Each year, a well-known personality of the Early Music movement is invited to be the ambassador of this special day.
OLGA PASHCHENKO: KEYBOARD SPECIALIST
Olga Pashchenko is one of today’s most versatile performers on the keyboard, from organ and harpsichord to fortepiano and modern piano, demonstrating a passionate personality, virtuosity, wealth of color and sensitivity towards the broad repertoire that she performs on these different keyboards.
She began her musical studies at the age of 6 in Moscow where she was born. She studied at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory with Alexei Lubimov (fortepiano and modern piano), Olga Martynova (harpsichord) and Alexei Schmitov (organ).
Olga’s ability to go from one instrument to the other with equal skill and sensibility, made her the embodiment of the balance between artistic virtuosity, individual creativity and historic awareness, and an ideal ambassador for Early Music Day.
“Early Music Day is the celebration of Early Music, celebration of our lifestyle and dreams as HIP performers and listeners, and of the attitude we all advocate for, and that is – trying to understand the sources and the composers’ conceptions and interpret it on within the historical context with heart and soul in the 21st century. To be the Ambassador of REMA at this time of uncertainty in the world, is a gift. I am honoured to contribute to this platform by promoting the importance of early Music, making all different colours of period instruments more audible and visible and encouraging to breathe life into restoration just as early music breathes life into us with its restorative power.”
In 2020, she released two albums dedicated to the music of Beethoven with Alpha Records (Variations on folk songs with flutist Anna Besson and Vanitas with singer Georg Nigl) and given performances of Beethoven music as well, as historical keyboards allow intimate concerts and small audiences, ranking them among the most covid-safe instruments. She has also just released two of Mozart’s Piano Concerti with Il Gardellino.
RACHEL PODGER: BAROQUE VIOLONIST
Rachel Podger, the unsurpassed British glory of the baroque violin,” (The Times) has established herself as a leading interpreter of the Baroque and Classical repertory. A creative programmer, Rachel is the founder and Artistic Director of Brecon Baroque Festival and her ensemble Brecon Baroque.
“The recognition and expansion of Early Music has been my life’s work and as I continue to teach and perform around the world, I will be particularly proudly waving the flag of Early Music Day, and hoping that music will continue to heal divisions and create harmony amongst all peoples.”
Rachel Podger was the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation Bach Prize (2015) and was also Gramophone Artist of the Year 2018. Her recordings have earned her and her collaborators several prestigious awards: two Baroque Instrumental Gramophone awards, the Diapason d’Or de l’année 2012 for a Baroque Ensemble, and two BBC Music Magazine awards.
watch the interview >
JEAN RONDEAU: HARPSICHORDIST
Jean Rondeau studied harpsichord with Blandine Verlet for over ten years, followed by training in basso continuo, organ, piano, jazz and improvisation, and conducting. He pursued further studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris, graduating with honours, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
In 2012, at just 21 years old, he became one of the youngest performers ever to take First Prize at the International Harpsichord Competition in Bruges (MAfestival 2012), also winning the EUBO Development Trust prize; an accolade bestowed on the most promising young musician of the European Union.
AN ENDLESS PASSION FOR MUSIC, FOR DISCOVERY
Early Music Day is an important online event as well, with concerts being live streamed, reaching audiences in the whole world.
Rondeau is in demand for solo, chamber music and orchestral appearances throughout Europe and in the United States. He frequently performs with the Baroque quartet Nevermind. Quite apart from his activities as harpsichordist, he founded the ensemble Note Forget, presenting his own jazz-oriented compositions and improvisations on piano.
Rondeau is signed to Erato as an exclusive recording artist. His latest album, Dynastie, explores keyboard concertos by Bach&Sons. In 2016 he composed his first original score for a film, Christian Schwochow’s Paula, which premiered at the 2016 Locarno Film Festival.
SKIP SEMPE: HARPSICHORDIST & DIRECTOR
Skip Sempé, virtuoso harpsichordist, director and founder of Capriccio Stravagante, is at the forefront of today’s musical personalities in Renaissance and Baroque music. His distinctive harpsichord playing, musicianship and interpretive flair were immediately recognized as the invention of an exotic, multi-dimensional and uncompromising musical personality. Sempé remained in Europe to embark on his own pioneering reconsideration of well and lesser-known repertoire ranging from 1500-1750.
AN ADMIRE VIRTUOSO PERFORMER
Performing and recording on the world’s most prestigious harpsichords, made by Ruckers, Taskin, Goujon, Skowroneck, Kennedy, Humeau and Sidey, Skip Sempé is particularly known for his interpretations of the French classical harpsichord literature including Chambonnières, d’Anglebert, Forqueray, Louis and François Couperin and Rameau, for his adventurous and ground-breaking Bach and Scarlatti, and for the earlier virginalist repertoire of Byrd and his contemporaries.
RENE JACOBS: COUNTER TENOR…
René Jacobs was born in 1946 in Ghent, Belgium. He began singing in Ghent cathedral as a chorister before joining Brussels. Encouraged by Gustav Leonhardt and Alfred Deller, René Jacobs continues his studies as counter tenor. He quickly becomes one of the essential counter tenors. He turns to opera with, for example, his performance in Orfeo and Euridice by Gluck.
In 1977, he created his first ensemble, Concerto Vocale. He recorded Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria and Orfeo de Monteverdi. In 1983 he directed for the first time Orontea de Cesti at the Innsbruck Festival in Austria. It is a huge succes that and René Jacobs will continue directing lyric singing.
…AND A LYRICAL DIRECTOR
Since the 2000s, René Jacobs multiplies the projects as a lyric director like the excellent Telemann: Brockes-Passion on Harmonia Mundi, a pearl for baroque music lovers.
In 2004, Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro with Concerto Köln and the Collegium Vocale Gent by Philippe Herreweghe achieved public and critical acclaim around the world. He obtains the Gramophone trophy and a Grammy Award for this performance.