Juilliard415 & Robert Mealy
Sunday, April 19, 2020, 4 p.m.
Corpus Christi Church
Baroque chamber orchestra
A Tale of Two Cities: Corelli’s Rome and Lully’s Paris
Juilliard’s Historical Performance program celebrates its tenth anniversary by commemorating an event that’s kindred in spirit: the birth of the 17th-century orchestra in two cities. In Paris, the autocratic Jean-Baptiste Lully, and in Rome, the violinist Corelli, assembled sensational musical bands. The exceptionally gifted students of Juilliard415 perform music by these masters as well as by Muffat, Handel, and Rameau.
“Alongside [the singers] were 12 clear-focused, superbly balanced instrumentalists … who pulled the piece along, as if plucking it from heaven. The half-dozen violins, two cellos, double bass, the ever-present theorbo and pair of harpsichords, not only played well but fell into the fun of the piece.” —Broadway World
Since its founding in 2009, Juilliard415, the school’s principal period-instrument ensemble, has made significant contributions to musical life in New York and beyond, bringing major figures in the field of early music to lead performances of both rare and canonical works of the 17th and 18th centuries. The many distinguished guests who have led Juilliard415 include Harry Bicket, William Christie, Monica Huggett, Ton Koopman, Nicholas McGegan, Rachel Podger, Jordi Savall, and Masaaki Suzuki.
Juilliard415 tours extensively in the US and abroad, having performed on five continents with notable appearances at the Boston Early Music Festival, Leipzig Bachfest, and Utrecht Early Music Festival (where Juilliard was the first-ever conservatory in residence), and on a ten-concert tour of New Zealand. With its frequent musical collaborator, the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, the ensemble has played throughout Italy, Japan, Southeast Asia, the UK, and India.
Juilliard415 has performed many major oratorios and fully staged productions: Handel’s Agrippina and Radamisto, Bach’s Matthew and John Passions, Cavalli’s La Calisto, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and performances in the US and Holland of Bach’s Mass in B Minor conducted by Ton Koopman. The 2017-18 season was notable for the Juilliard debuts of the rising conductor Jonathan Cohen and the Belgian vocal ensemble Vox Luminis, a side-by-side collaboration with Philharmonia Baroque in San Francisco, as well as return visits by Rachel Podger, William Christie, an all-Bach concert with Maestro Suzuki, and the rare opportunity to participate in a fully-staged production of Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie. The 2018-19 season included international performances in Canada, London, Versailles, and throughout Scandinavia. In New York, Juilliard415 welcomed Paul Agnew and Alfredo Bernardini for their Juilliard debuts.
Entering its 10th anniversary season in 2019-20, Juilliard415 will be led by Paul Agnew, Kristian Bezuidenhout, William Christie, Richard Egarr, Nicholas McGegan, Rachel Podger, Masaaki Suzuki, and Juilliard Historical Performance director Robert Mealy, and, making his Juilliard415 debut, Pablo Heras-Casado. The 2019-20 season takes Juilliard415 to Paris, New Zealand, and to Germany.
Robert Mealy began exploring early music in high school, first with the collegium of UC Berkeley and then at the Royal College of Music in London, where he studied harpsichord and baroque violin. While an undergraduate at Harvard College, he joined the Canadian baroque orchestra Tafelmusik, and has since recorded and toured with a wide range of distinguished early music ensembles and led orchestras for Masaaki Suzuki, William Christie, Andrew Parrott, Paul Agnew, and Helmuth Rilling, among others. Recent projects include performing the complete works by J. S. Bach for violin and harpsichord at the Smithsonian and curating a medieval music series for New York’s TENET ensemble. A frequent leader and soloist, he is principal concertmaster at Trinity Wall Street, which recently completed a multi-year survey of the complete Bach cantatas. He is orchestra director of the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, which he has led in festival performances, tours, and Grammy-winning recordings. He regularly appears at international music festivals from Berkeley to Belgrade and Melbourne to Edinburgh; he recently performed at the Dans les Jardins de William Christie festival in France. A devoted chamber musician, he directs the 17th-century ensemble Quicksilver, whose debut recording, Stile Moderno, was hailed as “breakthrough recording of the year” by the Huffington Post. He has been director of Juilliard’s Historical Performance Program since 2012. From 2003 to 2015 he taught at Yale directing the postgraduate Yale Baroque Ensemble and the Yale Collegium Musicum; he also taught at Harvard where he founded the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra. In 2004 he received Early Music America’s Binkley Award for outstanding teaching and scholarship. He has recorded over eighty CDs on most major labels. He still likes to practice.