Critics and audiences LOVED Les Délices’ new Baroque-Jazz Crossover program “Songs without Words.” Premiered in October 2016 in Cleveland, Les Délices will bring the program to Boston in April 2017 and record it for their 4th CD in September. Watch out for a national tour and CD release in Fall of 2018!
“Mixing old and new numbers freely, the ensemble liberated the music of both eras, creating a kind of conversation across the centuries.”
“Nagy cut loose with a well‑thought‑out solo that would have done any seasoned jazz artist proud.”
“Summoning their R&B souls, the Trio played with flair.”
“Following a poetic account of Michel Lambert’s Vos mespris the trio ended this most fascinating concert with Johnny Mercer’s iconic Autumn Leaves. Highlighted by some wonderful improvisations from Nagy, a laid-back walking bass line from Walhout, and inventive playing from Milnes, this was the perfect conclusion to a forward-thinking program.”
Now entering their 8th Season, Les Délices is looking forward to shaking things up with some significant departures from the ensemble’s core Baroque repertory in the coming year. Known for their creative, original programming, Les Délices (pronounced Lay day-lease) has been recognized as “an early music group with an avant-garde appetite,” whose “concerts and recordings are journeys of discovery” (New York Times).
Artistic director Debra Nagy explained, “2016-17 will be Les Délices’ most varied season ever! We’ll be presenting music ranging from Machaut to Mozart to Clérambault and even a few jazz standards! This is what I love about Les Délices – our adventurous, exploratory programs – and I want to provide as rich and interesting an experience for our audiences as possible.”
Subscriptions ($63-$120) and Single Tickets ($25-$35) for all concerts in the series will go on sale August 1 at www.lesdelices.org. Student Tickets ($5) are always available at the door.
Les Délices’ 8th season will also see several new initiatives and new guest artists. Nagy explained, “I’m very excited to feature several new artists for the first time: Eric Milnes is an exceptionally versatile and creative keyboardist who will join us for our crossover program in October, while the fantastic cellist Elinor Frey will join us in January for Mozart in Paris. Mozart in Paris also marks the first time Les Délices will perform Classical-era music on period instruments. In March, we’ll present our first-ever multi-media production complete with supertitles and projected images. Our first collaboration with Blue Heron in 2014 was such a success that we wanted to build on that work and bring Medieval music back to our Cleveland audience. I’m also excited about our expanded outreach programming and a new home for those programs at St. John’s Episcopal in Ohio City.”
In 2016-17, Les Délices will present four new subscription programs, release their third CD, perform two national tours, and present expanded outreach programming in and around Cleveland. For their subscription series in Cleveland, Les Délices will present timeless melodies and inspired improvisations in Songs without Words on October 15 & 16, 2016, create a new context for the famous composer with Mozart in Paris on January 21 & 22, 2017, showcase a medieval musical-poetic masterpiece in collaboration with Boston’s Blue Heron for Machaut’s Remede de Fortune (March 11 & 12, 2017), and tell tales of Fated Lovers on April 8 & 9, 2017.
Songs without Words. Les Délices’ director & baroque oboist Debra Nagy expands the repertoire for her instrument with timeless songs whose emotionally-charged melodies stir the passions and inspire improvisation with echoes of jazz. This intimate program of original arrangements and improvisations will breathe new life into torch songs spanning the 17th to 20th Centuries. Music by Michel Lambert, Marin Marais, Billy Strayhorn, Nina Simone, and more. Les Délices will present this program on Saturday October 15, 2016 at 8pm at SPACES (2220 Superior Viaduct, Cleveland) and on Sunday October 16, 2016 at 4pm at Herr Chapel at Plymouth Church UCC (2860 Coventry Rd., Shaker Heights) (pre-concert lecture at 3pm).
Mozart in Paris. Europe’s most fashionable city should have been ripe for the young Mozart’s picking but the strong-willed composer lost out when he refused to network with influential people or accommodate French tastes. Montreal-based cellist Elinor Frey joins Les Délices for this special program that pairs chamber music by Mozart for oboe & strings with Paris’s toasts of the town – Boccherini, Gluck, and more. Fascinated by the cello’s origins and the creative process of new music, Elinor Frey plays both period and modern instruments. Her most recent disc of early Classical sonatas from Berlin won the 2015 Québec Opus Prize for Early Music CD of the year. 2731 Prospect Gallery (2731 Prospect Ave, Cleveland) will host this program on Saturday January 21, 2017 at 8pm with a repeat performance at Herr Chapel at Plymouth Church UCC (2860 Coventry Rd., Shaker Heights) on January 22, 2017 at 4pm (pre-concert lecture at 3pm).
Machaut’s Remede de Fortune. Les Délices teams up once again with Boston’s acclaimed Blue Heron (Scott Metcalfe, dir.) to present Guillaume de Machaut’s Remede de Fortune (c. 1440). One of Machaut’s musical-poetic masterpieces, the Remede relates the story of a bumbling lover who – with help from Hope and by Fortune’s good grace – ultimately gets the girl. Don’t miss this special program complete with projected supertitles and gorgeous manuscript images illustrating the story. The Saturday evening concert will take place at 8pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ohio City (2600 Church Ave, Cleveland) on March 11, 2017. Les Délices repeats the program inside Herr Chapel at Plymouth Church UCC (2860 Coventry Rd., Shaker Heights) on March 12, 2017 at 4pm (pre-concert lecture at 3pm). In addition, Les Délices will present a free Family Concert on Saturday March 11, 2016 at the BOP STOP (2920 Detroit Rd, Cleveland) at 3pm.
Fated Lovers. Les Délices returns to their French Baroque roots for the final concert of their 8th season with two evocative cantatas by Louis-Nicolas Clérambault (Pyrame et Thisbé and Leandre et Héro) plus excerpts from Rameau’s groundbreaking opera Hippolyte et Aricie that relate the timeless tales of star-crossed lovers. Just as in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, true love sometimes ends with the ultimate sacrifice. This new program brings back two of Les Délices’ favorite soloists: soprano Clara Rottsolk (“supple and stylish…unflaggingly attractive” – Gramophone) and tenor Jason McStoots (“an exquisite singer and a fine actor” – Cleveland Plain Dealer). Les Délices returns to the Galleries at CSU on Saturday April 8, 2017 at 8pm, and repeats their program at inside Herr Chapel at Plymouth Church UCC (2860 Coventry Rd., Shaker Heights) on Sunday April 9, 2017 at 4pm (pre-concert lecture at 3pm).
Les Délices is a small ensemble that makes a big impact with entertaining, thought-provoking programs presented in unique and intimate settings that enhance the listening experience. Les Délices’ informal gallery concerts celebrate Cleveland’s flourishing arts community and simulate a salon atmosphere similar to the one in which this music was first heard and enjoyed. Saturday evening concerts are followed by a wine and cheese reception and conversation with the artists. Sunday afternoon concerts are preceded by pre-concert lectures starting at 3pm, and are presented in the gorgeous acoustics of Plymouth Church’s Herr Chapel in Shaker Heights, where Les Délices is Artist in Residence.
Do you ever wonder what happens in a musical rehearsal? Or how to dance a minuet? What about the difference between a piano and harpsichord?
Les Délices is excited to announce plans for their expanded community outreach initiatives during the 2016-2017 Season, which includes a new residency at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood. St. John’s Episcopal Ohio City has been a place for community, liberation and hope since 1836.
This work builds on Les Délices’ March 2016 Ohio City Residency where the group offered open rehearsals, a dance workshop, and more – all free of charge. “The response we got was fantastic,” said Les Délices’ artistic director Debra Nagy. “The weekend residency was a great opportunity to make new friends, connect with neighborhood residents, and reach new audiences.”
Les Délices’ outreach programming provides a variety of ways for audiences to experience the music. Open Rehearsals are totally informal: folks can just stop in and gain a fresh perspective on creative artists’ working process. The Baroque Dance Workshop presents a rare opportunity for audiences to connect with Renaissance & Baroque music through movement and gesture. Les Délices’ Family Concerts and Library Presentations allow audiences of all ages to listen to, learn about, and respond to our work in myriad ways.
Nagy is an Ohio City resident and feels strongly about reaching out to the community on Cleveland’s Near-West side, “The primary goals for Les Délices’ outreach efforts in Ohio City are to build awareness of chamber music performance, expand the group’s west-side audience, increase visibility for Cleveland artists, and bring high-quality programming to a neighborhood that has so much to offer but is better known for its restaurants and breweries (which are fantastic – don’t get me wrong!).”
In 2016-17 Les Délices is planning to present two family concerts, several open rehearsals, a Baroque dance workshop, and a Christmas concert/service, in addition to in-school performances and workshops. All these events will be free and open to the public.
Known for their creative, original programming, Les Délices has been recognized as “an early music group with an avant-garde appetite,” whose “concerts and recordings are journeys of discovery” (New York Times).
“One of the many delights of Les Délices is that the music it plays, though chronologically old, always feels new. These are pieces — and often composers — that we haven’t heard before, thanks to music director Debra Nagy’s unflagging curiosity about the hidden gems of the past.” – Nick Jones
Read the Review from ClevelandClassical.com
Finding ways to circumvent rules has always been a popular pastime. It has also often inspired creative genius. When Louis XIV put a stranglehold on entertainments such as opera and theater by enforcing rules designed to secure official monopolies, non-court composers and playwrights countered with Fair Theaters (Théâtre de la Foire), low-cost performances on the outskirts of Paris.
Read the Preview from ClevelandClassical.com
Do you ever wonder what happens in a musical rehearsal? Or how to dance a minuet? What about the difference between a piano and harpsichord?
Visitors and residents of Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood will have the opportunity to have these, and many other questions answered during Les Délices’ upcoming weekend residency March 17-20, 2016 that celebrates early music in the community- and you may even learn a minuet step or two in the process!
Les Délices will be teaming up with community partners at St. John’s Historic Church, Franklin Circle Church, and the Cleveland Public Library’s Carnegie West Branch, as well as with local businesses to present six free events over the long weekend that will include open rehearsals, educational presentations, a Baroque Dance Workshop with live music, and a community concert.
Les Délices’ Artistic Director Debra Nagy is an Ohio City resident and feels strongly about reaching out to the community on Cleveland’s Near-West side, “The primary goals for the residency are to build awareness of chamber music performance, expand the group’s west-side audience, increase visibility for Cleveland artists, and bring high-quality programming to a neighborhood that has so much to offer but is better known for its restaurants and breweries (which are fantastic – don’t get me wrong!).”
Known for their creative, original programming, Les Délices has been recognized as “an early music group with an avant-garde appetite,” whose “concerts and recordings are journeys of discovery” (New York Times). Les Délices’ Artistic Director Debra Nagy (baroque oboe and recorder) will be joined by Julie Andrijeski (violin and dance), David Ellis (viola da gamba), and Christopher Bagan (harpsichord) for these programs.
Picking up on the success of recent neighborhood residencies by the Cleveland Orchestra, Nagy explained that “creating a weekend of intense activities in a single neighborhood is a natural extension of the Pop-Up Concerts we’ve been offering during our last two seasons. We want to bring music to our community and break down the barriers of participation between the audience and performers that include formality, location, and the cost of tickets.” Nagy added, “I hope that people might drop into an open rehearsal on Thursday or a Pop-Up Concert on Friday and decide to come to a Baroque Dance workshop on Saturday or even stay for our community concert on Sunday.”
Les Délices’ Ohio City Residency also coincides with a new, nationwide initiative designating March as Early Music Month. Sponsored by Early Music America, this national, grassroots campaign is designed to raise awareness of early music throughout the larger North American music community. Early Music Month seeks to connect enthusiasts, performers, presenters, scholars, builders, students, and venues to bring early music to its widest audience ever.
Les Délices’ Ohio City Residency Schedule:
Thursday March 17, 2016:
1:00pm-4:00pm & 6:00-9:00pm Open rehearsals at St. John’s Historic Church (2600 Church Ave, Cleveland OH 44113)
Do you ever wonder what happens in a musical rehearsal? Come in, listen, and learn about Les Délices’ working process as they prepare for their weekend of concerts and events taking place around Ohio City.
Friday March 18, 2016:
7:00-9:30pm Pop-Up Concert at The Canopy (3910 Lorain Ave, Cleveland OH 44113).
Pop-Up Concerts have an impromptu quality and are meant to foster a sense of discovery for casual listeners: passers-by are invited to come in and have a listen to short, set-based presentations where the performers introduce themselves and the music. This informal approach breaks down barriers–cost, location, and formality–and increases the visibility of local performers, bringing the visual and performing arts communities closer together.
Saturday March 19, 2016:
11:00am-12:00pm: Performance-Presentation at Carnegie West Library (W38th St & Fulton Rd, Cleveland OH 44113)
Families and Individuals are welcome at this free, educational performance and presentation introducing baroque instruments such as harpsichord, viola da gamba, baroque violin, baroque oboe and recorder.
3:00-4:00pm: Baroque dance workshop at Franklin Circle Church (1688 Fulton Rd, Cleveland OH 44113)
Children (8+) and Adults can come and learn the basics of baroque dance – including how to do a minuet step – in this free workshop led by baroque dancer expert & violinist Julie Andrijeski. Live Music! Space is limited – pre-registration is recommended.
Sunday March 20, 2016:
3:00-4:15pm: Free Concert at St. John’s Historic Church (2600 Church Ave, Cleveland OH 44113)
ClevelandClassical.com’s Mike Telin spoke with Shannon Mercer in anticipation of her debut with Les Délices for Folly of Youth:
“As an audience member, I can tell if a performer is or is not connecting to the text,” said Mercer. “And composers like Handel wanted the text to reach the people, so they could identify it with their own experiences. To do that, you can draw on things from your own life: remembering what it’s like to be young and carefree, and thinking that nothing can harm you. Which is what Icarus is doing when he says, ‘I’m going to be fine, don’t worry about me.’”
Thematically cohesive and stocked with immaculate performances, the brief program did more than just relate the legends of Icarus and Phaeton and how they were doomed by their ambitions. It reminded listeners of the ongoing success that Les Delices represents in the world of Baroque music.
Also on display: the group’s knack for picking great guests. In Canadian soprano Shannon Mercer, the septet had a stunning artistic ally, a voice of near-limitless power and agility as well as an interpreter steeped in the theatricality of the repertoire.
Read the Review for Folly of Youth from the Plain Dealer
Recitals that feature duo-harpsichordists are rare enough treats, but the program of French baroque music that Michael Sponseller and Jacob Street played on Les Délices’ series at The Galleries at Cleveland State University on Saturday evening, January 16, was an extraordinary tasting menu of twenty opera-related delights. These ranged from the ancien cuisine music of Jean-Baptiste Lully and Marin Marais to the nouvelle cuisine experiments of Armand-Louis Couperin, sandwiched around ten wonderfully varied main courses by Jean-Philippe Rameau and followed by a pair of postprandial confections supplied by Pancrace Royer.