In 1492, the fall of Granada led to a great migration of artists leaving Spain for Italy, France, the Low Countries, and England. Not long after, a set of viole da gamba ("viols of the leg") based on those of Spain, were ordered by Isabella d'Este from luthier Lorenzo da Pavia for the court of Mantua. Ensemble Soleil acknowledges this rich cultural heritage with music of 16C Spain and Italy.

Ensemble Soleil founding members: Margaret Angelini, Rosalind Brooks-Stowe, Hannah Davidson, Paul Johnson, Peter Lehman, and Co-directors Peter Tourin and Jean Twombly

The Italians and the French Connection

Ensemble Soleil's repertoire begins with the origin of the viol and early violin and traces their development through the 18th century. From Italy we include the music of the great 17th century composers like Arcangelo Corelli, Antonio Vivaldi, Biagio Marini and Antonio Bertali, heard here in a sonata for two violins and continuo.

Flemish double harpsichord by Peter Tourin

Of Courts and Kings

Music of the continental courts includes diverse works by Schmelzer, Schenck, Marais, Rameau, Telemann, and the great J.S. Bach. Early in the development of sinfonia for violins and viols, one also finds Italian gems like music of Salamone Rossi, court composer at Mantua in the early 17C. With guest artists Dana Maiben, principal and Diana Brewer.

Ensemble Soleil instruments

Ensemble Soleil - Directors and Touring Programs