Bass-baritone Jake Gardner's career spans North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Having begun as the principal baritone at Oper Köln, Germany, he went on to appear at Glyndebourne under the baton of Simon Rattle, the Wexford Festival, Budapest Festival, Théâtre du Châtelet, Komische Oper Berlin, and with opera companies in Bonn, Dresden, Vienna, and the Netherlands. He has appeared throughout North America, in concert performances as well as on the operatic stage.
Boasting a career which includes performances with major opera companies and orchestras throughout the world, Jake Gardner remains one of the opera world’s most sought-after singing actors. Upcoming engagements include Germont in La Traviata in a return to Hawaii Opera Theatre, Doc in Bernstein’s A Quiet Place with New York City Opera, Geronte in Manon Lescaut at Opera Grand Rapids, Buffalo Bill Cody in Annie Get Your Gun and Ronaldo Cabral in Later That Evening at the Glimmerglass Opera, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at the Arizona Opera, Verdi’s Requiem with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and Bach’s B Minor Masswith the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra.
He also enjoys a successful career of concert performances, including Mahler’s Das klagende Lied with the New York Philharmonic under James Conlon, and Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass with Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. He sang the role of Wotan in Jonathan Dove’s arrangement of Das Rheingold, directed by Christopher Alden with the EOS Orchestra. He has appeared with the Mostly Mozart Festival to sing Mozart’s Thamos, King of Egypt and later returned for performances of Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, has featured as a soloist in the Proms to perform an evening of music by Kurt Weill and his contemporaries, and gave a much-acclaimed Lincoln Center performance of Handel’s Saul.
His recordings include 'Live at Lincoln Center' on CBS/SONY; Thea Musgrave’s Mary, Queen of Scots for BMG; the original 1983 film version of Peter Brook’s La Tragedie de Carmen; and Afrika Songs composed by Wilhelm Gross with the Matrix Ensemble conducted by Robert Ziegler.
The London Sinfonietta is one of the world’s elite contemporary music ensembles with a reputation built on the virtuosity of its performances and ambitious programming. It is committed to placing new music at the heart of contemporary culture and pushing boundaries; the ensemble regularly undertakes projects with choreographers, video artists, film-makers and collaborations with electronica artists, jazz and folk musicians.
The creation of new music has been at the core of the London Sinfonietta’s work since its foundation in 1968. It has commissioned or premiered over 200 works, ranging from Luciano Berio, Harrison Birtwistle and Steve Reich to the emerging composers involved in its Blue Touch Paper project – including Tansy Davies, Larry Goves and Anna Meredith – an innovative initiative which gives the opportunity to take risks and develop ideas without the pressure of a public performance.
Red Byrd believes that the point of singing the music of the past is to illuminate the present. Its constant members are John Potter and Richard Wistreich, who are joined by other singers and instrumentalists with a strong grounding in early music to explore song old and new.
Its first concert, in the Musikfest Bremen in 1989, ranged from Monteverdi to Frank Martin and John Paul Jones, and in 1990-91 it toured Britain with both early and contemporary programmes. Since then it has visited the USA, Canada, Ireland, Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy and Finland.
In 1993 it gave the first performance of Ivan Moody's Passsion and Resurrection with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir at the Tampere International Choir Festival, Finland. It later recorded the work with Cappella Amsterdam for Hyperion, adding to recordings of music by Monteverdi, Blow and Purcell with the Parley of Instruments on that label; the group has also made several recordings on Virgin Classics and Naxos. In 1998, Red Byrd's first Léonin recording, Magister Leoninus, was made a disc of the year by the French magazine Diapason and BBC Music Magazine. A second CD of music by Léonin came out in 2001, and the group's latest release (described as 'absolutely stunning' by BBC Music Magazine) is A Scottish Lady Mass - Sacred Music from Medieval St Andrews.
Broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 have ranged from music by Landini, Palestrina and Purcell to John Cage, Thea Musgrave, Nigel Osborne and John Surman. Red Byrd contributes a number of tracks to Roger Marsh's Pierrot Lunaire, released on NMC in 2007, as well as the group's premiere of Thea Musgrave's Wild Winter I.
Few other ensembles can match the range of Fretwork’s repertory, spanning as it does the first printed music of 1501 in Venice, to music commissioned by the group this year. Their recordings of arrangements of J.S. Bach have won particular praise, but they have recently issued a disc containing music by Grieg, Debussy, Shostakovitch, Warlock and Britten. This breadth of music has taken them all over the world in the 25 years since their debut, and their recordings of the classic English viol repertory - Purcell, Gibbons, Lawes & Byrd - have become the benchmark by which others are judged. Their 2009 recording of the Purcell Fantazias won the Gramophone Award for Baroque Chamber Music.
The consistently high standards they have achieved have brought music old and new to audiences hitherto unfamiliar with the inspiring sound-world of the viol.
The Scottish Ensemble, based in Glasgow but frequently touring the UK and overseas, is a tight-knit band of outstanding string players from around Europe who perform regularly together under Artistic Director, Jonathan Morton. The foundation of their work is the rich repertoire of music for strings of the three centuries since the age of Bach and Vivaldi, while commissions from John Tavener, James MacMillan, Sally Beamish, David Horne, John Woolrich, Craig Armstrong, Steve Martland and Thea Musgrave have enriched their concerts in recent years.
Its many projects include tours throughout Scotland, collaborations with traditional musicians, recordings, and a thriving programme of education, outreach and community work.
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Musgrave's 'opera for radio' sets a dreamlike tale of the American Civil War based on An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Ambrose Bierce's short story. It is paired with Green, for 12 solo strings, and Wild Winter I, for solo voices and viol consort, both exploring different aspects of conflict past and present.
'The 1993 Lamentations for four voices and a consort of viols creates a haunting landscape from settings of poems by Wilfred Owen, Lorca, Hart Crane, Petrarch and Georg Trakl, while Green from 2007 is a dramatic scene for strings, a clash of instrumental voices and musical ideas' Guardian
'The London Sinfonietta, under Musgrave herself, plays with razor-sharp precision ... performances and recordings are excellent' BBC Music Magazine
'A reminder of a genre that seems to have disappeared from the schedules; the radio opera. The atmospheric music on this disc deserves your attention.' International Record Review
'The recording of the orchestra and singing voice is excellent. It is powerful and moving and I urge readers to make its acquaintance.' Music Web International.
'Rich, powerful musical language and this strong sense of drama have made Thea Musgrave one of the most respected of living composers.' new-classics.co.uk
A BBC Recording
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge was recorded by BBC Radio 3 on 20 December 1981 in Studio 1, BBC Maida Vale.
Green was recorded by BBC Radio 3 on 15 December 2008 in The Music Hall, Aberdeen.
Wild Winter I was recorded by BBC Radio 3 on 16 July 1993 in Lichfield Cathedral.
Mastering DAVID LEFEBER for Metier
Executive producer COLIN MATTHEWS
Graphic design FRANÇOIS HALL
Cover : Washington, District of Columbia. Chain Bridge (between 1861 and 1869), Anonymous.
Produced in association with BBC Radio 3
Thea Musgrave's music is published by Novello & Co. and Chester Music.
(P) 2011 BBC. The copyright in the recordings are owned by the BBC. The BBC word mark and logo and the “BBC Radio 3” logo are trade marks of the British Broadcasting Corporation and used under licence.
BBC Logo © BBC 2007
© 2011 NMC Recordings Ltd