Mercury Baroque presents Bach Sonatas

3 p.m., Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mercury Baroque performs Gamba Sonata, Violin Sonata and Trio Sonata by the master, J.S. Bach, on period instruments.

Jonathan Godfrey, Violin
Oleg Sulyga, Violin
Antoine Plante, Viola da gamba
Sebastian Knebel, Harpsichord

Jonathan Godfrey – Violin
A founding member of Mercury Baroque, violinist Jonathan Godfrey has served as Concertmaster and Violin Soloist since the ensemble’s inception. Jonathan was featured as Violin Soloist on Mercury’s first recording project, Eight Seasons-a recording that pairs Vivaldi’s famous Four Seasons with the Four Seasons of Argentinean tango composer Astor Piazzolla. He performed the world premiere of a reconstructed concerto by J.S. Bach for violin and viola, along with violist Robert Bridges and Houston’s Ars Lyrica Ensemble, and was also invited to perform Bach’s A Minor Violin Concerto with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ecuador. Equally at home performing works from modern and classical eras, Jonathan has performed Beethoven’s Triple Concerto; Bernstein’s Serenade After Plato’s Symposium for Violin and Orchestra; Chausson’s Concerto for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet; Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto; and Sarasate’s Zigunerweisen with orchestras around the country.

Oleg Sulyga – Violin
Native of Russia, Oleg Sulyga began his music education in Moscow Central Music School; later continuing it in Oviedo, Spain; Idyllwild Arts, CA; SMU in Dallas, TX; and the University of Houston. Mr. Sulyga has been a participant of numerous international festivals worldwide. For a number of years he traveled extensively as a member of world-renowned ensemble “The Moscow Virtuosi.” Currently Mr. Sulyga is a member of the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet orchestras. Last season, he was an Affiliate Artist at the University of Houston where he taught violin. He is also a frequent chamber musician and a member of Mercury Baroque.

Antoine Plante – Viola da gamba
Now in his seventh season as Artistic Director of Mercury Baroque, Antoine Plante continues to build upon his reputation for innovative programming and musical excellence. Antoine led Mercury in last season’s fully-staged performance of Rameau’s Pygmalion, and in concerts of Bach, Purcell, and other Baroque masters. He has also recently conducted the National Symphony Orchestra of Ecuador and the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra. Antoine’s ever-expanding repertoire ventured into the classical this season with Mercury’s performance of Mozart and Haydn symphonies. A native of Montréal, Antoine earned a Bachelor of Music Degree from the Conservatoire de Montréal and a Master in Music Degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. In addition to conducting, he is a core member of the Houston Grand Opera, and has played with many other prominent ensembles, including Les Violons du Roi and the Montreal Baroque Orchestra.

Sebastian Knebel – Harpsichord
Sebastian Knebel is a German specialist for early keyboard instruments. He had his first training in organ building, although he was already an organist in several churches in Berlin at the time. After studies at the Dresden Kirchenmusikchule, he continued his studies at the Franz Liszt Conservatory in Weimar and at the Folkwang Conservatory in Essen, specializing in historical keyboard instruments. In addition to a busy freelance career in Dresden playing harpsichord, organ, and hammerflügel, he works for the restoration and preservation of historical organs in Saxony and elsewhere. Mr. Knebel has appeared with many period-instrument ensembles, including I Febiarmonici, Capella de la Torre, Musicalische Versammlung, Chursaechsische Capelle, Capella Sagittariana, and the Musica Florea in Prague. He is the harpsichordist of the Dresdner Instrumental Concert and the Telemannischen Collegium Michaelstein as well as the artistic director of the ensemble Labia vocalia. For the 2007-2008 season, he is resident guest artist at Christ the King Lutheran Church and with the Bach Society, where he is scheduled to play an Organ Vespers on November 18, 2007 and to lead a Chamber Music Concert on April 13, 2008.

Promenade Series Season Tickets ordered before August 25, 2008 are just $60 for individuals and $175 for families. The season ticket includes all ten (10) concerts. After August 25 the Individual price is $70 and the Family price is $200.

Single ticket prices are: $12 adult, $10 senior, $6 child/student. Group tickets are also available for $8 each for groups of 10 or more.

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