Performance Tuesday, April 16, 2013 | 7:30 PM

Trio Sonnerie

Running The Gamut: Scales, Sonatas and A Tickle

Weill Recital Hall
When Trio Sonnerie performs, “every bar pulses with life” (Daily Mail). The group—led by violinist Monica Huggett, and also featuring viola da gamba player Emilia Benjamin and harpsichordist James Johnstone—has performed together since 1982. Its Weill Recital Hall concert includes music by an array of Baroque composers, including Hume, Marais, Bach, and others.

This concert is part of Salon Encores.


  • Trio Sonnerie
    ·· Monica Huggett, Director and Violin
    ·· Emilia Benjamin, Viola da gamba
    ·· James Johnstone, Harpsichord


  • FONTANA Violin Sonata No. 1
  • HUME Tickle Me Quickly
  • HUME Touch Me Lightly
  • BACH Prelude and Fugue in E Minor from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II, BWV 879
  • MATTEIS Ground after the Scotch
  • BACH Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in G Major, BWV 1021
  • COUPERIN Troisième concert royal
  • P.A. LOCATELLI Sonata in B Minor, Op. 6, No. 9
  • MARAIS La Gamme, en forme de petit opéra


  • Trio Sonnerie

    Trio Sonnerie is among the longest-established and highly regarded chamber groups working in Europe today. Founded in 1982 as a violin, viola da gamba, and harpsichord trio, it evolved into a more flexible group, which has allowed it to perform such repertoire as Bach cantatas and concertos, as well as works by Classical and early-Romantic composers. It has now returned to performing in the more intimate trio format. Along with its alter ego, Sonnerie, Trio Sonnerie has made countless recordings and performed at major early-music festivals worldwide.

    Monica Huggett took up the violin at age six. Her talent became apparent quickly, and it was decided by her parents and teachers that she would become a violinist, which saved her from the agony of having to decide what to do with her life.

    At age 16, she entered the Royal Academy of Music as a student of Manoug Parikian. Although she did well and won several prizes, she was not entirely comfortable with her instrument until she was given a Baroque violin. She was immediately won over by the mellow quality of the gut strings, and became a fervent champion of the instrument. In the intervening decades, Monica co-founded the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra with Ton Koopman, founded Sonnerie, and worked with Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music, as well as Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert. She also performs frequently as a solo violinist all over the world, and directs the Portland Baroque Orchestra and the Irish Baroque Orchestra.

    Monica is the recipient of awards that include the 2005 Vantaa Baroque Energy Prize (Finland) and the 2002 Gramophone Award for Best Instrumental Recording. In 2009, her CD Music for a Young Prince (Sonnerie) won a Diapason d'Or and was nominated for a Grammy Award. Currently, Monica is artistic advisor and artist-in-residence at The Juilliard School.

    Emilia Benjamin discovered her desire to be a professional musician (rather than just a dilettante violinist) when she took up the treble viol while studying art history at the University of East Anglia. She went on to study the viol and Baroque violin at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and then viol with Wieland Kuijken in Brussels. In addition, Emilia plays viola and lirone, and currently performs on all four instruments on a fairly even basis.

    Emilia's musical life has covered a wide range: She has been a member of the viol consort Concordia for many years, and currently plays treble and tenor viol with Phantasm, directed by Laurence Dreyfus, as well as with Sonnerie, with which she has performed since 1995. She has played everything from English divisions and French Baroque works to Mozart quartets, Bach concertos, and Mendelssohn piano quartets; early Italian opera on the viol and lirone at the Glyndebourne Festival and with the Early Opera Company, Norwegian State Opera, and Oper Frankfurt, among others; and Baroque orchestral and chamber works with the Irish Baroque Orchestra, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Dunedin Consort, and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Emilia has also performed for productions of Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, and Anne Boleyn at Shakespeare's Globe.

    James Johnstone has been active as a soloist and continuo player for more than two decades. He has performed and recorded with all of the major UK-based period instrument ensembles, in addition to groups in Germany, Canada, Italy, and Holland. James has worked with such conductors as Bernard Haitink and Sir Simon Rattle, as well as with the Chicago and Boston symphony orchestras. His current activities include recitals, chamber music, and teaching. As a recitalist, he has performed throughout the UK, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Poland, Denmark, Iceland, Spain, Israel, Colombia, and the US.

    James appears on 22 recordings on Deutsche Grammophon with the Gabrieli Consort and Players, as well as on 10 discs with Florilegium; in addition, he was the first European to record on an 18th-century organ built by indigenous Indians in Santa Ana, Bolivia. He has recorded six solo discs and will soon release a CD of Bach's Clavier-Übung III, recorded on the Wagner organ in Trondheim's Nidaros Cathedral.

    In addition to Trio Sonnerie, James currently works with the Monteverdi Choir, Trinity Baroque, I Furiosi, Harmonie Universelle Cologne, and La Serenissima. He is a professor of early keyboards at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.


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Matteis's Ground after the Scotch
Trio Sonnerie

At a Glance

The bane of a musical child's life, scales are the daily diet of a budding Lang Lang or Maxim Vengerov. But it wasn't always so. And this is what makes Marin Marais's decision to mount a full-scale dramatic assault on the Everest that is La Gamme all the more puzzling. Marais clearly felt that scales—more commonly known in his time as the gamut (la gamme in French, consisting of the notes ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la, and si)—deserved more, and so he created an opera based upon it, though one without singers. How should we, in the context of this program, get to base camp in order to prepare for the conquest of this extraordinary mountain after the interval? Perhaps by plotting a journey through the various steps of the scale-and what better place to begin than in Italy, with the birth of the violin as the modern virtuoso instrument that is so familiar to us on concert platforms today.
Program Notes
This performance is part of Early Music in Weill Recital Hall.

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