Learn more about H&H's rich history and explore our interactive timeline.
WGBH All Classical 99.5 FM and American Public Media’s SymphonyCast to air entire performance, American Public Media’s Performance Today to air concert excerpts.
Broadcasts will air with accompanying interview with Artistic Director Harry Christophers.
April 11, 2011 (Boston, Mass.) — The Handel and Haydn Society’s February performance of Handel’s Israel in Egypt was recorded and will be broadcast in its entirety on WGBH 99.5 FM All Classical on April 20, 2011, at 7pm local time (www.wgbh.org/995; “Listen Live”). This continues a longstanding partnership between H&H and WGBH, which includes an annual broadcast of the Handel and Haydn Society’s Messiah. Radio host Brian McCreath’s interview with Artistic Director Harry Christophers will also air.
During the week of April 25, American Public Media (APM) will broadcast the concert on its SymphonyCast program, airing on 90 public radio stations across the country, with a weekly audience of over 227,000 listeners. Broadcast times will vary, with a schedule available at http://symphonycast.publicradio.org. The week of May 2 APM will continue to feature Israel in Egypt, with excerpts of the work aired on Performance Today, one of America's most popular classical music radio programs, with more than 1.2 million weekly listeners on 237 stations nationally. Again, broadcast times will vary, and a schedule can be seen at http://performancetoday.publicradio.org/.
Premiered in the United States by the Handel and Haydn Society in 1859, Israel in Egypt vividly depicts the biblical story of Exodus. This monumental work recounts in graphic detail the ten plagues and celebrates the extraordinary parting and crossing of the Red Sea. The Society will observe its Bicentennial in 2015 and in celebration of this historic landmark is focusing its repertoire on works significant to its 200-year history.
Scored for seven soloists, two choruses, and, for its time, an unusually large orchestra, Israel in Egypt is unlike any of Handel’s other oratorios in that it contains more choral movements than solo ones. With only a handful of arias, the soloists take second place to the chorus, which, along with the large period instrument orchestra, creates a richly-textured and distinctive sound found in few other Baroque works. Through Handel’s unparalleled skill of storytelling through music, this dynamic tour de force—featuring songs of celebration, deliverance, and freedom—speaks to audiences today as powerfully as in Handel’s own time.
Harry Christophers enters his third season as Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society with the 2011–2012 Season. Appointed in 2008, he began his tenure with the 2009–2010 Season and has conducted Handel and Haydn each season since September 2006, when he led a sold-out performance in the Esterházy Palace at the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. Christophers and H&H have since embarked on an ambitious artistic journey that began with the 2010–2011 Season with a showcase of works premiered in the United States by the Handel and Haydn Society over the last 195 years, and the release of the first of a series of recordings on CORO leading to the 2015 Bicentennial.
Christophers is known internationally as founder and conductor of the UK-based choir and period instrument ensemble The Sixteen. He has directed The Sixteen throughout Europe, America, and the Far East, gaining a distinguished reputation for his work in Renaissance, Baroque, and 20th-century music. In 2000, he instituted the “Choral Pilgrimage,” a tour of British cathedrals from York to Canterbury. He has recorded close to 100 titles for which he has won numerous awards, including a Grand Prix du Disque for Handel Messiah, numerous Preise der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics Awards), the coveted Gramophone Award for Early Music, and the prestigious Classical Brit Award (2005) for his disc entitled Renaissance. In 2009 he received one of classical music’s highest accolades, the Classic FM Gramophone Awards Artist of the Year Award. The Sixteen won the Baroque Vocal Award for Handel Coronation Anthems, a CD that also received a 2010 Grammy Award nomination. Harry Christophers is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Granada Symphony Orchestra and a regular guest conductor with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the Orquestra de la Comunidad de Madrid.
In October 2008, Christophers was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Leicester. Most recently, he was elected an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and also of the Royal Welsh Academy for Music and Drama.
ABOUT HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY
Founded in Boston in 1815, the Handel and Haydn Society is the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the United States. Its Chorus and Period Instrument Orchestra are internationally recognized in the field of Historically Informed Performance, a revelatory style that uses the instruments and techniques of the composer’s time. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Harry Christophers, Handel and Haydn’s mission is to perform Baroque and Classical music at the highest levels of artistic excellence and to share that music with as large and diverse an audience as possible.
The Handel and Haydn Society has an esteemed tradition of innovation and excellence, which began in the 19th century with the American premieres of Handel’s Messiah (1818), Haydn’s The Creation (1819), Verdi’s Requiem (1878), and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (1871) and Mass in B Minor (1887). More recently, the Society premiered Randall Thompson’s Passion According to St. Luke (1965)—commissioned for the Society’s 150th anniversary—Daniel Pinkham’s Garden Party (1977), Daniel Welcher’s Oratorio for Peace (1999), Sir John Tavener’s Lamentations and Praises (2002), and Thomas Vignieri’s Fanfare of Voices (2009), commissioned by H&H in honor of the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death. In the last 20 years, Handel and Haydn has given important historical performances of core repertoire and has introduced such innovative programs as jazz/Baroque crossover concerts, staged opera with dance, and narrative set to music, to great critical and audience acclaim.
Among recent milestones, Handel and Haydn made its London debut under Sir Roger Norrington in July 2007 as a featured performer at the prestigious BBC Proms Festival, which the London Telegraph named one of the top musical events of 2007. In September 2006, it made its debut at the Haydn Festival at the Esterházy Palace in Eisenstadt, Austria, with Harry Christophers. Between 2003 and 2006, the Society premiered new productions of baroque operas staged by director Chen Shi-Zheng. In fall 2005, two of the company’s recordings—All is Bright and Peace—were in the Top Ten on the Billboard classical music chart at the same time. Handel and Haydn Society won its first Grammy award for its recording of Sir John Tavener’s Lamentations and Praises (2002), co-commissioned with Chanticleer.
In 1985, Handel and Haydn launched the Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program to address the lack of performing arts education in public schools. Today, this award-winning program reaches 10,000 children throughout Greater Boston, mostly in underserved communities. The 2010–2011 Season marks the 25th Anniversary of the Educational Outreach Program.
As Handel and Haydn plans for its Bicentennial in 2015, Harry Christophers has set forth ambitious artistic plans that position the Society’s core identity as performer, educator, resource center, and community partner. By exploring both core repertoire and less familiar works of the Baroque and Classical periods, Handel and Haydn continues to develop a diverse audience and make its programs available to all, while expanding its national and international touring schedule, releasing live commercial recordings, and further developing its relationships with area cultural and higher education institutions. Its first recording with Harry Christophers, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, was released in September 2010 on the CORO label, and will be followed by Mozart’s Requiem in September 2011. These are the start of a series of live commercial recordings leading to H&H’s Bicentennial.
The Handel and Haydn Society is supported in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Visit our new media center for releases, photos and more.