• Before Bach

  • Hearing the music of Bach and Handel performed with historically informed style and instruments led to an explosion in popularity of their music in recent times. Now, after several generations of performers honing these skills, their same approach is dazzling audiences with music written before 1685—the birth year of both Bach and Handel. This season, Carnegie Hall brings together an impressive assemblage of these artists for Before Bach, a month-long focus on the exciting music of that time. Whether it is the divine purity and amusing bawdiness of Renaissance madrigals or the dramatic urgency of early Baroque opera, the music speaks to modern listeners who love great music and relish the joy of discovery.

  • Before Bach concerts are available as part of these subscription series.

    The indelible signature styles of great artists make this eclectic series a marvelous adventure. The series marks the return to Zankel Hall by Abdullah Ibrahim, the greatest exponent of Cape jazz. There's the remarkable Kronos Quartet in a program that includes the New York premieres of works by Derek Charke and Aleksandra Vrebalov. L'Arpeggiata puts its unique interpretive signature on music of Purcell. There's also the 50th-anniversary concert by the Meredith Monk ensemble in honor of Monk's groundbreaking career.
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    Off the Beaten Track
    The spirit of invention drives the artists appearing in this series. Taking risks and pushing the creative envelope, these are artists who always command our attention. Young Stars: Traditional Cape Malay Singers and the David Kramer Band perform fascinating folk music from the Cape region of South Africa, and the American Composers Orchestra perform The Seven Deadly Sins—Weill's "ballet in song"—with soprano Shara Worden. The ever-mesmerizing Meredith Monk and her musical friends perform selections from her opera ATLAS and new arrangements of existing works, while L'Arpeggiata performs arias and dances from 17th-century Italy.
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    Before Bach Vocal

    Great vocal ensembles from around the world present masterpieces from the Renaissance and Baroque as part of the Before Bach focus. Pomerium sings spiritually and dramatically charged works written for the Tudor queens of England, while the internationally lauded Tallis Scholars perform music by Renaissance giants Josquin des Prez and William Byrd. The spirited ensemble I Fagiolini serves a spicy meal of French, Italian, Spanish, and German madrigals and songs that span the Renaissance to the early Baroque. Join us after each of the concerts on this series for Salon Encores, a salon-style reception where you can enjoy drinks and merriment with fellow audience members and occasionally the evening's artists.

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    Baroque Unlimited
    New York City’s premiere Baroque music series continues to present the greatest musicians in the field. The development of the Baroque orchestra is explored in a program that features Jordi Savall directing Le Concert des Nations, while concerts by the Academy of Ancient Music performing Bach’s orchestral suites and the Venice Baroque Orchestra in an all-Vivaldi program present the Baroque orchestra at its zenith. The Baroque also gave birth to opera, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas being one of the most moving examples. Les Violons du Roy perform Purcell’s masterpiece and other works by the English master.
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    Weekends at Carnegie Hall
    Fill your weekend with thrilling music. Yefim Bronfman plays Brahms’s grand Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Riccardo Muti. Operas intimate and epic are also featured. Joyce DiDonato sings the title role in Handel’s spectacular Alcina with The English Concert conducted by Harry Bicket. There’s also Les Violons du Roy performing Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Italy’s historic Teatro Regio Torino, conducted by Music Director Gianandrea Noseda, whipping up a storm in Rossini’s William Tell.
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    Before Bach Instrumental
    Hear the instrumental music of the Renaissance and Baroque as audiences did when it was first composed. Elite musicians in the vanguard of the historically informed performance movement reveal the beauty and color of great masters before the time of Bach in the intimate setting of Weill Recital Hall. World-renowned gambist Jordi Savall performs a solo recital, viol consort Fretwork plays the intimate music of early English composers, and acclaimed harpsichordist Kristian Bezuidenhout shows why he's one of the great keyboardists of our day. Join us after each of the concerts on this series for Salon Encores, a salon-style reception where you can enjoy drinks and merriment with fellow audience members and occasionally the evening’s artists.
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    International Festival of Orchestras III
    Four magnificent orchestras are featured in thrilling performances of Russian showstoppers, emotionally charged German Romantic symphonies, and an early Baroque masterpiece. The Berliner Philharmoniker with Sir Simon Rattle captures the color and lyricism of Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky, while Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra bring true Russian soul to music of Shchedrin, Tchaikovsky, and Prokofiev. The Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by Daniele Gatti, mines emotional power and melodic beauty in two symphonies by Brahms. And finally, Sir John Eliot Gardiner leads the English Baroque Soloists and The Monteverdi Choir in Monteverdi’s brilliant Vespro della Beate Vergine.
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    International Festival of Orchestras II
    Music spanning the 17th to 20th centuries is featured in these concerts, each displaying the breathtaking expressive power of renowned orchestras. The Berliner Philharmoniker performs two favorite Schumann symphonies, and the Mariinsky Orchestra returns with music by Prokofiev and Shostakovich. The Vienna Philharmonic premiered Brahms’s Symphony No. 2 in 1881 and performs that work at Carnegie Hall along with his Symphony No. 4. The English Baroque Soloists and The Monteverdi Choir, undisputed masters of Baroque repertoire, present Monteverdi’s groundbreaking opera L’Orfeo in concert.
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