest musicians will enchant you with the music of Frescobaldi and other Italian masters, accompanied by Jane Perry on harpsichord.

Tickets $20 reg, $15 student/senior, under-18 free.
For ticket inquiries, email tickets@renaissance-singers.com

Purchase tickets at the door, or from members, or
purchase online through Brown Paper Tickets


Recent concert

The English Invasion of the Sixties… the 1560s!

Calgary Renaissance Singers and Players -1560s concert poster

Click image to enlarge

Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 at 7:30 pm
Pre-concert talk at 7:00 pm
Hope Lutheran Church
3527 Boulton Road NW (map)

Consider this: in the 1960s, four talented fellows from Liverpool, England shot to national and then international rock’n’roll stardom under the unlikely group name The Beatles. Despite a lack of formal musical education, the songwriting duo of John Lennon and Paul McCartney understood how to touch people’s hearts and inspire their imaginations.

Four hundred years earlier, in the 1560s, England’s “rock stars” were formally educated church musicians. Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, and Orlando Gibbons were household names. Like Lennon and McCartney, these men understood how to touch people’s hearts with their music. As with many present-day rock stars, our 1560s music heroes had their ups and downs. Tallis and Byrd made and lost a fortune together in music publishing. Byrd in particular ran into trouble with the law of the church, in that he had Catholic sympathies at a time when Catholicism was banned in England. Meanwhile, Orlando Gibbons shocked his friends and admirers by dying young, in another foreshadowing of some rock-star lives today.

This concert focused on music by Tallis, Byrd and Gibbons, with a nod to more recent English music heroes Gustav Holst, John Rutter, and, yes, The Beatles. Our arrangement of “Blackbird” was created by a member of another 1960s upstart English group: The King’s Singers. We performed an English country dance in the lobby during the intermission, with accompaniment on crumhorn and recorder played by two of our own players. With guest pipe organist Timothy Pyper contributing his musical genius to our concert playing on the beautiful baroque organ, this was an unforgettable event.

National Music CentreThis concert was in part a fundraising event for Calgary’s National Music Centre, which lost part of its historical keyboard collection in the June flood. In the spirit of the season, we appeal to our guests to help this valuable community organization find its footing again.

Alberta Foundation for the Arts Calgary Arts Development       UnitarianChurch-Thanks