Parthenia A Consort of Viols

6725 47th Avenue
Woodside, NY 11377

Parthenia, hailed by The New Yorker as "one of the brightest lights in New York's early-music scene," is a quartet of viols dedicated to the performance of ancient and contemporary repertoires. Parthenia is presented in concerts across America, and produces its own concert series in New York City, collaborating regularly with the world's foremost early music artists and ensembles, and has been featured on radio and television as well as festivals and series as wide-ranging as Music Before 1800, the Pierpont Morgan Library, Columbia University's Miller Theatre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Yale Center for British Art, the Harriman-Jewell Series in Kansas City, and the Tage Alter Musik Festival in Regensburg, Germany. Parthenia's unique variety of performances range from its popular touring program, "When Music & Sweet Poetry Agree," a celebration of Elizabethan poetry and music with actor Paul Hecht and mezzo-soprano Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek of Anonymous 4, to the complete viol fantasies of Henry Purcell and complete instrumental works of Robert Parsons, as well as commissions and premieres of many new works by composers such as Phil Kline, Richard Einhorn, Brian Fennelly, Will Ayton, Max Lifchitz, Kristin Norderval, David Glaser, and Frances White. The ensemble was featured along with frequent collaborators, the renaissance wind band Piffaro, in the Philadelphia premiere of the comic opera The Loathly Lady, by librettist Wendy Steiner and composer Paul Richards, based on Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Tale. Parthenia is in residence at Corpus Christi Church in New York, and is the Beatrice Diener Early Music Ensemble-in-Residence at Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University in New York.

About the Viol:
The viol, or viola da gamba, is a family of stringed instruments celebrated in European music from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. Today on both sides of the Atlantic, soloists as well as viol groups-known as "consorts"-have rediscovered the lost repertoire and ethereal beauty of this early instrument. The viol was first known as the "bowed guitar" (vihuela da arco), a joint descendent of the medieval fiddle and the 15th-century Spanish guitar. Unlike its cousin, the arm-supported violin (viola da braccio), the viol is held upright on the leg (gamba) or between the legs; its bow is gripped underhand; and its body is made of bent or molded wood. These characteristics lend a distinctive lightness and resonance to viol sound that have inspired a wave of new works by 21st-century composers and a growing enthusiasm on the part of international audiences.

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