UPDATE: We're excited to share this news with you:
On February 8th 2019 Ensemble La Casella will perform Feast and Famine 2.0 at Gare du Nord in Basel.
The concept behind Feast and Famine 2.0 originated from our program Feast and Famine which features mostly sacred works consisting of soprano vocal duets and solo pieces by 17th century Italian composers. This program embodies thematic elements based on contrasting aspects of ‘prosperity’ and ‘scarcity’ in relation to the body and soul, which gives meaning to the title.
„2.0“ is our way of denoting our addition of contemporary pieces which share thematic elements of the existing program. Three of the four contemporary pieces featured were commissioned by our ensemble. All of the contemporary pieces showcase somehow interconnected but different compositional styles which address the thematic elements in their own way.
About Ensemble La Casella
Ensemble La Casella
Jedediah Allen (cornetto), Vera Hiltbrunner (soprano), and Andreas Westermann (continuo), all three having met and studied in Basel, Switzerland, formed „Ensemble La Casella“ in 2016 to perform well-known and unknown repertoire from the 16th and 17th centuries with the unique combination of voice, cornetto, and continuo. The timbre of the cornetto closely resembles that of the voice and the instrument is therefore perfectly suited to fill the role of a singer. Within our musical focus, our ensemble continues to explore early repertoire while also looking ahead to contemporary sources for opportunities to utilize our particular sound in new and exciting ways. Currently, the trio is performing three individual programs which can be heard in Austria, The Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland.
Originally from Oregon, USA, American Bass-baritone and
cornettist Jedediah Allen received his Associates Degree and Bachelor of the Arts in vocal performance from Central Washington University where he studied opera, art song, and jazz predominately.
After starting a career in early music, Jedediah pursued a master’s degree in voice at the Early Music Institute at Indiana University. There, he also began studies in cornetto performance under Kiri Tollaksen which led him to be featured as a cornett player and vocal soloist at both Boston and Berkeley Early Music festivals where he also collaborated with noted ensembles such as “Voices of Music” and “Magnificat.”
Mr. Allen then re-located to Basel, Switzerland to study at the Schola
Cantorum Basiliensis. He has since been awarded two master’s degrees: first in cornetto performance under Bruce Dickey and the second in the AVES (Advances Vocal Ensemble Studies) program directed by Anthony Rooley and Evelyn Tubb.
While in Europe, Jedediah has performed in as well as recorded with many ensembles and projects most notably with Anthony Rooley, Hervé Niquet, and is a member of Ensemble La Sestina and Chant 1450 and many others.
Soprano Vera Hiltbrunner, born in Bern, Switzerland, completed her Masters in vocal studies at the Fontys Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Tilburg (NL) in 2016 following her Bachelors at the Musik-Akademie Basel.
This season the soprano will make her role debut as Cupido in Reinhard Keiser's Diana où la vengeance de Cupido, directed by Benjamin Prins and conducted by Martin Gester - a production by Génération Baroque (November 2018, France) -, and as Miles in Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw under the baton of Erik Desimpelaere (May 2018, Amsterdam).
She has performed as a soloist in numerous oratorio works including: C. Orff’s Carmina Burana, J. Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis, Mendelssohn’s
Ein Sommernachtstraum and Saint-Saëns’ Oratorio de Noël.
Internationally, the soprano regularly appears on stages in Austria, The Netherlands and Switzerland.
Vera is very invested in baroque music and ensemble singing. In 2015 she made her Utrecht Early Music Fringe Festival debut, with the vocal ensemble The Calliope Consort and in 2015 she performed at the NJO festival in the project San Marco in Gelderland under the baton of Etienne Siebens.
Andreas Westermann was born in Munich, Germany in 1988. In his early years he learned piano and the flute before studying the harpsichord and historical performance with Olga Watts. He studied music pedagogy for secondary school and historical performance with Christine Schornsheim and finished with a state examination.
His studies included choir and orchestra conducting with Martin Steidler. In 2014 he started a Specialized Master of Arts in Basso continuo and ensemble direction with Jörg-Andreas Bötticher, Jesper B. Christensen and Andrea Marcon at the prestigious Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. He finished studies with distinction in 2016.
In 2015 he was chosen for the European Union Baroque Orchestra conducted by the Danish harpsichordist Lars Ulrik Mortensen who has been a tremendous influence on his ensemble playing.
He has performed with many famous musicians such as Maggie Faultless, Andreas Staier, Rachel Podger, Amandine Beyer and Alex Potter. With the Ensemble Quartett á 5 he won the second prize in the Gebrüder-Graun- Competition in Bad Liebenwerda. His special interest is in the music of the end of the 17th century and the sound aspects in basso continuo playing compared to the treatises and sources of that time period. Since September 2017 he is official accompanist at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.
Feast and Famine features mostly sacred works consisting of soprano vocal duets by 17th century Italian composers as well as solo works for each instrument respectively. This program features thematic elements based on contrasting aspects of ‘prosperity’ and ‘scarcity’ in relation to the soul, thus the title, Feast and Famine.
Feast and Famine 2.0
Kontraste prägen das Leben: Licht und Dunkel, Fülle und Leere, Festen und Fasten – Feast and Famine. Feast and Famine 2.0 macht das Wechselspiel von Überfluss und Mangel erlebbar. Die Klänge von Stimme und Zink verflechten sich zu einem kontrastreichen, barocken Musikfest. Das Programm umfasst Werke für zwei hohe Stimmen aus dem italienischen Frühbarock - mit Stücken von Frescobaldi, Merula, Sances, Rigatti und Graziani. Dazu kommen zeitgenössische Werke, welche die reichen Ausdrucksnuancen dieser einzigartigen Instrumentation ausloten. Der ganz besondere Klang des Zink bereichert die Tonwelten der Neuen Musik auf überraschende und unerhörte Weise - eine ungewohnte und spannungsvolle Symbiose.
Ein Beispiel für dieses Ineinander von Tradition und Moderne liefert die griechische Komponistin Calliope Tsoupaki mit ihrem hoch gelobten Stück Mélena imí. Die Werke der Komponistin bewegen sich in einer tonalen Klangwelt, welche Elemente der modernen Kompositionstechnik mit einem traditionellen Klangbild vereint.
Ein besonderer Höhepunkt des Programms ist die Uraufführung dreier Werke, welche Matthias Deger, Simon MacHale und Jedediah Allen eigens für das Projekt Feast and Famine 2.0 komponiert haben. Die drei Komponisten sind Absolventen der Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.
Unmeasured is our most recent program featuring virtuosic works by popular Italian and German Early Baroque composers such as Heinrich Schütz and Claudio Monteverdi respectively as well as some Anonymous compositions from a newly discovered and edited book of collected musical works called the Carlo G. Manuscript. “Unmeasured” is in reference to the period of music where the concept of a measure, being a quantification of musical rhythmic structure defined by the use of a barline, had not been fully realized and music was organized instead by a tactus or “pulse.” The concept of things "unmeasured" also plays its role into the music which deals with the concept of time and timeless ideals such as love, and creation.