On May 6, a gap will be filled in the sphere of baroque performance. Queen City Musicians, will take the stage and give First Hill a taste of what’s to come during its inaugural 2014/2015 season.
“There are a lot of coral groups, there are a lot of instrumental ensembles, and there are a lot of theater companies, but there isn’t a group that specializes in baroque opera theatrically,” Julianna Emanski, co-founder of QCM and professional classical soprano, told The Capitol Hill Times. “There’s Seattle Baroque and Pacific Musicworks, there’s Gallery Concerts and Salish Sea Players. We’re all baroque specialists, but no one has really been dedicated in and made an effort to bring out the theatrical side of the baroque period and make it more exciting. Instead, they’ve just kept it in concert settings.”
QCM’s goal is to incorporate more angles to the experience. Added to the vocalists and instrumentalists, performances will include costumes, drama, and space for performers to move about the stage, giving spectators both an audio and visual show.
Perhaps it helps to explain that baroque is a period of artistic style that began in the 1600s. It birthed opera, and preferred music forms like cantata, sonata, and oratorio, using instruments specific to its time, and making different than that of a modern orchestra.
“All of our musicians are specialized in this genre of music,” Emanski said. “We’ll play music from 1600 to 1800, and we’ll use instruments like a theorbo and a viold de gamba. We use baroque bassoons, and harpsichord. The violins have different kids of strings and a different bow, and have a sound that’s more shimmery.”
Emanski said that QCM began as a dinner conversation between friends – her and the other two co-founders, Patrick Morgan and Reynaldo Patiño. Morgan is a trained harpsichordist and continuo organist, and Patiño a baroque violinist.
The three maintain that their mission is to present local talent in Seattle in conjunction with guest musicians from all over the country to expose modern audiences to music that was written centuries ago. About 80 percent of the group’s musical artists are Seattle residents, the rest from other parts of the country.
Next week’s performance, “Actéon” by Antoine Charpentier, is being presented by the Early Music Guild on its Tuesday concert series.
“They’re helping us get our feet on the ground. It’s our debut and kind of pregnant announcement; we have this upcoming season and this is an example of what we can do,” Emanski said.
Then, in October, QCM will do a Halloween concert a Q Café. Expect fog and lighting, and performers dressed in dark capes and masked faces. Their music will be memorized and include English “mad songs” that were inspired back when people hung out at mental hospitals and observed the patients in the same way that people today watch dysfunctional reality television programs.
Emanski said, “Since they didn’t have TV, they wrote these music pieces, their ideas of what a mad person is like.”
The Ode to St. Cecilia’s Day, a traditional oratorio concert composed by George Frideric Handel, is scheduled for next January, and is a sacred work that would have been staged had it not been originally preformed during the Catholic observance of Lent.
During it’s first year, as well as gaining supporters, QCM is hoping to get founding partners who are willing to donate $300 or more towards the groups future.
Queen City Musician’s first preformance is on May 6, at 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church (609 8th Avenue). More information and tickets can be found at www.queencitymusicians.com.