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MEDIA ALERT: BEMF presents two GRAMMY-nominated virtuosos—Paul O’Dette and Ronn McFarlane—in lute duets from Italy and England, January 15 in New York City and January 16 in Boston

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ARTIST: Paul O’Dette, lute
Ronn McFarlane, lute
WHEN: Friday, January 15, 2016 at 7:30pm
Gilder Lehrman Hall at The Morgan Library & Museum,
225 Madison Avenue, New York, NY

Saturday, January 16, 2015 at 8pm
First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA
PROGRAM:  For Two Lutes: Virtuoso Duets from Italy and England
Dalza: Saltarello & Piva
Milano: Canon
Milano: Fantasia Settima
Milano: La Spagna
Milano: Fantasia Terza
Milano: Fantasia Sexta
Galilei: Contrapunto Primo
Galilei: Duo tutti di fantasia
Galilei: Contrapunto Secondo
Merulo: Canzona Prima à doi liutti unisoni (arr. Terzi)
Merulo: Canzona Seconda à doi liutti unisoni (arr. Terzi)
Piccinini: Passacaglia
Piccinini: Toccata à dui Liuti
Anonymous: Dreweries accordes
Anonymous: La Rossignol
Anonymous: A Merrie Mood
Anonymous: Galliard after Laveche
Anonymous: De la Tromba Pavin
Dowland: The Earl of Essex Galliard
Danyel: A Fancy
Danyel: Passingmeasures Galliard
Dowland: Fantasie #7
Johnson: Chi Passa
Johnson: The Flatt Pavan
Johnson: The Galliard to the Flatt Pavan
Johnson: The Queen’s Treble
TICKETS: Tickets for the Cambridge performance are priced at $20, $39, $51, and $70 each, and can be purchased at and 617-661-1812; a $5 discount for students, seniors, and groups is offered by calling 617-661-1812. Subscription discounts are available with the purchase of three or more programs on the 2015–2016 Season.

Tickets for the New York City performance are priced at $35 for Morgan members and $45 for non-members and can be purchased at and 212-685-0008, ext. 560.

While beloved in the Renaissance as a solo instrument, the finest lutenists often enjoyed the chance to double their pleasure in duets. Trading passages back and forth, the dueling lutenists would challenge each other with increasingly dazzling feats of virtuosity.

“The art of duetting is certainly as old as music itself, for what could be more satisfying than one’s own instrument but two of the same?” asks Paul O’Dette in his introduction to the program. “The resulting interaction of two performers and their exchange of musical ideas create an intensity and vitality that is perhaps unique in the world of chamber music, challenging each performer to match the other, often in quick succession.”

Two of today’s finest lutenists, BEMF’s own Artistic Co-Director Paul O’Dette and Ronn McFarlane, take up this thrilling tradition in a duo recital showcasing works from Italy and England, where the lute duet achieved its greatest heights. These sought-after lutenists, both GRAMMY nominees for their solo recordings, come together for a richly varied program full of simple pleasures and profound sophistication. Be entertained by the spectacular beauty of Italian masters Dalza, Milano, Merula, Piccinini, and Vincenzo Galilei (father of the famed Galileo Galilei) and the sheer entertainment of the great Elizabethan composers Dowland, Danyel, and John Johnson.

Paul O’Dette
has been described as “the clearest case of genius ever to touch his instrument” (Toronto Globe and Mail). He appears regularly at major festivals throughout the world performing lute recitals and in chamber music programs with leading early music colleagues. Mr. O’Dette has made more than 140 recordings, including two GRAMMY Award-winners, six GRAMMY Award-nominations, and numerous international record awards. The Complete Lute Music of John Dowland was awarded the prestigious Diapason d’Or de l’Année, and The Bachelar’s Delight: Lute Music of Daniel Bacheler was nominated for a GRAMMY. While best known for his recitals and recordings of virtuoso solo lute music, Paul O’Dette is also active as a conductor of Baroque opera. With the Boston Early Music Festival and Musical Co-Director Stephen Stubbs, he has earned a GRAMMY Award for Best Opera Recording, two ECHO Klassik Awards, and a Diapason d’Or de l’Année. In addition to his activities as a performer, Paul O’Dette is an avid researcher and has published numerous articles on issues of historical performance practice, and co-authored the John Dowland entry in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Paul O’Dette is Professor of Lute and Director of Early Music at the Eastman School of Music and Artistic Co-Director of the Boston Early Music Festival.

GRAMMY-nominated lutenist Ronn McFarlane strives to bring the lute—the most popular instrument of the Renaissance—into today’s musical mainstream and make it accessible to a wider audience. At thirteen, upon hearing “Wipe Out” by the Surfaris, he fell wildly in love with music and taught himself to play on a “cranky sixteen-dollar steel-string guitar.” He kept at it, playing blues and rock music on the electric guitar while studying classical guitar before eventually turning his full attention and energy to the lute. In addition to touring throughout Europe and North America as a soloist and as a member of the Baltimore Consort, Mr. McFarlane has made over thirty-five recordings, including solo albums, lute duets, flute and lute duets, lute songs, recordings with the Baltimore Consort, the complete lute music of Vivaldi, and Blame Not My Lute, a collection of Elizabethan lute music and poetry, with spoken word by Robert Aubry Davis. Recently, Mr. McFarlane has been engaged in composing new music for the lute, building on the tradition of the lutenist-composers of past centuries. His original compositions are the focus of his solo CD, Indigo Road, which received a GRAMMY Award nomination for Best Classical Crossover Album in 2009.

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Recognized as the preeminent early music presenter and Baroque opera producer in North America, the Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) has been credited with securing Boston’s reputation as “America’s early music capital” (The Boston Globe). Founded in 1981, BEMF offers diverse programs and activities, including one GRAMMY Award-winning and three GRAMMY Award-nominated opera recordings, an annual concert series that brings early music’s brightest stars to the Boston and New York concert stages, and a biennial week-long Festival and Exhibition recognized as the “world’s leading festival of early music” (The Times, London). The 19th Boston Early Music Festival will take place from June 11–18, 2017, and will feature fully staged performances of André Campra’s Le Carnaval de Venise as the Centerpiece Opera. BEMF’s Artistic Leadership includes Artistic Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, Opera Director Gilbert Blin, and Orchestra Director Robert Mealy.

The 2015–2016 Boston Early Music Festival Concert Series is presented with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, ConstellationCenter, WGBH Radio Boston, Harpsichord Clearing House, Zuckermann Harpsichords International, and The Gregory E. Bulger Foundation.

The Morgan Library & Museum began as the private library of financier Pierpont Morgan, one of the preeminent collectors and cultural benefactors in the United States. Today, more than a century after its founding, The Morgan serves as a museum, independent research library, musical venue, architectural landmark, and historic site. Located at Madison Avenue and 36th Street, with world-renowned collections of drawings, literary and historical manuscripts, musical scores, medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, printed books, photography, and ancient Near Eastern seals and tablets. Gilder Lehrman Hall, designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, was opened by the Morgan in May 2006, and seats 264 people, providing a uniquely intimate concert venue. This marks the Boston Early Music Festival’s 10th season of concerts at The Morgan Library & Museum.

For more information, images, press tickets, or to schedule an interview, please contact Kathleen Fay at 617-661-1812 or email