Schola Gregoriana Pragensis
Petr Eben – artistic leader
Doron Sherwin – cornetto
Barbara Maria Willi – harpsichord
„Tonarius - 8 Church Modes"
Codex St. Martial Lemovicensis, selection
Nicholas Gombert / Antonio de Cabezòn: Tiento on the motif Ayme que vouldrà
Giovanni Maria Nanino: Diffusa est gratia in labiis tuis
Francesco Correa de Arauxo: Tiento 2
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina: Fuit homo missus a Deo
Adam Michna z Otradovic: Spiritual wedding purgation from the collection „Czech Lute“
ticket price: 250 CZK
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The Schola Gregoriana Pragensis was established by David Eben in the year 1987. During first two years of its existence the ensemble was allowed to sing only in the liturgy. This limitation ceased after 1989 and since then it has been intensively recording and giving concerts abroad, too (Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Israel, Japan). The CDs of the ensemble arise exclusively in co-operation with the major Czech musical publisher, Supraphon company, and have received a number of awards (Choc du Monde de le Musique, 10 de Repertoire, “Zlata Harmonie” - Golden Harmony Award for the best Czech recording of the year). The ensemble records for the Czech Radio, too. In this case the list of its issues amounts respectable 319 compositions. The Schola has co-operated in various projects with a whole range of top-notch Czech as well as foreign interprets (Petr Eben, Jiri Barta, Jaroslav Tuma, Iva Bittova, Choeur gregorien de Paris, Boni pueri, Musica Florea, the ensemble of Japanese talapoins Ohara Gjosan shomjo kenkju-kai, Varmuza’s Dulcimer Music Band, Jeaner Philharmonie, etc.).
The ensemble belongs to foremost world interpreters of medieval sacral music. It has been focusing its work both on the semiological interpretation of Gregoriant chant according to the earliest neumatic sources from the 10th to 11th century, and on presentation of the original Bohemian plainchant tradition, including early polyphony. Thanks to ensemble’s intensive study of medieval sources, its programmes also include a number of unique, newly discovered compositions dating from the 13th to 15th centuries. The large gamut of repertoire offers also contemporary music (see eg. the CD Antica e moderna) - some compositions of young Czech composer generation have been written rightly for the Schola and were premiered in its interpretation.
Regarding the records and concert projects, the audience as well as expert reviews appreciate chiefly their dramaturgical imaginativeness and musical interpretation, with which the ensemble brings alive the repertoire originating from the very roots of European musical culture.
Doron David Sherwin became interested in early music at a very young age, studying various early woodwind instruments before finally specializing in the cornett. Since 1984, he has performed throughout the world as a soloist and as a member or collaborator with numerous early music ensembles, including Hesperion XX, the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, the Clemencic consort, the Taverner Players, Tragicomedia, Ensemble Sonnerie, Capriccio Stravagante and Cantus Colln. He studied cornett at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis under Bruce Dickey, with whom he has performed regularly since 1986 in the ensemble Concerto Palatino. Doron is also a member of the Medieval ensemble La Reverdie, in which he is active as a singer and arranger as well.
He has collaborated in numerous works written specifically for him by William Kraft, Riccardo Malipiero, Rene Clemencic and other contemporary composers fascinated by the unique timbre and expressive possibilities of the cornett. He has performed for radio and television in all of Europe, Russia, Poland, Israel, the United States and Japan, and has a discography of over 50 recordings for companies such as EMI-Reflexe, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Harmonia Mundi France, Erato, Virgin, Arcana, Accent, Tactus and Sony Classical. He has taught cornett and performance practice at the Accademia Chigiana of Siena, Italy, as well as in Vicenza (Italy), Goteborg (Sweden), Trondheim (Norway), Muri, Fribourg and Basel (Switzerland). Since 1994, he has taught cornett and historical improvisation at the Staatliche Hochschule fur Musik Trossingen in Germany.
Barbara Maria Willi studied harpsichord in Freiburg (Germany) and in Strasbourg (France) with Stanislav Heller and Aline Zylberajch. In 1995, she passed with distinction in harpsichord/hammerklavier performance (with Professor Kenneth Gilbert) and historical performance practice (with Professor Nikolaus Harnoncourt) at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. In the same year she was awarded the “Prix d’encouragement” at the harpsichord competition in Bruges. Valuable stimuli came for her from participation in master classes with teachers such as Jesper Christensen, Jos van Immerseel, Gordon Murray, Elizabeth Chojnacka and Christopher Stembridge. As a stipendiate of the German academic exchange office (DAAD), she founded the harpsichord class at the Janáček Academy of Music and Representational Art in Brno, Czech Republic in 1991.
Her wide-ranging activities in the area of solo and chamber performance have resulted in numerous recordings for Czech television, Czech radio, and for German, French and Swiss radio stations. She has also performed at a number of renowned European music festivals including the Züricher Streicherwochen, the Toujours Mozart festival, the Michaelstein Bach festival, Festival Mitte Europa, the Janáček May festival in Ostrava, the Bohuslav Martinů festival Prague and Concentus Moraviae. She is currently working with leading Czech specialists in Early Music such as Magdalena Kožená, Martina Janková, Jiří Bárta, Marek Štryncl and his baroque orchestra Musica Florea. She has co-operated with important personalities such as Jos van Immerseelem and Sergio Azzolini. As a guest artistic director she has conducted the Prague ensemble Collegium Marianum, including a stage performance of J. H. Schmelzer's serenade “Hercules und Omphale” with the Belgian choreograph Sigrid T’Hooft at the Prague Baroque Czechia festival 2001 and the Slovenian festival Brežice. She arranged the music for the stage performance of Claudio Monteverdi's opera, “Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria” by the Chamber Opera of the Janáček Academy of Brno, and co-directed it with Marek Štryncl. Performances took place in Brno and at the festival Opera 2001 in the stable’s theatre in Prague. Other larger projects of Barbara Willi's have included performances of Purcell's opera “The Indian Queen” with John Holloway in Trossingen (1998) and of Vivaldi's serenade “La Senna festiggiante” with Dagmar Valentová (2001) in Prague. She founded the Baroque ensemble Capella Apollinis.
Her continuo playing is documented in a recent recording of Sonatas of the archive of Kromĕříž with John Holloway (violin), Jaap ter Linden (viol) and Nigel North (theorbo, baroque guitar). The recording was nominated "CD of the Month" by the German journal “Klassik heute” (1/2001), won a price of the German music critics’ association (Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik), a price in the French REPERTOIRE and has met with a favourable overseas response (Fanfare/USA „warmly recommended“, American Record Guide 2/2001 „fascinating novelty“). The television broadcast of the performance with the mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená and the counter tenor Thierry Grégoire at the music festival Concentus Moraviae was awarded the prestigious Golden Prague Festival Prize, 2000. In 2001, she has continued working with Magdalena Kožená on the latter's recording of the CD with the Prague Chamber Philharmonia under Michel Swierczewski for Deutsche Grammophon, featuring works by W.A. Mozart, Ch.W. Gluck and J. Mysliveček.
Barbara Maria Willi has prepared dramaturgy of a concert series of early music "Barbara Maria Willi presents" and of the International Music Festival of 13 Towns Concentus Moraviae. She is Professor of historic keyboard instruments at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno.