Series Concerts

Rule Britannia: Celebrating the Tercentenary of Thomas Arne

Rule Britannia ThumbnailOur season kicks off with a tribute to one of eighteenth-century England’s most popular and successful composers. Thomas Arne’s works run the gamut from pleasure garden songs for Vauxhall to the first Italian-style opera seria written in English. Plumbing the Newberry Library collections, we’ve recreated his colorful orchestrations for strings, baroque flute, and continuo to perform our selection of Shakespeare songs, opera arias, and chamber pieces. You’ll be invited to join us in singing the evening’s finale!


  • Ellen Hargis, soprano; Judith Malafronte, mezzo-soprano; William Hite, tenor
  • David Douglass and Brandi Berry, violin and viola
  • Anita Rieder, flute
  • Craig Trompeter, cello
  • Jason Moy, harpsichord

Melody and Miracles: Cantigas de Santa Maria

Cantigas de Santa Maria ThumbnailWhile languishing in illness, Alfonso X (twelfth-century king of Castille, León and Galicia) prayed to the Virgin Mary for divine intercession that he might survive. After making a full recovery, he expressed his gratitude by commissioning songs, or cantigas, recounting the Virgin’s miracles and singing her praises. The result was the lavishly illustrated and justly renowned manuscript of the Cantigas de Santa Maria. Set to compelling melodies, these stories will be sung by Ellen Hargis to the accompaniment of medieval plucked and bowed strings, winds, percussion, and the voices of the Newberry Chorus. The sensory experience of the performance will be enhanced by projections of supertitle translations of the texts and of the manuscript’s stunning artwork.


  • David Douglass and Shira Kammen, vielle and rebec
  • Mark Rimple, citole, psaltery, and voice
  • Tom Zajac, winds, harp, and percussion
  • Ellen Hargis, voice
  • The Newberry Chorus

The Howard Mayer Brown Memorial Concert
Musica Secreta: Passion and Virtuosity at Court

Musica Secreta ThumbnailAt the turn of the 17th century, the noble courts and elite salons of Ferrara, Florence, Rome, and Venice were hotbeds of musical patronage. We’ll recreate the lavish ensembles employed at these Italian centers to perform the innovative music of Luzzaschi, Peri, Monteverdi,and Wert-music that was often a closely guarded, private luxury for a select inner circle. Enter these private chambers with us to revel in the celestial treble sonority of the Concerti di Donne and rich consort textures of violins, harpsichord and lutes.


  • Ellen Hargis and Carrie Henneman Shaw, sopranos; Tracy Cowart, mezzo-soprano
  • The Newberry Violin Band
  • Mark Shuldiner, harpsichord
  • The Venere Lute Quartet

Special Events

Recital: My Favorite Things

My Favorite Things Thumbnail

David Douglass will perform his favorite music on his favorite instruments: vielle, rebec, Renaissance and Baroque violins, and viola da gamba! He’ll be joined by the fabulous Shira Kammen on Medieval strings and Renaissance violin and harpsichordist extraordinaire Mark Shuldiner.

Wayward Sisters

Wayward Sisters group portraitOur annual Emerging Artists Concert brings you the next big thing. We are delighted this year to present Wayward Sisters, a new ensemble specializing in 17th-century music for violin, recorder, and continuo. Don’t miss Beth Wenstrom, Anna Steinhoff, and Anne Timberlake as they display their fiery virtuosity and passion for the early Baroque with our Newberry audience.

Voice and Viols: Something Old, Something New

Voice and Viols ThumbnailSoprano Ellen Hargis and the Newberry Consort of Viols present a delightful mix of songs ranging from the Elizabethan period to today. You’ll hear classics by old masters William Byrd, John Dowland, John Wilbye, and Orlando Gibbons paired with new works written or arranged by new masters Elvis Costello, Carol Herman, Benjamin Britten, Paul Lansky, and Will Ayton. Expect some surprises!

Encore Performance: Venere Lute Quartet

Venere Lute Quartet group portraitOne of few professional lute ensembles in the world, the Venere Lute Quartet has been praised for their “infectious verve” and “fine technical command” (Christopher Price, Goldberg Magazine). Acoustically warm and visually stunning, the Theater at Ida Noyes Hall is the perfect setting to hear their latest discoveries and arrangements for multiple lutes. Don’t miss this rare opportunity.