Sonnambula

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Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (1665–1729): Musician in Paris

In Sonnambula's program, "Women's Voices," the ensemble presents works by, and inspired by Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (1665-1729). Jacquet was a child prodigy, astonishing adults - including King Louis XIV - with her ability to compose and improvise at the keyboard. In addition to keyboard pieces, she composed sonatas, songs, cantatas, and even an opera, the first by a woman to be performed in Paris.

"My goal is to show Jacquet in context, rather than as rogue female composer," says Sonnambula artistic director and viol Elizabeth Weinfield, "to reveal how she was influential to her contemporaries, rather than the other way around, which is so often the narrative. We know she was a very active teacher in Paris, and influence is felt strongly in works by the more well-known male composers." Sonnambula's program features music by Jacquet de La Guerre juxtaposed with works from her contemporaries, including Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, and Henri Dumont.

Praised as "superb" by The New Yorker, Sonnambula is a Renaissance ensemble that brings to light unknown music for various combinations of early instruments with the lush sound of the viol at the core. Sonnambula has performed at The Frick Collection, Alice Tully Hall, among other venues, and at Princeton University, where they are working at the Princeton Sound Kitchen lab to commission new work for old instruments.

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