Masters of High Baroque

Chamber Music Concerts presents the Aulos Ensemble with soprano Julianne Baird performing its Christmas concert "In Dulci Jubilo" at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5 at the Southern Oregon University Music Recital Hall, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.

The program features traditional carols such as "Es ist ein Ros Ensprungen," "Greensleeves," and "When Christ was born on Earth." Also on the program are works by Nikolaus Bruhns, Johann Sebastian Bach, Michel Corrette and Jean-Phillipe Rameau.

The New York Times wrote, "The Aulos Ensemble with Julianne Baird "¦ If it has to be just one Christmas concert, this is it!"

In addition to the concert, the group will present two free educational programs. At 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, the Aulos Ensemble will coach the Jefferson Baroque Orchestra, an early music group based here in the Rogue Valley, focusing on Baroque performance style; that afternoon at 1 p.m. Julianne Baird will present a voice master class for Southern Oregon University voice students. Both programs are free and open to the public, and will take place at the SOU Music Recital Hall.

The Aulos Ensemble was formed in 1973 by five Juilliard graduates. In 1978, with the release of its recording, "Masterpieces of the High Baroque," the group's reputation for exhilarating performances informed with scholarly insight was firmly established. In those ground-breaking years, the group's programming featured a blend of flute, oboe, violin, cello, and harpsichord, later adding a viola da gamba. Invitations to perform came from virtually all of this country's major chamber music presenters.

The 1980's also saw the beginnings of what has become a tradition for New York concertgoers — the Aulos' "Christmas Concerts" in front of the Neapolitan Christmas Tree at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A recording of one such program, "A Baroque Christmas" and featuring soprano Baird, was recorded for MHS/ Musicmasters and is available through the Metropolitan Museum catalogue.

Aulos concerts are frequently broadcast by National Public Radio from venues such as The Frick Collection in New York, Live at WolfTrap, and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Most recently, the ensemble's instrumental Christmas program, "Joyeux Noel" was heard throughout the country repeatedly on NPR's "Performance Today." Now in its fourth decade, Aulos continues to explore new projects and develop outlets for its music-making.

In the fall 2006, the ensemble and Baird released "In Dulci Jubilo," a CD featuring much of the new material uncovered in the many years of Christmas concerts.

Soprano Baird maintains a busy concert schedule of solo recitals and performances of baroque opera and oratorio. She has appeared as soloist with many major symphony orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnanyi, the Brooklyn Philharmonic under Lukas Foss, the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta and, in the 2000-2001 season, the Philadelphia Orchestra.

James R. Oestreich, in his comprehensive survey of New York's seasonal performances of Handel's "Messiah" for the New York Times, recently concluded with special praise for Julianne Baird's interpretative skills: "in that respect, Ms. Baird remains the model."

Tickets are $26/$30, and $5 for youth 22 and under.

See or call 552-6154.

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