Senior High School Musicians Tackle Baroque Masterworks with Guts!
A special treat at this year’s Berkeley Festival & Exhibition will be the Festival debut performance by the Davis Senior High School Baroque Ensemble, Wednesday, June 4, at 5:00 p.m. Located just northeast of the Bay Area in Davis, CA, Davis Senior High School boasts the distinction of having established the nation’s first baroque orchestra in a public high school.
Under the direction of Angelo Moreno, the Ensemble was established in 2009 to give the school’s growing student body an additional music study and performance option. As a pioneer in the development of baroque performance studies at the public high school level, the Ensemble consists of 34 students, from grades 10 to 12, who rehearse on a daily basis as part of their class schedules. The students play on instruments that have been converted to the style of the period—including gut strings and baroque bows—giving them the opportunity to experience an historically accurate performance environment. The Ensemble is also fortunate to rehearse on a professional-level harpsichord made by John Phillips.
“Period instruments facilitate students developing appropriate styles of the era, making the overall performance experience more historically accurate and engaging for the student musicians,” says director Moreno. “There is an entire period of music that was inaccessible within the organization of the orchestra program prior to the creation of the Davis High School Baroque Ensemble. The DHSBE gives orchestral students access to a wealth of orchestral literature unique in the development of music as we know it today.”
In addition to Moreno’s talented leadership, the Ensemble receives weekly support and inspiration from Phebe Craig and Michael Sand, Instructors in the Department of Music at UC Davis. Moreno is himself a baroque violinist and strings specialist who studied under Craig and Sand while at UCD.
As the first high school level group of its kind in the US, the DHS Baroque Ensemble has been featured in several national publications, including Symphony Magazine-Online, Early Music America, Strings Magazine, Teaching Music Magazine, and the California Music Educators Association-Online, for its unique nature and the model it represents for other public music programs.
In its concert for the Berkeley Festival & Exhibition, the Ensemble will perform three of the most beloved works from the epoch: Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto in G minor, the “Summer” concerto from The Four Seasons; Vivaldi’s variations on La Folia, Op. 1 No. 12; and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Concerto for two violins in D minor, BWV 1043.
The concert takes place at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Way in Berkeley. The venue is wheelchair accessible. Tickets for this special event are only $15 for premium seating, $10 general seating, and $5 for students under 30 with an ID. SFEMS members receive an automatic 10% discount.