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A portal to 18th century Ireland

Irish Baroque Orchestra perfoms in first Irish concert of the week

By Zarrin Ahmed
On March 9, 2014

  • The Irish Baroque Orchestra performed at Jorgensen Sunday afternoon, bringing songs from 18th century Ireland to Storrs. This is the first of two Irish concerts at Jorgensen this week, as Danú will perform on Friday night. Santiago Pelaez

The Irish Baroque Orchestra filled the stage at Jorgensen Sunday afternoon. The orchestra performed songs that were a portal through time. Most were composed and played in 18th century Ireland, specifically in Dublin. Giving birth to the convergence of many composers all over Europe for inspiration and patronage, Dublin cultivated what is now called "Ireland's Golden Age." The culture of the period was heavily suppressed at the time due to English domination and the ongoing struggle for basic rights for Catholics and dissenting Protestants.
The performance featured solos from artistic director Monica Hugget on violin. Hugget has worked with baroque music for over three decades, pioneering the formation of ensembles and directing not only the Irish Baroque Orchestra but also the Portland Baroque Orchestra (centered in Portland, Oregon). Her impressive musical history includes acting as the Artistic Director for the The Julliard's School Historical Performance Program and founding Sonnerie, a world-renowned orchestra.
Hugget took control of the stage for the first few songs, playing short, upbeat jigs. Additionally, Irish harpist Siobhan Armstrong joined the show to play a gentle and slow tune. For the next song, she was joined by Pete Whalen, a bassoonist and a cellist and pianist.
Composers whose work was featured in the show included Pepusch, Giminiani, Carolan, Dubourg, Pasquali, Vivaldi, Cornelius Lyons and Handel.

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