The Four Nations Ensemble Ensemble

Helicon Performances

Symposium 62 - Four Nations Ensemble
Symposium 21 - A Haydn Symphony
Symposium 16 - The Four Nations Ensemble

Highlights include a major appearance at The Boston Early Music Festival & Exhibition; three week-long residencies with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in which the Ensemble led the orchestra in an examination of Baroque style through well known and rare masterworks for large ensembles; the release of Four Nations' six CDs to remarkable press notices; the development of special programs for The 92nd Street Y. Four Nations' intrigue with the interrelationship of music, art and literature has also led to performances for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Center for British Art at Yale University, and the Bard Graduate Center. The 2007-08 season continues in a third decade of its own highly acclaimed series in New York City, now in Dexter Hall at the New-York Historical Society.

As Four Nations distinguishes itself with imaginative and innovative programming, it is not unusual for the Ensemble to unite the music of Purcell and Schönberg, Haydn with French Canadian and Cajun fiddling, François Couperin and Chinese Court Music. Such adventurous programming has led to invitations to perform at The Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater and in New York's WQXR's June Festival of Quartets at Lincoln Center and serve as the resident chamber music ensemble at New Haven's International Festival of Arts & Ideas. Four Nations appeared on the Great Performers Series in Lincoln Center's inaugural season of chamber music concerts at the Walter Reade Theater. The Ensemble's extraordinary programming was spotlighted by Chamber Music America at the 1996 CMA conference where Andrew Appel was asked to lead a seminar demonstrating the possibilities in the imaginative juxtaposition of music from very different cultures.

Considered leading exponents of original instruments, The Four Nations Ensemble often appears on "collection" and "historical music society" series such as those at the Smithsonian and the Midwest Historical Keyboard Society. The Ensemble's most recent performance at the Yale University Collection of Musical Instruments included music by Couperin, Rameau, Debussy and Duparc on the collections' great instruments. In recognition of its dedication to unusual repertoire, Four Nations has also served as Ensemble-in-Residence at the New York Public Library's Special Collections at Lincoln Center. Four Nations' arts-in-education programs highlight the Ensemble's commitment to bringing the joy of chamber music to diverse audiences of all ages. Noteworthy, the Ensemble's public school program, allows Four Nations a week-long residency, particularly in under-served communities, with elementary or middle school children to integrate the arts into the regular curriculum. With its origins in public schools in Brooklyn and the Bronx, Noteworthy has allowed Four Nations to work with children in communities throughout the country including Hudson, New York; Minnesota; Colorado and Texas. In 1997 Four Nations received the Columbia County Council on the Arts' Arts-in-Education Recognition Award for its work with the Hudson City School District. Featured in Musical America's 1997 International Directory and Early Music America magazine's "Early Music in the Classroom" (Fall 1998), Noteworthy has become a prototype for similar programs around the country and continues to attract support from private foundations and municipal funds in New York. In the 1998-99 academic year, Four Nations served as the Classical Music Ensemble for Lincoln Center Institute's Arts-in-Education Repertory.

In 1999, director Andrew Appel was asked to consult with the Amarillo Symphony in creating a long- term program between the Orchestra and the Amarillo school system. Here, he worked with members of the Symphony, developing skills in communication both with teachers and students. In 1999-2000, the Ensemble held a multi-faceted residency with the Jacksonville Symphony. Along with education work in the schools, Four Nations worked with the Symphony, bringing recent ideas of early music style and performance to the musicians. Concerts included both orchestral works and chamber music. The Ensemble has also developed special relationships with colleges and universities throughout the country giving professional workshops in performance practice and lecture demonstrations connecting classical music to the larger arena of humanities studies. Beginning with a prestigious Residency Grant from Chamber Music America, Four Nations Guest Artist Residency with King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania flourished into a special and unique relationship with King's College and surrounding communities. Four Nations received new support from Chamber Music America Ensemble Residency Grant for its work with Gettysburg College to further its work with the students, faculty and the surrounding community and most recently for work with the Spencertown Academy and the Chatham Central School System in New York State.

Four Nations has received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council for the Arts (NYSCA), New York City's Department for Youth Services and Department of Cultural Affairs. In 1998, the Ensemble received a challenge grant from NYSCA for "institutional stabilization" which has allowed Four Nations to continue its growth and increase its performance and recording activities with an administrator. For its Handel & Venice and Haydn in London touring programs, The Four Nations Ensemble was a participant in Chamber Music America's Music Performance Program funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The Four Nations Ensemble records for London based ASV/Gaudeamus with which the complete trios ofJohann Schobert have been released. Soprano Christine Brandes joined the Ensemble for Handel & Porpora: The Rivals, initiating Four Nations' "Handel Compar'd" Project. Countertenor Matthew White joined Four Nations for the second Handel Compar'd recording Handel & VivaldiHaydn: The Battle of the Nile and Sonatas and Cantatas of Antonio Caldara are Four Nations' most recent releases with ASV/Gaudeamus. Four Nations' current recording project features works by Jean Marie Leclair and a continuation of its Haydn exploration. The Four Nations Ensemble is also recorded frequently for broadcast on National Public Radio.