Utrecht Early Music Festival

From 25 August 2023 to 03 September 2023/ Netherlands / Utrecht


New or old: it's one or the other. Or is it not? As early as the eighteenth century, a Gothic revival originated in England, which quickly spread across the continent. A century later, neo-styles would dominate the cultural landscape, and thus also music: the shape of the future was to be found in the past! Neo-Baroque and Neo-Renaissance pieces were composed in homage to the masters of yesteryear. Old, but in a new guise... Or new, dressed up as old. Take your pick.

And then what to think of our early music practice? The early music style we love so much is largely the result of contemporary choices: a version that suits our own tastes and times. Viewed this way, our early music is a lot like new music. However, historically informed, today's early music, though correct in principle, has difficulty escaping characterisation as Neo-Medieval, Neo-Renaissance, or Neo-Baroque.

This festival aims to challenge us to find new and exciting ways of approaching our beloved musical heritage, from conservation to restoration. Medieval specialist Katarina Livljanić, artistic director of Ensemble Dialogos and teacher at the Sorbonne and at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, will show us the way in the role of co-curator.

Our journey will take us from Gregorian traditions to L'homme armé, from Monteverdi's Incoronazione di Poppea to Purcell's Fairy Queen, and from Josquin to Bach. Artist in residence will be Simon-Pierre Bestion with his Ensemble La Tempête, the great revelation of the Utrecht Early Music Festival 2021. Austrian harpsichordist and conductor Michael Hell will also play a starring role. 
Utrecht Early Music Festival

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