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Apollo's Fire

Baroque, Chamber

  • Named for the classical god of music and the sun, Apollo’s Fire was founded in 1992 by the award- winning young harpsichordist and conductor Jeannette Sorrell. Sorrell envisioned an ensemble dedicated to the baroque ideal that music should evoke the various Affekts or passions in the listeners. Apollo’s Fire is a collection of creative artists who share Sorrell’s passion for drama and rhetoric. Intermusica manages Apollo’s Fire in the UK. 

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  • Apollo’s Fire made its London debut in 2010 in a sold-out concert at Wigmore Hall, with a BBC broadcast. Apollo’s Fire returned to Europe in autumn 2011 and spring 2014, and has been met with standing ovations in Madrid (Royal Theatre), Bordeaux (Grand Théàtre de l’Opéra), Lisbon, Metz, Birmingham and Bregenz. AF’s return to London in 2014 was praised as “an evening of superlative music-making… the group combines European stylishness with American entrepreneurialism” (Daily Telegraph). The ensemble also has a busy touring schedule throughout North America.

    At home in Cleveland, Apollo’s Fire enjoys sold-out performances at its subscription series, which has drawn national attention for creative programming. Apollo’s Fire has released 20 commercial CDs, and currently records for the British label AVIE. Since the ensemble’s introduction into the European CD market in 2010, the recordings have won rave reviews in the London press: “a swaggering version, brilliantly played” (Times) and “the Midwest’s best-kept musical secret is finally reaching British ears” (Independent). Four of the ensemble’s CD releases have become best-sellers on the classical Billboard chart: the Monteverdi Vespers, Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, and Jeannette Sorrell’s two crossover programs, “Come to the River” and “Sacrum Mysterium: A Celtic Christmas Vespers.”

Past tour
A Night at Bach's Coffeehouse
Europe, August 2015
Apollo's Fire make their BBC Proms and Snape Proms debuts with a programme themed on “A Night at Bach's Coffeehouse”.

Joined by sought-after violinist Alina Ibragimova, the ensemble evokes the energy of the coffeehouse in 18th-century Leipzig where Bach and his student orchestra played concertos.

London programme
CPE Bach Symphony in B minor ‘Hamburg’
Vivaldi Violin Concerto in D major 'L'inquietudine'
Telemann Burlesque de Quixotte
JS Bach Concerto for Violin in E major
JS Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major

Snape programme
JS Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 3
Vivaldi Violin Concerto in D major 'L'inquietudine'
Telemann Burlesque de Quixotte
JS Bach Concerto for Violin in E major
-interval-
JS Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major
Vivaldi arr. Sorrell Concerto Grosso “La Folia”

Performances

15 August 2015
Cadogan Hall, London

16 August, 2015
Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Aldeburgh

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Past tour
Vivaldi with Sandrine Piau
Europe, May 2014
Directed by Jeannette Sorrell, the group’s founder, harpsichordist and conductor, the group join award-winning French soprano, Sandrine Piau in a three-concert tour of the UK and Austria.

Piau, Sorrell and the ensemble explore the passions of the Baroque in a programme including 'Il primo ardor' from Handel’s Ariodante, 'Piangerò' from Giulio Cesare and Vivaldi Concerto for 2 cellos in G minor, as well as Vivaldi Concerto Grosso ‘La Folia’ (Madness), in an acclaimed arrangement by Jeannette Sorrell and performed by memory by the ensemble.

Jeannette Sorrell and members of the ensemble also appeared on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune. 

“…a terrific concert. The group’s director, harpsichordist Jeannette Sorrell, had put together an ingenious programme which showed off the ensemble’s range of colour, mood and style… The players’ agile grace and unforced lyrical energy made them ideal partners for Sandrine Piau, who has the same qualities. She caught the virtuoso fire of Handel’s Il primo ardor, without once losing the lovely soft tone which suffused the slow arias…”
Ivan Hewitt, 4* Daily Telegraph


“Artistic director Jeannette Sorrell knows her repertoire well, and chose a wonderful selection of works to showcase her band. Vivaldi's Concerto for Two Cellos in G minor is a delight - a ferocious battle of "Anything I can do..." proportions between the two soloists. With only 15 musicians, including Sorrell herself directing from the harpsichord, Apollo's Fire were here in decidedly pared-down form, and the two cellists slipped between solo and continuo duties… Apollo's Fire are a wonderful antidote to too much British baroque. For all their technical strengths, sometimes it's hard not to long for just a little more abandon from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment or something a little less laboriously tasteful from the Academy of Ancient Music. The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra have fun with their material, obedient but never slavish to concerns of authenticity.”
ArtsDesk.com

“Apollo’s Fire were worthy, and equal, partners bringing a type of American bohemian chic which was a refreshing change from the more staid, often po-faced, British baroque bands... Led by exuberantly flame-haired Jeannette Sorrell, who directed standing at a raised harpsichord, they were flamboyant and fun. And boy, they can play too. René Schiffer and Steuart Pincombe combined for a rousing rendition of Vivaldi’s double cello concerto while Johanna Novom and the band’s leader Olivier Brault (if a bit of a dandy and a fabulous fiddler) excelled in Vivaldi’s A minor concerto for two violins.”
Birmingham Post

Performances

7 May 2014
Town Hall, Birmingham

8 May 2014
St John’s Smith Square, London

10 May 2014
Festspielhaus, Bregenz 

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Vicky Shilling
Associate Director, International Touring
+44 20 7608 9931
vshilling@intermusica.co.uk

Erin McNamara
Senior Coordinator, International Touring
+44 20 7608 9944
emcnamara@intermusica.co.uk

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