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Handel and Haydn Society ends its 199th season with Handel Samson

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Handel and Haydn Society presents Handel’s mighty Samson oratorio

A dramatic climax to H+H’s 199th season, Artistic Director Harry Christophers, the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus, and acclaimed singers perform the choral masterwork first premiered in the US by H+H in 1845

Tenor Joshua Ellicott, soprano Joélle Harvey, mezzo-soprano Catherine Wyn-Rogers, bass-baritones Matthew Brook and Dashon Burton lead a distinguished cast of soloists

 Performances are Friday, May 2, at 7.30pm and Sunday, May 4, at 3 pm at Symphony Hall

April 8, 2014 (Boston, MA) —  H+H Artistic Director Harry Christophers is joined by an international cast of outstanding singers and the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus to close the season with George Frideric Handel’s dramatic oratorio, Samson.

Based on the well-known Biblical story of the imprisoned strongman who falls powerless after his wife Dalila cuts off his hair, Samson is one of Handel’s greatest vocal works. Composed within a month after the completion of Messiah, the three-act oratorio has also maintained a long life in the repertoire since its 1742 premiere. Popular selections include the soprano aria “Let the bright Seraphim,” the tenor aria “Total eclipse,” and the Act I chorus “Awake the trumpet’s lofty sound.”  

“For me, it is simply one of the most complete works by this great man, for Handel responds to an exquisite libretto with a score full of elaborate instrumental coloring and sumptuous vocal writing,” says Artistic Director Harry Christophers.

H+H gave the American premiere of Samson on January 26, 1845. A.U. Hayter, organist for H+H, suggested the oratorio and updated Handel’s original orchestration by adding other instruments. The performance was a tremendous success, and was repeated several times throughout the 19th century.

For this particular performance of Samson, listeners will become reacquainted with singers who have given memorable past H+H performances. British tenor Joshua Ellicott, who will perform the title role, was the Evangelist in critically praised performances of the Bach St. Matthew Passion in 2012. In addition, young American soprano Joélle Harvey (Dalila) and mezzo-soprano Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Micah) last appeared with the Handel and Haydn Society in last season’s Handel Jephtha.

A frequent performer with H+H, bass-baritone Matthew Brook (Manoah) returns after acclaimed performances as Jesus in H+H’s 2012 Bach St. Matthew Passion. Bass-baritone and Grammy winner Dashon Burton will make his H+H debut with Handel Samson in the role of Harapha.

Related to this performance of Samson, the Handel and Haydn Society is proud to continue a creative partnership with the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Under the instruction of MassArt faculty members, junior class students in the Illustration department created works of visual art inspired by Handel’s dramatic oratorio. Twelve works will be on display at Symphony Hall’s Cabot-Cahners Room during the concerts.

The performance will be recorded for fall broadcast on 99.5 WCRB.



Handel Samson

Friday, May 2, 7.30pm and Sunday, May 4, 3pm at Symphony Hall

Harry Christophers, conductor

Joshua Ellicott, tenor (Samson)

Joélle Harvey, soprano (Dalila, Wife of Samson)

Catherine Wyn-Rogers, mezzo-soprano (Micah, Friend to Samson)

Matthew Brook, bass-baritone (Manoah, Father to Samson)

Dashon Burton, bass-baritone (Harapha, a Giant)

Stefan Reed, tenor (Messenger)

Teresa Wakim, soprano (Israelitish woman)

Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus

Samson, HWV 57

Tickets from $20. See below for purchasing information.


Tickets are available through Handel and Haydn Society Box Office: by phone at 617 266 3605; online at handelandhaydn.org; or in person at the Handel and Haydn Society offices, Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston (M–F, 10am–6pm). Student rush is available starting 90 minutes before the performance: $15 cash only with valid ID, best available seats subject to availability. Groups of 10 or more receive a 20% discount.



Pre-Concert Conversation

Led by Teresa Neff, Historically Informed Performance Fellow

Friday, May 2, 6.30pm and Sunday, May 4, 2pm at the Cabot-Cahners  Room, Symphony Hall

Free with concert tickets


Sunday, May 4, post-concert

Lucca Back Bay, 116 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA

$35 admission

Handel and Haydn celebrates the 2013–2014 Season with a gathering of musicians, staff, and patrons for an evening of wine and hors d’oeuvres. This year’s Ovation! will pay special tribute to H+H Associate Conductor and Chorusmaster John Finney who leaves at the end of the season. 




Harry Christophers, CBE, is in his fifth season as Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society. Appointed in 2008, he began his tenure with the 2009–2010 Season and 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 and H+H have since embarked on an ambitious artistic journey towards H+H’s 2015 Bicentennial with a showcase of works premiered in the United States by the Handel and Haydn Society since 1815, education programming, community outreach activities and partnerships, and the release of a series of recordings on the CORO label.

Christophers is known internationally as founder and conductor of the UK-based choir and period-instrument ensemble The Sixteen. He has directed The Sixteen throughout Europe, America, and the Far East, gaining a distinguished reputation for his work in Renaissance, Baroque, and 20th- and 21st- century music. In 2000, he instituted the “Choral Pilgrimage,” a tour of British cathedrals from York to Canterbury. He has recorded 120 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; The Sixteen also won the Baroque Vocal Award for Handel Coronation Anthems, a CD that received a 2010 Grammy Award nomination as well. In 2014, the Sixteen was also awarded a Grammy nomination for Palestrina, Vol. 3. Christophers is Principal Guest Conductor of the Granada Symphony Orchestra and a regular guest conductor with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. In October 2008, he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Leicester. He is an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and also of the Royal Welsh Academy for Music and Drama, and was awarded a CBE in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honors


Tenor Joshua Ellicott last appeared with the Handel and Haydn Society in 2012 in critically acclaimed performances of the Evangelist in Bach St. Matthew Passion. Born in Manchester, England, Ellicott has built a varied career with interests ranging from early music to contemporary repertoire and from recitals and concerts through to opera, performed with some of the finest ensembles and musicians.

Recent concert performances include Third Squire (Wagner’s Parsifal) at the 2013 BBC Proms with the Hallé Orchestra under Sir Mark Elder, a Monteverdi Vespers tour under Emmanuelle Haim, a Viennese gala concert with the Hallé under David Parry, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Andres (Berg’s Wozzeck) with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen, Schubert’s Mass in E-flat with Daniel Harding at the St. Denis Festival, Mozart Requiem in Japan with Harding and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Handel L’ Allegro with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, Handel’s Theodora with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Purcell’s The Fairy Queen with the Gabrieli Consort under Paul McCreesh, and Handel’s Saul with The Sixteen.

Future plans include recitals at the Leeds and Oxford Lieder Festivals, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle with the King’s Consort, and Bach’s Easter Oratorio with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra.


Soprano Joélle Harvey last appeared with the Handel and Haydn Society in last season’s Handel Jephtha. Recognized as one of the most promising young talents of her generation, she is the recipient of a First Prize Award in 2011 from the Gerda Lissner Foundation Vocal Competition, a 2009 Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation, and a 2010 Encouragement Award (in honor of Norma Newton) from the George London Foundation Vocal Competition. Recent and future highlights include her debut with Covent Garden Opera in Cavalli’s Ormindo, performances with the Glyndebourne Festival Opera in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera and the Dallas Opera in Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers, as well as appearances on the concert stage with the New York Phiharmonic (Handel’s Messiah), San Francisco Symphony (Beethoven’s Mass in C), and the Milwaukee Symphony (Schubert’s Mass No. 6).

Additional engagements of note include Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro on tour with the Glyndebourne Festival, Carmina Burana and Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe with the San Francisco Symphony, Handel’s Messiah and Bach Mass in B Minor with The English Concert, and Michal in Handel’s Saul with The Sixteen. A native of Bolivar, New York, Harvey appears on CORO’s recording of Handel’s Saul, conducted by Harry Christophers and released in 2012.


Mezzo-soprano Catherine Wyn-Rogers last appeared with the Handel and Haydn Society in Handel Jephtha last season. Wyn-Rogers works extensively in recital and oratorio, appearing with the major British orchestras and choral societies. She is equally renowned for her performances with period-instrument orchestras. Her recent engagements have included appearances with the London Philharmonia, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Orchestra, the European Union Youth Orchestra, and her debut with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Wyn-Rogers appears regularly on the opera stage with the English National Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and the Bavarian State Opera. Recent engagements have included Wagner’s Das Rheingold in Munich, Britten’s Peter Grimes in Tokyo, and Deborah Warner’s staged production of Messiah for the Opéra de Lyon. She will make her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in Richard Strauss’ Arabella and for the Glyndebourne Festival with Britten’s Rape of Lucretia.

Wyn-Rogers’ numerous recordings include Handel’s Samson with The Sixteen under Harry Christophers, Mozart’s Vespers with Trevor Pinnock for Deutsche Grammophon, Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music with Roger Norrington for Decca, and Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius for EMI.


A frequent performer with H+H, bass-baritone Matthew Brook returns after critically acclaimed performances of Jesus in H+H’s 2012 Bach St. Matthew Passion. He has appeared as a soloist throughout Europe, Australia, South Africa, and the Far East, and has sung extensively as a recitalist and concert artist. He has also performed at many of Europe’s top festivals, including The Edinburgh Festival and the BBC Proms.

Matthew Brook leapt to fame with his 2007 Gramophone Award winning recording of Handel’s Messiah with the Dunedin Consort, followed by equally critically acclaimed recordings of Handel’s Acis and Galatea and the St. Matthew Passion. Recent and future highlights include recordings of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Rameau’s Anacréon with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, as well as performances of Bach’s St. John Passion with the Monteverdi Choir and St. Matthew Passion with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony with the Hallé, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle with the King’s Consort, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and the world premiere of Barry Guy’s Time Passing with Camerata Zurich. 


Praised for his “nobility and rich tone” (The New York Times) and his “enormous, thrilling voice seemingly capable … [of] raising the dead” (The Wall Street Journal), bass-baritone and Grammy winner Dashon Burton makes his H+H debut with Handel Samson.

For the 2013–2014 season, Burton also made his debut with the Cleveland Orchestra in Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen led by Franz Welser-Möst. He performed with the Charlotte Symphony for the Bach St. Matthew Passion and returned to Carnegie Hall twice with the Oratorio Society of New York for Handel’s Messiah, as well as Arvo Pärt’s Passion with Ensemble ACJW.

Burton appears frequently with Trinity Church Wall Street and music director Julian Wachner, with whom he has sung Bach’s St. John Passion and Handel’s Messiah at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. In addition to his work in early music, Mr. Burton is an avid performer of new music and has premiered works by Edie Hill and William Brittelle. He is a founding member of Roomful of Teeth (under the direction of Brad Wells), an ensemble devoted to new compositions and winners of the 2013 Grammy for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance.

Concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky plays and leads a program dedicated to Felix Mendelssohn and his early influences

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The chamber concert Mendelssohn’s Library is homage to the Baroque and Classical composers that shaped the young 19th-century German Romantic

  Handel and Haydn Society (H+H) Concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky will perform Mendelssohn’s brilliant Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra in D Minor with string colleagues from H+H’s Period Instrument Orchestra

 Performances are Friday, April 4, at 8 pm (NEC’s Jordan Hall) and Sunday, April 6, at 3 pm (at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre)

 March 13, 2014 (Boston, MA) —  During the course of his short lifetime, German Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847) collected numerous scores of his favorite composers, mostly music from the Baroque and Classical eras. In Mendelssohn’s Library, Handel and Haydn Society Concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky will present an electrifying program of this repertoire, displaying her full virtuosity and musical range.

Curated by Nosky, Mendelssohn’s Library includes Handel’s Concerto Grosso in B Minor, Op. 6, No. 12; C.P.E. Bach’s Sinfonia in B-flat Major; and Vivaldi’s Concerto for Strings in G Major (Alla Rustica). In addition, Nosky and H+H Associate Concertmaster Christina Day Martinson are co-soloists in J.S. Bach’s mesmerizing Double Concerto in D Minor.

“Mendelssohn studied the works of his predecessors very closely and held them in high esteem,” says Nosky. “In his own way, Mendelssohn was valuing the masterpieces of the past and bringing them to life.”

Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra in D Minor most clearly reveals the influences of concertos by Bach and Vivaldi. A brilliant showpiece that is seldom performed today, the D Minor Violin Concerto was composed by Mendelssohn at the precocious age of 13. It forms a fitting finale to Nosky’s program.

Now in her fourth season as H+H Concertmaster, Nosky has been uniformly praised by critics and audiences for her skill and verve. “Nosky’s playing was distinguished not only by her dance-like physical exuberance, but also by a sense of style of fantasy that helped lift the virtuosic music at hand above any sense of mere passagework,” said The Boston Globe’s Jeremy Eichler in an April 2013 review.

“Since joining H+H, Aisslinn has been a remarkable source of creativity and fresh energy to our organization,” says H+H Executive Director and CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard. “This signature concert, I believe, demonstrates all of Aisslinn’s unique strengths as an artist and collaborator. This program is also a wonderful showcase for our other string players.”


Mendelssohn’s Library

Friday, April 4, 8pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall

Sunday, April 6, 3pm at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre

Aisslinn Nosky, leader and violin

Period Instrument Orchestra

G.F. Handel: Concerto Grosso in B Minor, Op. 6, No. 12

A. Vivaldi: Concerto in G Major, RV 151, Alla Rustica

J.S. Bach: Concerto for 2 Violins, Strings and Continuo in D Minor, BWV 1043

C.P.E. Bach: Sinfonia in B-flat Major, Wq. 182, No. 2

Mendelssohn: Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra in D Minor

Tickets from $20. See below for purchasing information.


Tickets are available through Handel and Haydn Society Box Office: by phone at 617 266 3605; online at handelandhaydn.org; or in person at the Handel and Haydn Society offices, Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston (M–F, 10am–6pm). Student rush is available starting 90 minutes before the performance: $15 cash only with valid ID, best available seats subject to availability. Groups of 10 or more receive a 20% discount.


Pre-Concert Conversation

Led by Teresa Neff, Historically Informed Performance Fellow

Friday, April 4 at 7pm (at NEC’s Jordan Hall)
Sunday, April 6 at 2pm (at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre)

Free with concert tickets

Harry Christophers leads a heavenly concert of sacred music by J.S. Bach and William Byrd

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In an intimate program, the H+H Chorus performs three Bach motets and choral selections by English Renaissance composer William Byrd 

Choral concert follows the recent critical successes of H+H’s Vivaldi Gloria, A Bach Christmas, and Handel Messiah

 Performances are Friday, March 14, 8 pm and Sunday, March 16, 3 pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall

February 27, 2014 (Boston, MA) —  Handel and Haydn Society Artistic Director Harry Christophers follows recent critical successes with another signature choral program: sacred music by J.S. Bach and William Byrd. Juxtaposing two great vocal traditions, this intimate program features three of Bach’s motets alongside Byrd’s moving Ave verum corpus and other pieces by the English Renaissance composer. All selections will be sung by H+H’s superb chorus—“the Rolls-Royce of Boston chorales” (The Hub Review).

“In their own way, Bach and Byrd were pioneers in sacred music in their respective lifetimes,” says Artistic Director Harry Christophers. “Both wrote with great passion and fervor for the church. But, sadly, one lived in constant fear of persecution because of his devout Catholic faith.”

William Byrd (c. 1540–1623) was an accomplished organist and a favorite composer of Queen Elizabeth I. Yet much of his Catholic service music had to be suppressed for fear of arrest, costly fines, and death. Byrd responded to the times with music that is contemplative, sad, and joyful. One of the most sublime works scheduled on the Bach and Byrd program is the Agnus Dei from his Mass for Four Voices. Music historians have noted how the poignant final words of the movement, “Dona nobis pacem” (“Grant us peace”), could well be a personal plea for greater religious tolerance.

A staunch Lutheran, J.S. Bach (1685–1750) lived a life of greater security. Two of the works on the Bach and Byrd program (Jesu, meine Freude and Komm, Jesu, komm) are funeral motets composed by Bach for wealthy families. “These funeral motets are simply extraordinary, full of mindboggling symmetry and exceptional counterpoint,” says Christophers. “Their technical and aesthetic challenges are virtually unparalleled.”

The program ends on a celebratory note with Bach’s Singet dem Herrn, music that had made a great impression on a young Mozart, then visiting Leipzig. “Hardly had the choir sung a few bars when Mozart sat up, startled,” reported an 18th-century eyewitness. “When the singing was finished, he cried out full of joy, ‘Now there is something one can learn from.’”


Bach and Byrd

Friday, March 14, 8 pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall

Sunday, March 16, 3 pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall

Harry Christophers, conductor

Handel and Haydn Society Chorus

Plainsong: Veni creator spiritus

Byrd: Laudibus in sanctis

Bach: Bist du bei mir

Bach: Jesu, meine Freude, BWV 227

Bach: Komm, Jesu, komm, BWV 229

Byrd: Ye gentle muses

Byrd: Agnus Dei

Byrd: Ave verum corpus

Bach: Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, BWV 225

Tickets from $20. See below for purchasing information.


Tickets are available through Handel and Haydn Society Box Office: by phone at 617 266 3605; online at handelandhaydn.org; or in person at the Handel and Haydn Society offices, Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston (M–F, 10am–6pm). Student rush is available starting 90 minutes before the performance: $15 cash only with valid ID, best available seats subject to availability. Groups of 10 or more receive a 20% discount.


Pre-Concert Conversation

Led by Teresa Neff, Historically Informed Performance Fellow

Friday, March 14 at 7pm

Sunday, March 16 at 2pm

Conversations will take place in NEC’s Jordan Hall

Free with concert tickets

Handel and Haydn Society Announces Ambitious 2014–2015 Season in Celebration of Bicentennial

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200th Season to include a festive Bicentennial kickoff concert,
H+H’s 400th performance of Handel’s Messiah, and a monumental oratorio triptych of Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, and Haydn’s The Creation

H+H to release a commemorative Bicentennial book
and new Messiah CD on CORO label in fall 2014

Bicentennial celebrations continue through 2015 with
free outdoor performances, exhibit, lectures, and other special events

February 16, 2014 (Boston, MA) – The Handel and Haydn Society (H+H) and Artistic Director Harry Christophers are proud to announce H+H’s 2014–2015 Season—its 200th—featuring the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus performing works from the Baroque and Classical eras. Highlights include a collection of some of the greatest oratorios ever written, stellar guest artists, and two brilliant showcases for H+H Concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky. The season opens with a concert that commemorates H+H’s first public program at Boston’s King’s Chapel on December 25, 1815.

As with recent seasons, H+H will emphasize repertoire significant to its history and perform important works that it premiered in America, including Handel’s Messiah (H+H will present its 400th performance of the popular oratorio), Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (which received its US premiere by H+H in 1879), and Haydn’s The Creation (first performed in this country by H+H in 1819).

“I am delighted to share the details of the Handel and Haydn’s Society 2014–2015 Bicentennial Season,” said Christophers. “We have been waiting two centuries for this moment! It is a wonderful occasion to revisit our heritage and look ahead to a bright future brimming with artistic talent.”

“While 200 years of bringing music to life in America is a monumental milestone for our organization, it is also a testament to this enduring art form and its place in this country’s civic landscape,” said Executive Director and CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard. “So many people have made this special celebration possible, especially our musicians, our devoted family of community partners, exceptional members of the Board, and, of course, our loyal audiences.”

The 2014–2015 Season will showcase a wealth of established artists and exceptionally talented emerging artists. H+H is delighted to welcome back two beloved conductors: Conductor Laureate Christopher Hogwood, who will make a triumphant return with Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah, and frequent guest conductor Richard Egarr, who will lead a program of Mozart and Beethoven. Among this season’s acclaimed singers are sopranos Sarah Coburn and Joélle Harvey, tenors Jeremy Ovenden and Joshua Ellicott, and bass-baritones Andrew Foster-Williams and Matthew Brook. In addition, H+H’s dynamic concertmaster, Aisslinn Nosky, will lead her fellow string players in a program focusing on Vivaldi’s virtuosic L’estro armonico concertos. Later in the season, as part of an all-Haydn program, Nosky is featured soloist in Haydn’s Violin Concerto in C Major, a project to be released on the CORO label in 2016.

Beyond the regular season concerts, H+H will present a special choral concert held in conjunction with the 2015 Chorus America conference in Boston. Harry Christophers leads the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus in some of his favorite choral selections, from the glorious Renaissance counterpoint of Palestrina to the spiritual minimalism of contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. Also on the calendar is the return of the Handel and Haydn Society Holiday Sing, a family-friendly celebration of holiday choral music that will feature H+H’s professional chorus and its youth choirs.

As the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the US, the Handel and Haydn Society continues to flourish under the leadership of Harry Christophers. Its musicians play and sing across Massachusetts and New England, in concerts from Portland, Maine to New London, Connecticut. Community partnerships have grown to include regular presentations with the Museum of African American History, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, King’s Chapel, Massachusetts Historical Society, MIT, and Boston Children’s Museum, among others. With the launch of full-year, weekly music literacy programs for Boston public elementary school students (classes at the Joseph Lee Elementary School in Dorchester and the John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Jamaica Plain), H+H serves nearly 300 students who previously had no access to music instruction during the school day. Additionally, the Karen S. and George D. Levy Education Program brings Baroque and Classical music to well over 10,000 children each year through the Vocal Apprenticeship Program (comprising the Singers, Youth Chorus, Young Men’s Chorus, Young Women’s Chorus, Young Women’s Chamber Choir, and High School Soloists), Vocal Quartet school visits, Collaborative Youth Concerts, and master classes.

2014–2015 Season Highlights

H+H opens the 2014–2015 Season with Baroque Fireworks, a Bicentennial kickoff concert that tips its hat to H+H’s first program from 200 years ago. This festive concert will comprise some of the Baroque era’s greatest hits performed by the full Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus. Among the celebratory pieces on the program are Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks, Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins in B Minor, and Bach’s motet Singet dem Herrn.

Vivaldi’s challenging L’estro armonico concertos, music that greatly influenced Bach, are the subject of the next concert, to be led by H+H Concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky. Timed for Halloween, this all-Italian Baroque program features none other than Tartini’s Devil’s Trill Sonata, a work made famous by its fiendish difficulty and eerie legend of the Devil visiting the composer in a dream.

Late November and December bring three cherished H+H holiday traditions. Harry Christophers conducts the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus and internationally acclaimed soloists in the 161st annual performances of Handel’s Messiah. Audiences will “rejoice greatly” with soprano Joélle Harvey, countertenor Tim Mead, and tenor Allan Clayton, who, as part of this presentation, will take part in H+H’s 400th performance of Handel’s beloved oratorio. Later in December, Back Bay Chorale Music Director Scott Allen Jarrett takes the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus on a journey through Christmas past, from medieval plainchant to Bach’s joyous Cantata 40 and Cantata IV from the Christmas Oratorio. Handel and Haydn welcomes families to celebrate the holidays with the returning Holiday Sing. Guest conductor Lisa Graham, the H+H Chorus, and Vocal Apprenticeship Program youth choirs invite audiences to sing along with holiday favorites at Boston’s historic Great Hall in Faneuil Hall.

The year 2015 opens with Harry Christophers and Aisslinn Nosky continuing their critically-praised survey of the orchestral music of Joseph Haydn. The sequel to 2012’s Haydn in Paris, this program has Nosky taking the stage in Haydn’s seldom-heard Violin Concerto in C Major, followed by a powerful foray into the minor key, the dramatic Symphony No. 83 (La Poule).

In February, Richard Egarr, a frequent H+H guest conductor and music director of the Academy of Ancient Music, returns to continue his survey of the Beethoven symphonies, this time with the cheerful Symphony No. 1 in C Major. The program also includes a performance of Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, K. 139 (Waisenhaus Mass), written by the composer at the tender age of 13.

The season culminates with a succession of three of the greatest oratorios in the canon, performed over the course of just two months. Known in the 19th century as the Messiah of its day, Mendelssohn’s Elijah is the first in this oratorio triptych. It features Conductor Laureate Christopher Hogwood and bass-baritone Andrew Foster-Williams in the title role of the Old Testament prophet. Next comes Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, the one-of-a-kind masterwork that H+H last presented in 2012 to sold-out houses. It will be performed this season during the final days of Lent with Christophers at the podium. Christophers will also lead performances of Haydn’s The Creation, a work inspired by the composer’s trips to England where he first heard Handel’s oratorios. Haydn’s crowning choral masterpiece was premiered in the US by H+H in 1819 and hasn’t been performed by the organization since 2001.


The live recording of November 2013’s Messiah performance will be released on the CORO label in October 2014. Recorded at Symphony Hall, the CD features the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus and an all-North American cast of soloists, all under the direction of Harry Christophers. The CD will expand H+H’s catalogue of works recorded under Christophers’ leadership, joining the best-selling Christmas CD Joy to the World (October 2013), the critically acclaimed Haydn, Vol. 1 (September 2013), and the Mozart trilogy of Mozart Mass in C Minor (September 2010), Mozart Requiem (September 2011), and Mozart Coronation Mass (September 2012).

In addition, H+H’s May 2015 performance of Haydn’s The Creation will be recorded for release on the CORO label in the fall of 2015.

2014–2015 Season Subscription Information

Subscriptions to the 2014–2015 Season are now available. Options include nine- and six-concert series and an H2 Young Professionals package, as well as “Choose Your Own” packages and a special 11-concert Bicentennial Series that includes Holiday Sing and the “Handel and Haydn Sings” concert, held in conjunction with the 2015 Chorus America conference. Packages range from three to 11 concerts; package prices begin at only $60. Subscriptions may be purchased through the Handel and Haydn Box Office by phone at 617 266 3605, online at handelandhaydn.org, or in person at Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston (M–F, 10am–6pm). Single tickets go on sale in August 2014.

2014–2015 Bicentennial Season Calendar

Beginning this fall and lasting through the end of 2015, H+H’s Bicentennial will celebrate an incredible 200 years of music that embody the cultural heritage of Boston and the nation. H+H will showcase its rich past and vibrant future through free outdoor concerts, public programming in unique venues, exhibits, lectures, and more.

Highlights include a commemorative book to be published in October 2014 that traces the history of H+H from its first concerts at King’s Chapel to its current status as a professional historically informed ensemble. Co-edited by Teresa Neff and Jan Swafford, the book is full of treasures from the archives and personal accounts from two centuries of Bostonians.

On March 24, 2015, H+H will open an interactive exhibit at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square exploring Handel and Haydn’s 200-year history and the development of classical music in America. Presented in partnership with the Freedom Trail Foundation and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the exhibit will remain on view through September 7, 2015.

Summer 2015 activities include the Chorus America National Conference, from June 17–20, 2015, which will be hosted by H+H. As part of the conference, H+H will present the June 18 Handel and Handel Sings concert at Symphony Hall, with Harry Christophers leading the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus in a program that ranges from Palestrina to Pärt. On July 26, 2015, H+H will present a free outdoor performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Copley Square as part of Summer Arts Weekend. H+H musicians will be joined by singers from area choirs to celebrate Boston’s choral tradition.

Bicentennial Honorary Committee

The H+H Bicentennial Committee, led by H+H Governor Amy Anthony, has formed a Bicentennial Honorary Committee that represents excellence in the arts, business, education, public service, and philanthropy. The Honorary Committee includes: Governor Deval Patrick, US Senator Ed Markey , LA Philharmonic President and CEO Deborah Borda (a former Manager of the Handel and Haydn Society), Charles River Ventures Co-founder Rick Burnes, tenor and conductor Plácido Domingo (who sang with H+H in the 1960s), Boston Museum of Fine Arts Chair Grace Fey, political analyst David Gergen, Handel scholar Ellen T. Harris, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum President Stephen Kidder, former Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, former Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, University of Massachusetts (Boston) Chancellor J. Keith Motley, bass-baritone Eric Owens (who has recently performed with H+H and is featured on the Mozart Requiem CD), Handel House President Christopher Purvis, MIT President Rafael Reif , Boston Public Library President Amy E. Ryan, and Boston Private Bank & Trust Company CEO and President Mark Thompson.