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Ferrara Ensemble

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Biography

The Ferrara Ensemble presents late medieval/early Renaissance music with a distinctive vocal sound and with a unique string-ensemble sound (lute, harp, hammered dulcimer/viola d’arco) which medieval music audiences have come to identify with this group.
The seeds of the Ferrara Ensemble were sown at the Schola Cantorurn Basiliensis in 1984, where a string ensemble led by Crawford Young and a wind band led by Randall Cook recorded a program of Quattrocento instrumental music for the Schola Documenta/Harmonia Mundi Deutschland label. The group’s present vocal/instrumental orientation formation began around 1990, when the ensemble started to do regular recordings for the West German Radio in Cologne.

Major festival appearances throughout Europe have followed, including an extensive tour of Southeast Asia in 1995 co-sponsored by the Goethe Institut of Germany and Swiss Pro Helvetia. Since 1999 the Ferrara Ensemble has continued touring in North America, England and Australia, where it has been a guest of the Universities of Birmingham and Melbourne respectively.

The Ferrara Ensemble enjoys in-residence status at the Schola Cantorum, where three of its members (Crawford Young, lute, gittern, Kathleen Dineen, voice/harp, Randall Cook, viola d’arco) are on the faculty. They work together with singers Eric Mentzel, Lena Susanne Norin, Miriam Anderson, Stephen Grant, Raitis Grigalis, Agnethe Christensen and Karl Heinz Schickhaus, hammered dulcimer, according to specific program. Programs with French and Italian repertories feature cooperative work with the Schola’s text specialist Nicoletta Gossen.

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