Press Room

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra performs at Carnegie (Apr 30)

San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (PBO) and Music Director Nicholas McGegan travel to New York for performances on April 29, as part of the Cornell Concert Series on the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, and on April 30, at Carnegie Hall’s “Baroque Unlimited”series in New York.  Mr. McGegan conducts soprano Carolyn Sampson, countertenor Robin Blaze, and co-concertmaster Elizabeth Blumenstock in a program of Baroque works by composers George Frideric Handel, Arcangelo Corelli, Antonio Vivaldi, and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi.

For the last 28 years, PBO has been dedicated to historically-informed performance of Baroque, Classical, and early Romantic music on original instruments.  Led by Nicholas McGegan since 1985, PBO is recognized as one of the finest chamber orchestras, as well as one of the most exciting period-instrument ensembles.  Drawing on musicians from all over the U.S., PBO performs seven concert programs in four Bay Area cities each season, as well as touring the U.S. and internationally.

Tickets for the Cornell Concert Series on April 29 are available by phone at (800) 284-8422 or online at  Tickets for April 30 are available through the Carnegie Ticket Office at (212) 247-7800 (limited availability).

Nicholas McGegan, conductor

Known throughout the world for performances that match authority with enthusiasm, scholarship with joy, and curatorial responsibility with evangelical exuberance, music director Nicholas McGegan has established Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra as the leading period performance band in America – and at the forefront of the “historical” movement worldwide, with notable appearances at Carnegie Hall, London’s BBC Proms, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and the International Handel Festival, Göttingen where he has been artistic director since 1991

In Göttingen and with PBO, McGegan has defined an approach to period style that sets the current standard: probing, serious but undogmatic, recognizing that the music of the past doesn’t belong in a museum or in academia but in vigorous engagement with an audience, for pleasure and delight on both sides of the platform edge.  He has been a pioneer in the process of exporting historically informed practice beyond the small world of period instruments to the wider one of conventional symphonic forces, guest-conducting orchestras such as the Concertgebouw, Suisse Romande, Hallé, Philadelphia, as well as the Toronto, Sydney, Montreal, and Houston Symphonies, and opera companies like Covent Garden, San Francisco, Santa Fe, and Washington.

McGegan’s discography includes the world premiere recording of Handel’s Susanna, which attracted both a Gramophone Award and Grammy nomination, and recent issues of the same composer’s Solomon, Samson, and Acis and Galatea (a rarity in that it unearths the little-known version adapted by Felix Mendelssohn).

Carolyn Sampson, soprano

Carolyn Sampson has established a reputation as one of the most exciting sopranos to emerge in recent years.  Equally at home on the concert and opera stages, she has enjoyed notable successes both in the UK and throughout Europe and the U.S. 

Carolyn Sampson’s many roles for English National Opera have included the title role in Semele and Pamina(The Magic Flute) as well as roles in The Coronation of Poppeaand The Fairy Queen.  Most recently, she had a great success singing her first Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) for Opéra de Montpellier.  Future opera engagements include Iphis (Jephtha) for Opéra National du Rhin and various roles in Purcell’s The Faerie Queen for Glyndebourne Festival Opera.

Carolyn Sampson’s numerous concert engagements have included performances with esteemed orchestras throughout the world, such as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment,the English Concert, Bach Collegium Japan, the Hallé Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and La Chapelle Royale in Europe, and the San Francisco Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in the U.S.  In 2007, she sang the title role in Lully’s Psyché for the Boston Early Music Festival.  She looks forward to performances at the “Mostly Mozart” festival in New York.

Her many recordings for Hyperion with the King’s Consort include the music of Kuhnau, Knüpfer, Vivaldi, Zelenka, Monteverdi, and Handel, as well as Mozart in a highly acclaimed CD of sacred music selected as BBC Music magazine’s “Record of the Month”.  Her most recent recording of Purcell songs for BIS was selected as “Editor’s Choice” in the December 2007 issue of Gramophone.

Robin Blaze, countertenor

Now established in the front rank of interpreters of Purcell, Bach, and Handel, Robin Blaze’s busy schedule has taken him to Europe, South America, North America, Japan, and Australia.  He works with distinguished conductors in the early music field and has visited festivals from Boston to Utrecht.  He regularly appears with the Academy of Ancient Music, Bach Collegium Japan, Collegium Vocale, the English Concert, the Gabrieli Consort, the King’s Consort, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Sixteen, Concordia, Fretwork, and the Palladian Ensemble.

Blaze’s opera engagements have included Athamas in Semele at the Royal Opera House; Didymus in Theodora for Glyndebourne Festival Opera; Arsamenes in Xerxes, Athamas in Semele, Hamor in Jephtha,and Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream for English National Opera; and Bertarido in Rodelinda for Glyndebourne Touring Opera and at the Göttingen Handel Festival.

With a fast-growing number of acclaimed recordings to his name, Blaze continues to enjoy fruitful relationships with BIS and Hyperion.  He added to the BIS label’s cantata cycle this year, recording with Bach Collegium Japan.  Amongst his other recordings are Didymus in Theodora with the Gabrieli Consort (DG Archiv) and Purcell Odes with Collegium Vocale Gent (Harmonia Mundi).  He also recorded Thomas Adès’s The Lover in Winter (EMI).

Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin

Baroque violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock is widely admired as a performer of compelling verve and technical sparkle.  A frequent soloist, concertmaster, and leader with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Chicago Opera Theater, the Santa Fe Pro Musica, the Göttingen Handel Festival Orchestra (under Nicholas McGegan), and the Italian ensemble Il Complesso Barocco, she is also a member of several of California’s finest period-instrument ensembles, including Musica Pacifica, the Arcadian Academy, and Trio Galanterie.  Blumenstock has appeared with period-instrument orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout the United States and abroad, as well as performing at the Boston and Berkeley Early Music Festivals, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Los Angeles Opera, the Carmel Bach Festival, the Oulunsalo Soi festival in Finland, and the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, among many others.

With over 90 recordings to her credit, Blumenstock has recorded for Dorian, Harmonia Mundi, Virgin Classics, BMG, Reference Recordings, Koch International, Sony, New Albion, and more.  Blumenstock is an instructor of Baroque violin at the University of Southern California and the International Baroque Institute at Longy, and has also taught at Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute and the Austrian Baroque Academy.  She has coached the Baroque ensembles at Roosevelt University and the University of Virginia.

Press photos and additional information on Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra are available at, or by contacting Sasha Hnatkovich, Media and Publications Manager, at [email protected] or (415) 252-1288, ext. 315.


Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in New York:

April 29, Ithaca, NY

Cornell Concert Series, Cornell University

Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713): Concerto grosso, Op. 6, No. 4 in D major 

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759): Duets and Arias from Rodelinda and Giulio Cesare

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Concerto for violin in B-flat major, RV 375

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-36): Stabat mater

April 30, New York, NY

“Baroque Unlimited”, Carnegie Hall

Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713): Concerto grosso, Op. 6, No. 4 in D major 

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759): Duets and Arias from Rodelinda and Giulio Cesare

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Concerto for violin in B-flat major, RV 375

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-36): Stabat mater

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