Tuesday, November 24, 2009
10 Most Influential Early Music Ensembles
Recently, Early Music Today (the London-based equivalent of Early Music America magazine) published an article entitled "10 Most Influential Early Music Ensembles." I rolled my eyes before I even read their list, which not surprisingly was very Anglo-centric (7 of their top 10 are English ensembles). The only "foreigners" allowed in the top 10 were Concentus Musicus Wien (founded by Nikolaus Hanoncourt in 1953), Les Arts Florissants (founded by William Christie in 1979), and Hesperion XXI (found by Jordi Savall in 1974). Those three probably belong in anybody's top 10, along with The Early Music Consort of London (founded by David Munrow in 1967) and The Tallis Scholars (founded by Peter Phillips in 1973). But where were the North Americans? Or even the Netherlands' all-stars, for that matter?
How can anyone leave out the New York Pro Musica (founded in 1952 by Noah Greenberg) when discussing the 10 most influential early music ensembles? David Munrow would never have been able to do what he did if the New York Pro Musica hadn't done it first. Then there's the Boston Camerata (founded in 1954 and still going strong)--that's amazing longevity. And Anonymous 4, with their millions of CDs sold and history of topping the Billboard classical chart. I don't know which American orchestras to mention: the earliest (Boston Baroque, founded 1973) or the biggest (Philharmonia Baroque) or the biggest in Canada (Tafelmusik). Not to mention the Boston Handel and Haydn Society, a choral/orchestral group that is 194 years old and counting.