Two concerts with rarely heard music by Crescendo:

“The Art of the Improvisation” and “ Grandson of Afro-Brazilian Slaves”

For immediate release.
Contact: Jayne Segedy

   In June the award-winning music organization Crescendo will present to two concerts of rarely heard chamber and choral music, featuring for the first time a Black composer of the Classical era. These concerts conclude Crescendo’s 2022 spring series.

The first concert, “The Art of the Improvisation: Extemporaneous Dialogues” (June 10 and 12), is for lovers of Baroque music: it features early compositions, arrangements and free improvisations from Italy and England. Two virginals – keyboard instruments of the family of the harpsichord – played by Juan Mesa from Boston, and Christine Gevert, Crescendo’s Founder and Artistic Director, and two lutes, played by Hideki Yamaya, a specialist in early plucked instruments, will be heard in this performance. Some of the beloved Early Baroque madrigals, canzonas and sonatas by Giovanni Gabrieli, Claudio Merulo, Henry Purcell, John Dowland and others for multiple instruments have been arranged by the performers, and by William Carragan, a world renowned American musicologist. At the center of this concert are four sonatas for two keyboards by Bernardo Pasquini. They consist only in a harmonic road map by the celebrated Italian composer, and leave it to the players to showcase their skills in improvisation. “One of the aspects of Early Music that I enjoy most is the freedom to improvise, to be able to interact freely on stage with other musicians, and to respond to the mood and energy in the room that comes from the audience,” remarks Ms. Gevert, who is looking forward to this “exchange of musical ideas” with her colleagues.

The second concert “Grandson of Afro-Brazilian Slaves: Classical Star Composer José Maurício Nunes Garcia” (June 24 and 25) is at the heart of Crescendo’s mission of bringing to our audiences rarely heard choral music. It also aligns with an new important movement to counteract the racial prejudice that is endemic in the teaching, playing, and interpretation of classical music. Nunes Garcia was a son of mulatto parents, and his grandparents were Brazilian slaves. Despite this, he was one of South America’s most prominent classical musicians, a contemporary of Mozart, and wrote a large number of works for chorus, soloists and orchestra during his long tenure at the service of the Royal Chapel in Rio de Janeiro. Most of his exquisite works have not yet been performed nor recorded. The concert program includes two of his large choral works – Matinas do Apóstolo São Pedro (1815), and Missa S. Pedro de Alcántara (1808) for chorus, soloists, two bassoons, violoncello, double bass, and organ, and “Te Christe solum novimus” (1800) for soprano and organ. The performers are Schauntice Shephard, soprano (Hartford, CT), Sarah Bleasdale, alto (Stamford, CT), Pablo Bustos, tenor (Rochester, NY), Jermaine Woodard Jr., baritone (Hartford, CT), with Crescendo Chorus, and period instruments, directed by Christine Gevert.

These concerts have been made possible in part with support from the Connecticut Office of the Arts, which also receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Support for these concerts has also been provided to Crescendo from CT Humanities (CTH), with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) from the Connecticut State Legislature.

The chamber music concerts “The Art of the Improvisation” are on Friday, June 10 at 6 pm at Trinity Church, 484 Lime Rock Rd., Lakeville, CT, and on Sunday, June 12 at 4 pm at Saint James Place, 352 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA. The choral concerts “Grandson of Afro-Brazilian Slaves” are on Friday, June 24, at 7:15 pm at Saint James Place, and on Saturday, June 25 at 6 pm at Trinity Church. Tickets are $35 (general seating), $60 (premium seating), and $10 (youth). All audience members, staff, and performers must show proof of being fully vaccinated, and must remain properly masked once inside the performance venue. These policies are subject to change. Access online ticket sales and the full Covid precaution policy in the most updated version on Crescendo’s website: