The San Francisco Early Music Society announces its annual Christmas concert performed by the Bay Area's Musica Pacifica. The distinguished chamber ensemble offers a festive tour of Christmas music from 18th-century England, France, Germany, and Italy. Special guests Clara Rottsolk, soprano, and Washington McClain, oboe, join the core group of Judith Linsenberg, recorder, Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin, Charles Sherman, harpsichord, and Josh Lee, cello and gamba. Their program will include traditional English carols, French noëls from Corrette and Charpentier, H.I.F. Biber's "Nativity" Sonata from his famous set of 15 Mystery (or Rosary) Sonatas, Antonio Vivaldi's vivacious chamber concerto La Pastorella, and sacred sonatas and arias from Handel, Telemann, and Bach.
"Musica Pacifica is fortunate to work with two such outstanding performers, Clara [Rottsolk] and Washington [McClain]. It is our first collaboration with Clara, and we are delighted to hear her exercise her impressive range with arias from Bach's exquisite cantatas to such old carols as Guillô, Pran Ton Tamborin that we know as Pat-a-Pan."
Described as "some of the finest baroque musicians in America" (American Record Guide) and "among the best in the world" (Alte Musik Aktuell),Musica Pacificaperforms 17th- and 18th-century music on varying combinations of recorder, violin, cello/gamba, harpsichord, and percussion. Their very recent Dancing in the Isles CD continues to receive rave reviews from music journals around the world, including American Record Guide; the German magazine Concerto; Early Music Today from the UK; and theprestigious Gramophone from the UK, which called it "one of the zestiest recordings of recent vintage to present works that once had them dancing and listening with joy." The online journal, Musica Dei Donum said: "The playing is first-rate: full of bounce, stylish, and technically immaculate."
ABOUT CLARA ROTTSOLK (guest soprano)
"Pure and shining" (Cleveland Plain Dealer) soprano Clara Rottsolk has been lauded by The New York Times for her "clear, appealing voice and expressive conviction" and by The Philadelphia Inquirer for the "opulent tone [with which] every phrase has such a communicative emotional presence." In a repertoire extending from the Renaissance to the contemporary, her solo appearances with orchestras and chamber ensembles have taken her across the United States, Japan and South America. She specializes in historically informed performance practice, singing with ensembles such as American Bach Soloists, Tempesta di Mare, Les Délices, St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, Magnificat Baroque, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Bach Sinfonia, Piffaro-The Renaissance Wind Band, Trinity Wall Street Choir, Handel Choir of Baltimore, Buxtehude Consort, and the Masterwork Chorus under the direction of conductors including Joshua Rifkin, Bruno Weil, Paul Goodwin, Jeffrey Thomas, John Scott, David Effron, and Andrew Megill. She has performed at the Carmel Bach Festival, Indianapolis Early Music Festival, Berkeley Early Music Festival, Philadelphia Bach Festival, Whidbey Island Music Festival, Boston Early Music Festival, and the Festival de Música Barroca de Barichara (Colombia). In collaboration with fortepianist Sylvia Berry, pianists Holly Chatham and Byron Schenkman, and guitarist-lutenist Daniel Swenberg, Ms. Rottsolk has given recitals of song from the 17th to 21st centuries in venues including the Goethe-Institut Boston, Storm King Arts Center, St. Mark's Church Philadelphia and Swarthmore College. Among her stage roles are Micaëla (Carmen), Semele (Semele), Dido (Dido and Aeneas), Arminda (La finta giardiniera) and Laetitia (The Old Maid and the Thief). A native of Seattle, Ms. Rottsolk earned her music degrees at Rice University and Westminster Choir College, and was awarded for musical excellence by the Metropolitan Opera National Council (Northwest Region). Currently she is based in Philadelphia and teaches voice at Swarthmore, Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges.
ABOUT WASHINGTON McCLAIN (guest oboe)
Washington McClain, a specialist on baroque and classical oboes, has performed with many groups in the United States, including The City Musik (Chicago), Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (San Francisco), Apollo's Fire (Cleveland), Opera Lafayette (Washington, D.C.), and Washington Bach Consort. In Canada and Europe, he has performed with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, serving as core oboist for seven years, Pacific Baroque Orchestra (Vancouver), The Netherlands Bach Society, and is currently principal oboist of l'Ensemble Arion in Montréal, Québec. Washington's extensive teaching and performing experience in workshops and festivals in North America include The Amherst Early Music Festival, Western Baroque Double Reeds Festival (Seattle), the Madison Early Music Festival, The International Baroque Institute at Longy (Boston), Festival International de Musique Baroque de Lamèque (New Brunswick, Canada), The Staunton Music Festival (Virginia), and the Boston Early Music Festival. Washington has recorded for the Sony Classical, ATMA, Analekta, Naxos, Centaur, and CBC Records labels, and currently teaches at The Early Music Institute at Indiana University in Bloomington. He makes his home in Windsor, Ontario (Canada).