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The Handel and Haydn Society continues Bicentennial celebrations with dynamic 2015-2016 Season

H+H’s 201st Season features a number of firsts and innovative programs with acclaimed guests and rising artists

H+H presents three of the greatest oratorios ever written (Bach’s St. John Passion, Handel’s Messiah and H+H’s first complete performance of Handel’s Saul), two brilliant showcases for H+H Concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky, and special programs across Boston and the Northeast

Commemorative Bicentennial activities include a free summertime performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Copley Square and the CORO label CD release of Haydn The Creation in fall 2015

 January 20, 2015 (Boston, MA) —  The Handel and Haydn Society (H+H) and Artistic Director Harry Christophers are pleased to announce its 2015–2016 Season—H+H’s 201st—featuring the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus performing works from the Baroque and Classical eras. H+H will continue to observe the anniversary of its 1815 founding with repertoire significant to its history. The 2015–2016 Season will also present frequent guests, including conductors Richard Egarr and Laurence Cummings and fortepianist Robert Levin, as well as emerging talents making long-awaited debuts.

“This coming season, we continue our Bicentennial celebration that has brought us so much enjoyment and pride,” says Artistic Director Harry Christophers. “We remain fully committed to our dual missions of staying true to the past and to the present, particularly through the introduction of this enriching art form to a younger generation. It will also be my great honor to collaborate further with the extraordinarily talented musicians who make up this historic yet venerable ensemble.”

As the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the US, the Handel and Haydn Society continues to flourish under the leadership of Harry Christophers who will enter his seventh season as artistic director. Among the significant musical projects that Christophers will lead in 2015–2016 are Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, an all-Haydn orchestral program, Bach’s St. John Passion, and—an H+H first— Handel’s Saul.

“Handel never ceases to amaze me and I am delighted to bring this exceptional oratorio to H+H for the first time in its 200-year history,” says Christophers who will conduct five of next season’s nine subscription programs.

Guest conductor Richard Egarr will return for two programs (Baroque Masters and All Beethoven). The versatile harpsichordist and conductor Laurence Cummings will lead Bach Christmas, which features three holiday cantatas, including the popular Sleepers Awake.

“H+H is thrilled to present to our patrons and the city of Boston some of the world’s greatest Baroque and Classical works with the finest interpreters,” says Executive Director and CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard. “Through the 200th anniversary celebrations, our community is coming to better understand Boston’s musical legacy in America and the place that H+H holds in the artistic and educational landscape of our city. We are grateful to our loyal audience for their unwavering support as we continue our Bicentennial celebrations.”

2015–2016 Season Highlights

Just as H+H opened the Bicentennial Season with H+H’s Baroque namesake, Handel, Harry Christophers will usher in the 2015–2016 Season with the Classical half, Haydn—specifically, Haydn’s Symphony No. 99. Joining the program is one of the towering works of the Classical era, the Mozart Requiem, premiered in Boston by H+H in 1857. Soloists making their H+H debuts are soprano Lauren Snouffer and mezzo-soprano Hannah Pedley. They will join tenor Robert Murray, bass-baritone Dashon Burton, and the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus.

Later in October, keyboardist, conductor, and audience favorite Richard Egarr presents an audacious program of path-breaking Italian Baroque jewels for organ and chamber ensemble. Avant-garde in their time, these highly virtuosic, wild and spontaneous pieces (“the heavy metal of the early 17th century,” says Egarr) receive a rare hearing. The Baroque Masters represented on the program include Castello, Fontana, Gabrieli, and Marini.

Late November and December bring two cherished and critically acclaimed H+H holiday traditions. Harry Christophers conducts the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus and guest soloists in the 162nd annual performances of Handel’s Messiah. Audiences will “rejoice greatly” with soprano Sophie Bevan, contralto Emily Marvosh, tenor James Gilchrist, and baritone Christopher Purves. Next season’s Bach Christmas will consist exclusively of music by J.S. Bach, including his Cantatas 38, 133, and 140 (Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme). Laurence Cummings, artistic director of the London Handel Festival and the Göttingen International Handel Festival, leads the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus.

In January 2016, H+H’s inspirational concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky, Harry Christophers, and the Period Instrument Orchestra take up again their all-Haydn survey with the Violin Concerto in A Major, a masterpiece lost until 1949. Rounding out this concert (the third in a series of all-Haydn programs that began in 2013) are the Symphonies No. 8 (Le Soir) and 84. The performances will be recorded for release in fall 2016.

On February 13–15, Richard Egarr, music director of the Academy of Ancient Music, resumes H+H’s survey of Beethoven symphonies, this time with the Symphony No. 6, Pastoral. The All-Beethoven theme continues with renowned fortepianist Robert Levin performing Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto.

According to his obituary, Bach composed five Passions but only two of these, the St. John Passion and St. Matthew Passion have survived intact. Full of emotional intimacy and dramatic power, the St. John Passion is a musical monument that never fails to move the listener. “We have two very fine soloists to convey the core of that drama in the Evangelist, tenor Nicholas Mulroy and in Christus, bass-baritone Matthew Brook,” says Christophers. Two emerging talents from the H+H Chorus, Sonja DuToit Tengblad and Emily Marvosh, will perform the soprano and alto arias respectively. The performances coincide with the Lenten season.

Few chamber works pieces influenced composers more than Beethoven’s Septet. In early April, Concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky leads a special chamber program featuring H+H string principals and clarinetist Eric Hoeprich. Nosky and company will mix it up with some more of their favorite chamber works, including pieces by Mozart and Beethoven.

The season reaches a climax with a masterpiece that H+H has never completely performed during its 200-year history: Handel’s grand and glorious 1739 oratorio Saul. Counted as one of today’s finest Handel interpreters, Christophers leads the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus and an exemplary cast, led by acclaimed baritone Jonathan Best in the title role.


Special Bicentennial Events and Calendar

Exhibition at the Boston Public Library, Central Library      March 24 – September 5, 2015  Copley Square

H+H’s extensive archives—containing a wealth of photos, concert program books, newspaper clippings, and more—date back to the early 1800s. Enhanced by interactive media, these treasures, along with a portion of the H+H collection held at the Boston Public Library, will be on view at the Boston Public Library for six months, and accessible worldwide in an online collection catalogue. Presented in partnership with the Freedom Trail Foundation and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the exhibition will explore H+H’s 200-year history through the lens of classical music in America. Exhibition admission is free of charge.

The Society Ball Gala Benefit at Symphony Hall                                                    April 18, 2015

H+H’s benefactors and friends come together for a lavish gala fundraiser, featuring a performance by the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus, led by Harry Christophers, with proceeds to benefit H+H’s education and artistic initiatives. This Boston event of the year takes place at Symphony Hall, H+H’s home since 1900, with a focus on celebrating H+H’s important place in the history of Boston and the United States.

Beethoven Symphony No. 9                                                                         July 26, 2015

This free outdoor performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is H+H’s gift to the City of Boston. The celebrated H+H Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus is joined by other choral ensembles from around New England, including the Harvard Summer Chorus (led by Andrew Clark) and H+H’s VAP youth choirs. H+H Resident Conductor Ian Watson directs.

Bach Cantatas at Bourgie Hall, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts               September 27, 2015

Resident Conductor Ian Watson leads the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus in Bach Cantatas 10, 17, and 47.

Haydn The Creation CD                                                                                            October 2015

In celebration of H+H’s Bicentennial, CORO releases a new H+H recording of Haydn’s Creation, recorded at Symphony Hall in May 2015.

King’s Chapel Soirée                                                                                      November 21, 2015

Historic King’s Chapel, the site of H+H’s first public performance in 1815, is the setting for an intimate performance by the H+H Chorus, led by Harry Christophers, preceded by a pre-concert reception at the Boston Athenæum. Exclusively for our top patrons and civic leaders, the performance is then followed by dinner at the Somerset Club. 

Holiday Sing                                                                                                      December 12, 2015

For this community program at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall, the H+H Chorus and Vocal Arts Program choruses invite audiences to sing along to holiday favorites.

Bach Brandenburg Concertos, Nos. 1-6                                                         December 13, 2015

The Period Instrument Orchestra, led by Ian Watson and Aisslinn Nosky, reprise their sold-out performance from 2014 at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

H+H at the Library of Congress                                                                       February 20, 2016

Harry Christophers directs the D.C. premiere of a co-commissioned work by Gabriela Lena Frank, which receives its world premiere at the Chorus America Conference in Boston, Symphony Hall, on June 18, 2015.


2015–2016 Ticket and Subscription Information

Beginning on January 20, subscription are on sale at the Handel and Haydn Society Box Office by phone at 617 266 3605, online at www.handelandhaydn.org ,or in person at 9 Harcourt St. Boston (M–F, 10am–6pm). Options include nine- and six-concert series and an H2 Young Professionals package, as well as “Choose Your Own” packages.


2014–2015 Bicentennial Season Subscription Calendar


Mozart Requiem

October 2, 2015, 7:30PM at Symphony Hall

October 4, 2015 3PM at Symphony Hall

Harry Christophers, conductor

Handel and Haydn Society Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus

Lauren Snouffer, soprano

Hannah Pedley, mezzo-soprano

Robert Murray, tenor

Dashon Burton, bass-baritone

Haydn: Symphony No. 99

Webbe: When winds breathe soft

Mozart: Requiem


Baroque Masters

October 30, 2015, 7:30PM at NEC’s Jordan Hall

November 1, 2015, 3PM at NEC’s Jordan Hall

Richard Egarr, director and organ

Members of the Period Instrument Orchestra

Gabrieli: Canzona a6

Castello: Sonata decima quarta a4

Gabrieli: Sonata for 3 violins

Castello: Sonata duodecima a3

Castello: Sonata secunda a2

Castello: Sonata undecima a3

Marini: Sonata in echo for 3 violins

Castello: Sonata decima a3

Fontana: Sonata for 3 violins

Castello: Sonata nona a3

Castello: Sonata decima quinta per stromenti d’arco

Castello: Sonata decima terza a4


Handel Messiah

November 27, 2015, 7:30PM at Symphony Hall

November 28, 2015, 3PM at Symphony Hall

November 29, 2015, 3PM at Symphony Hall

Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus

Harry Christophers, conductor

Handel and Haydn Society Chorus

Sophie Bevan, soprano

Emily Marvosh, contralto

James Gilchrist, tenor

Christopher Purves, baritone


Bach Christmas

December 17, 2015, 7:30PM at NEC’s Jordan Hall

December 20, 2015, 3PM at NEC’s Jordan Hall

Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus

Laurence Cummings, conductor

Bach: Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf

Bach: Cantata 36, Schwingt freudig euch empor

Bach: Cantata 133, Ich freue mich in dir

Bach: Cantata 140, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme


All Haydn

January 29, 2016, 7:30PM at Symphony Hall

January 31, 2016, 3PM at Symphony Hall

Period Instrument Orchestra

Harry Christophers, conductor

Aisslinn Nosky, violin and leader

Haydn: Symphony No. 8, Le Soir

Haydn: Violin Concerto in A Major

Haydn: Symphony No. 84


All Beethoven

February 26, 2016, 7:30PM at Symphony Hall

February 28, 2016, 3PM at Symphony Hall

Period Instrument Orchestra

Richard Egarr, conductor

Robert Levin, fortepiano

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4

Beethoven: Symphony No. 6


Bach St. John Passion

March 11, 2016, 7:30PM at Symphony Hall

March 13, 2016, 3PM at Symphony Hall

Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus

Harry Christophers, conductor

Nicholas Mulroy, tenor (Evangelist and arias)

Matthew Brook, bass-baritone (Jesus and arias)

Sonja DuToit Tengblad, soprano

Emily Marvosh, contralto


Mozart and Beethoven

April 8, 2016, 7:30PM at NEC’s Jordan Hall

April 10, 2016, 3PM at Sanders Theatre

Aisslinn Nosky, leader and violin

Program to include Beethoven Septet


Handel Saul

April 29, 2016, 7:30PM at Symphony Hall

May 1, 2016, 3PM at Symphony Hall

Harry Christophers, conductor

Handel and Haydn Society Chorus

Jonathan Best, bass-baritone (Saul)

Iestyn Davies, countertenor (David)

Robert Murray, tenor (Jonathan)

Elizabeth Atherton, soprano (Merab)

Joélle Harvey, soprano (Michal)


2015–2016 Guest Artists, Soloists, and Conductors

Harry Christophers, conductor

Laurence Cummings, conductor

Richard Egarr, conductor and organ

Ian Watson, conductor


Elizabeth Atherton, soprano*

Jonathan Best, bass-baritone

Sophie Bevan, soprano

Matthew Brook, bass-baritone

Dashon Burton, bass-baritone

Iestyn Davies, countertenor

James Gilchrist, tenor

Joélle Harvey, soprano

Richard Levin, fortepiano

Emily Marvosh, contralto*

Robert Murray, tenor

Aisslinn Nosky, violin and leader

Hannah Pedley, mezzo-soprano*

Christopher Purves, baritone

Lauren Snouffer, soprano*

Sonia DuToit Tengblad, soprano

* H+H Debut



The 2015–2016 Bicentennial Season marks Harry Christophers’ seventh as Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society. He has conducted Handel and Haydn each season since September 2006, when he led a sold-out performance in the Esterházy Palace at the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. Christophers’ tenure as Artistic Director began with the 2009–2010 Season. Christophers and H+H have since embarked on an ambitious artistic journey with a showcase of works premiered in the United States by the Handel and Haydn Society over the last 199 years, and partnered with the CORO label to produce a series of recordings leading to the 2015 Bicentennial. Christophers is founder and conductor of the UK-based choir and period-instrument ensemble The Sixteen. He has directed The Sixteen throughout Europe, America, Australia, and the Far East, gaining a distinguished reputation for his work in Renaissance, Baroque, and 20th-century music. With that ensemble, he has recorded over 100 titles for which he has won numerous awards, including a Grand Prix du Disque for Handel Messiah, numerous Preise der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics Awards), the coveted Gramophone Award for Early Music, and the prestigious Classical Brit Award (2005) for his disc entitled Renaissance. In 2009, he received one of classical music’s highest accolades, the Classic FM Gramophone Awards Artist of the Year Award, and The Sixteen won the Baroque Vocal Award for Handel Coronation Anthems, a CD that also received a 2010 Grammy Award nomination. In 2014, the Sixteen was also awarded a Grammy nomination for Palestrina, Vol. 3.

Harry Christophers is principal guest conductor of the Granada Symphony Orchestra and a regular guest conductor with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the Orquestra de la Comunidad de Madrid. In October 2008, Christophers was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Leicester. Most recently, he was elected an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and also of the Royal Welsh Academy for Music and Drama. He received a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) from the Queen of England in 2012 for services to music.



Founded in Boston in 1815, the Handel and Haydn Society (H+H) is considered America’s oldest continuously performing arts organization. H+H celebrates its Bicentennial in 2015 with a series of special concerts and initiatives to honor 200 years of music making. Under Artistic Director Harry Christophers’ leadership, H+H’s mission is to enrich life and influence culture by performing Baroque and Classical music at the highest levels of artistic excellence, and by providing engaging, accessible, and broadly inclusive music education and training activities. H+H’s Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus present live and recorded historically informed performances of this repertoire in ways that stimulate the musical and cultural life of the Greater Boston community and beyond.

H+H’s esteemed tradition of innovation and excellence began in the 19th century with the American premieres of Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation, Verdi’s Requiem, and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. Today, H+H is widely known through its local subscription series, tours, concert broadcasts on 99.5 WCRB and National Public Radio, and recordings. H+H’s first recording with Harry Christophers, Mozart Mass in C Minor, was issued in September 2010 on the CORO label. Subsequent releases include Mozart Requiem (2011), and Coronation Mass (2012), as well as the critically acclaimed Haydn, Vol. 1 (September 2013), the best-selling Joy to the World: An American Christmas (October 2013), and Handel Messiah (October 2014).

As a 21st-century performing arts organization, H+H’s primary roles are to perform and educate, and to serve as a resource center and community partner. The Karen S. and George D. Levy Education Program, established in 1985, reaches 10,000 children each year in underserved Greater Boston communities. H+H also maintains partnerships with cultural and higher educational institutions.

Visit our new press room for releases, photos and more. For more information, please contact Public Relations and Communications Manager Matthew Erikson at 617 262 1815 or merikson@handelandhaydn.org