The GEMS Octagon

Eight touring programs selected by a jury of distinguished presenters
In order to offer presenters the newest and best touring programs available, GEMS Live! solicited proposals in the summer of 2011 from a wide variety of New York early/chamber music groups.  A selection panel met at the end of July 2011 to review all the submissions and selected eight varied programs.  The panel consisted of a diverse group of distinguished professionals from within New York as well as outside the City and included presenters of community, college/university and museum concert series. 

GEMS Live! is now featuring a "jeweled octagon" of the programs selected by the panel by eight different ensembles, four of which are entirely new to our roster. Our Senior Artist Representative, Wendy Redlinger, has or will be in touch soon with presenters around the country to discuss booking one or more of these new programs for the 2013-2014 season. Each of the programs in the Octagon, as well as the touring programs of the entire GEMS Live! roster, are available for national and international bookings. Contact us.

Here are short synopses of the selected programs:
Journey the Ancient Seas!  Music of Early Spain and Beyond...

Bridging the ancient to the present with exotic songs, compelling dances and virtuosic improvisations, Margo Gezairlian Grib  (voice, vielle), Rex Benincasa (percussion), Haig Manoukian (oud) and Christopher Morrongiello (lute, guitarra española) perform early Mediterranean music on traditional instruments.  ALBA evokes the haunting melodies and dynamic rhythms of the Iberian peninsula as well as music from its Middle-Eastern and European neighbors.  Through the time of La Convivencia when Christian, Jewish and Muslim cultures flourished together to the Golden Age of Spain, ALBA makes this passionate music contemporary.
Music for a Rash Prince: Medieval Love Songs from the Court of Charles of Burgundy

Sylvia Rhyne, soprano and Eric Redlinger, tenor / lute, perform 15th century pieces by three of the most celebrated composers in Europe at the time, Robert Morton, Hayne Van Ghizheghem and Antoine Busnoys—songs likely sung before Charles the Bold around the year 1475. Sprinkled with tales of the times, Asteria makes this music of knights and ladies accessible to audiences of all ages.
East of the River

Recorder virtuosi Daphna Mor and Nina Stern collaborate with world renowned kanun player, Tamer Pinarbasi, Yo Yo Ma¹s "Silk Road Ensemble" percussionist Shane Shanahan and guest artist Jesse Kotansky, on violin and oud, to present a program exploring Medieval music of the Mediterranean and traveling eastward through the Balkans to Armenia and the Middle East. Haunting melodies, ancient songs, and brilliant dances are arranged and interpreted by musicians whose musical backgrounds come from Classical  and World Music. Together they create the unique blend that is East of the River.
Guido's Ear
The Birth of the Baroque:  Treasures from 17th Century Italy
Young Australian-born baroque violin virtuoso Aaron Brown leads this dynamic quartet with Dongmyung Ahn, baroque violin, Grant Herreid, baroque lute and guitar, theorbo, and voice and Gabriel Shuford, harpsichord in an engaging program which takes the audience on a journey from rowdy Renaissance dance and song to the dazzlingly sprezzatura sonatas and sublime melodies of the Baroque.
Listening to History
Galileo's Muse

This engaging quintet, led by Benjamin Wolff on baroque cello with two violins and two lutes, presents a compelling program exploring the delightful and surprising relationship between Galileo and the music of late Renaissance Italy. Wolff tells the story of how Galileo's love of music and his experience as a lutenist held the key to one of his most important scientific accomplishments, the Law of Falling Bodies.  Includes rarely performed lute music by Galileo's father and brother, spiraling 17th century Italian dances and sonatas, and a live re-enactment of Galileo's experiment of the inclined plane.
The New York Baroque Dance Company and Concert Royal
Pleasures of the Dance

Catherine Turocy's dance company of five is accompanied by Concert Royal (James Richman on harpsichord, Sandra Miller on Baroque flute, Cynthia Roberts on Baroque violin and Brent Wissick on viola da gamba). This program is a concert of dance and music from early 18th century Europe.  Designed to reach a broad audience, the program features dances of the stage, the ballroom and the commedia dell'arte interspersed with the finest instrumental chamber music. Fully costumed dancers, period instruments and award winning artists of these two companies create an entertainment of passion and beauty from the Baroque era.
When Music and Sweet Poetry Agree

The quartet—Rosamund Morley on treble, Lawrence Lipnik on tenor and Beverly Au and Lisa Terry on bass viols—with singer Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek and actor Paul Hecht, present a lively and memorable evening of sensuous and dramatic readings from Shakespeare and Donne, interspersed with songs and instrumental music from Elizabethan England, highlighting the inseparable bond between poetry and music.
Inspiring Bach

Traditionally, classical music programs have included Bach's music as the beginning point for Classical repertoire. But who inspired him? Repast musicians Amelia Roosevelt on baroque violin, Avi Stein on harpsichord, and John Mark Rozendaal on viola da gamba put Bach in context by exploring the generation of German composers before Bach. The sophisticated craftsmanship and exuberant lyricism of Dietrich Buxtehude, Philipp Heinrich Erlebach and their contemporaries provide dances, fugues, arias and fantasies that stir the emotions, stimulate the mind and occasionally tickle the funnybone.  The young Bach admired his predecessors and built upon their work to develop his own style.