"One of Pittsburgh's greatest treasures," says the Pittsburgh Post Gazette of Chatham Baroque. Founded in 1990, Chatham Baroque has for 18 years excited local, national and international audiences with dazzling technique and lively interpretations of 17th and 18th century music played on authentic instruments of the period. Chatham Baroque performs a series of home concerts in Pittsburgh, tours nationally and internationally, has recorded seven CDs on the Dorian label and has devised and presented successful community outreach programs. The trio of baroque violin, viola da gamba, various lutes and baroque guitar was named "Best New Classical Artist of 1999" by National Public Radio as a result of votes by music consumers worldwide.
Chatham Baroque's four Pittsburgh series concerts - three performances of each at various local venues - offer Pittsburghers the opportunity to hear old music made new and thrillingly vivid. Who knew there was so much great music available from the Baroque! The ensemble explores this old music, giving early resonances the freshness of improvisational jazz. Much of the music explored and first presented in local programming becomes the bedrock of its touring and recording.
Chatham Baroque has assiduously searched out and developed new audiences and in the 2007-2008 Pittsburgh season introduced a new kind of Friday night concerts. In venues like the Gypsy Cafe on the South Side, St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in the Strip and the avant garde Mattress Factory on the North Side, the ensemble has successfully brought new audiences to unusual venues and performance formats, while continuing its regular Saturday and Sunday concerts in familiar halls. As part of its 2007-2008 series the ensemble also performed Sephardic music of the Baroque at Rodef Shalom Synagogue in Oakland.
Chatham Baroque has toured all over the United States as well as in South America and Mexico, in the Virgin Islands, and this season in Canada. This season, the ensemble also performed concerts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and at the Newberry Library in Chicago as well as appearances in eight other cities. The group traveled over 16,418 miles and was the only early music group invited to perform at Chamber Music America's 30th Anniversary concert in New York City. The Washington Post called their performance "musically impeccable" and lauded "Halverson's earthy, exacting work" and Fout's "mellifluous sound and sensitive style." The Chicago Tribune referred to Chatham Baroque as "a splendid period-instruments ensemble based in Pittsburgh" and lauded its "charming and vivacious program of 17th-18th Century Spanish and Latin American music."
Heard regularly on many public radio stations, this year Chatham Baroque has also been heard on CBC Radio in Canada, not to mention NPR's "Performance Today" and "Harmonia." Recently Pittsburgh's WQED-FM produced "A Baroque Christmas," a compilation of Chatham Baroque's past December concerts, which was broadcast nationally during the run-up to the 2007 winter holidays. Chatham Baroque's seventh CD Sweet Desireon the Dorian label has just been released. The group's first six CDs have met with critical acclaim. The first, The Scotch Humour, and the sixth, Henry Purcell: Sonatas and Theatre Music, each received five gold star ratings from Europe's glossy Goldberg Magazine. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette's music critic, Andrew Druckenbrod, has called the Purcell disc "not only Chatham Baroque's best effort to date but [one that] also belongs in the ranks of the best early-music discs."
Chatham Baroque is repeatedly listed among the Pittsburgh Post Gazette's "Top 50 Cultural Forces in Pittsburgh" and particular concerts are regularly listed among the "Ten Best Classical Concerts" year after year. It presented over 40 individual concerts in the Pittsburgh area during the 2007/08 season.
Chatham Baroque is Ensemble-in-Residence at WQED-FM and Calvary Episcopal Church