LSM Newswire

Friday, September 26, 2008

Important Message from the Handel and Haydn Society




Harry Christophers is named Artistic Director of Handel and Haydn Society

Plans for 2009-2010 season, when Harry Christophersĺ─˘ tenure as Artistic Director is launched, include Mozartĺ─˘s Mass in C Minor, an all-Bach program, and expanded media, community, and touring initiatives

Celebration 2009 highlights Societyĺ─˘s 2008-2009 season with Harry Christophers as Artistic Director Designate

September 26, 2008 (Boston, MA) ĺ─ý Today, the Handel and Haydn Society, Americaĺ─˘s oldest continuously-performing arts organization, announced the appointment of Harry Christophers as Artistic Director. Mr. Christophers, a regular guest conductor of the Society, begins his tenure as Artistic Director with the 2009-2010 season and will be the organizationĺ─˘s thirteenth artistic leader since its founding in 1815. As Artistic Director Designate during the 2008-2009 season, Mr. Christophers will oversee all aspects of artistic planning and programming for future Handel and Haydn Society seasons. The initial term of Mr. Christophersĺ─˘ contract with the Society spans through the 2011-2012 season.

Commenting on his appointment as Artistic Director, Harry Christophers said, ĺ─˙I am so honored to be entrusted with the artistic leadership of this exceptional institution. Throughout its history, the Society has established and maintained its reputation as Americaĺ─˘s oldest and one of the worldĺ─˘s most respected performing arts organizations. Our work together thus far has been immensely rewarding, and I am thrilled to continue my relationship with the Societyĺ─˘s outstanding choral and instrumental musicians, and to enrich our audiencesĺ─˘ concert experience with authentic interpretations of the core repertoire whilst also presenting innovative programs of less familiar works and composers from this exceptional period of music.ĺ─¨

ĺ─˙Harry Christophers has distinguished himself as one of the worldĺ─˘s foremost interpreters of Baroque and Classical music, and we are thrilled to continue our work with him as he takes the artistic helm of the Society,ĺ─¨ commented Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Marie-Hłęlł«ne Bernard. ĺ─˙Harryĺ─˘s work with the group has shown true synergy, a common goal to create excitement in each and every live performance, and a shared passion for authenticity. His appointment launches a new era, one that will honor the Societyĺ─˘s long-held commitment to musical excellence and to education and community initiatives.ĺ─¨

Harry Christophers has conducted the Handel and Haydn Society each season since his first appearance in September 2006, when he led a sold-out performance in the Esterhł░zy Palace at the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. Held in the same location where Haydn lived and worked for nearly 40 years, this Austrian appearance marked the Societyĺ─˘s first in Europe in its then 191-year history. Mr. Christophers returned to conduct the Society in Boston in a critically acclaimed performance of Handelĺ─˘s Messiah in December 2007, followed by an appearance at Symphony Hall in January 2008. Founder and Music Director of the renowned United Kingdom-based choir and period-instrument orchestra, The Sixteen, he is also in demand as a guest conductor for leading orchestras and opera companies worldwide and in the United States.

As Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society, Harry Christophers will craft a balance between the Societyĺ─˘s core repertoire and the introduction of innovative programming for voice and period instruments, highlighting less familiar works of the Baroque and Classical periods. Mr. Christophers plans to conduct annual performances of Handelĺ─˘s Messiah at Bostonĺ─˘s Symphony Hall, with regular cycles of oratorios, operas, and works for smaller ensembles by Handel, Haydn, and their contemporaries. Plans for the 2009-2010 season include Mozartĺ─˘s C Minor Mass (planned for commercial release), excerpts from Gluckĺ─˘s Orfeo, and a program devoted to Bachĺ─˘s secular and religious works. Sir Roger Norrington will continue his work with the Society with performances of Beethovenĺ─˘s Missa Solemnis, and specialist guest conductors will periodically be invited by Harry Christophers to lead programs in the genres with which they have become synonymous. Under Mr. Christophersĺ─˘ leadership, the Society will continue its tradition of showcasing established and emerging artists, and will actively explore the use of new media technology to expand educational and outreach programs. In addition to launching annual releases of commercial recordings, Mr. Christophers and the Society will expand the Societyĺ─˘s international touring schedule and explore concert opportunities in underserved markets throughout New England.

2008-2009 Season Highlights with Artistic Director Designate Harry Christophers

The upcoming 2008-2009 Handel and Haydn Society season with Harry Christophers as Artistic Director Designate is marked by Celebration 2009, in observance of the anniversaries of the Societyĺ─˘s namesake composers. Commemorating the 250th and 200th anniversaries of deaths of Handel and Haydn, programmatic highlights of the season include the opening weekend of concerts with Harry Christophers conducting an all-Handel program; the Societyĺ─˘s 155th annual performance of Handelĺ─˘s Messiah, led by Paul Daniel; and two Haydn programs conducted by Artistic Advisor Sir Roger Norrington, which include a concert performance of the seldom heard Haydn opera Lĺ─˘anima del filosofo that will be recorded for release in May 2009 by Signum Records. Celebration 2009 culminates in a performance of Haydnĺ─˘s masterwork, The Creation, conducted by Principal Conductor Grant Llewellyn.

The celebratory 2008-2009 season demonstrates the Societyĺ─˘s renewed commitment to the Boston community with the launch of cultural and educational partnerships, including collaborations with the Boston Public Library, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Boston Athenaeum, New England Conservatory, Longy School of Music, Northeastern University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University, and others. National and international collaborators include the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, at which the Society performed in September 2006, and which is organizing the worldwide performances of The Creation on May 31, 2009; the Haydn Society of North America, dedicated to promoting the legacy of Haydn; and Handel House Museum in London.

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