Musica Spira (Music Breathes) is an emerging artist-run ensemble led by co-directors Grace Srinivasan (soprano) and Paula Maust(harpsichord). Their mission is to capture the essence of life’s stories with innovative musical programming that makes baroque music relevant to issues in contemporary society. Based in the Baltimore-Washington area, Musica Spira has performed at diverse venues in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and the greater Baltimore-Washington region.
The concert is also the premiere of an extraordinary new instrument: a French double manual harpsichord closely modeled on the instrument built by Pierre Donzelague in 1711. Donzelague lived in Lyons, and some historians believe that his instrument was one of the first French harpsichords to have a five-octave key compass. Commissioned for the new building, the harpsichord was painstakingly built by Owen Daly Early Keyboard Instruments, in Salem, Oregon. Daley works alone, building harpsichords and clavichords using traditional methods and materials.
Their concert program will feature:
Henry Purcell (1659–1695) — Thou Wakeful Shepherd (Morning Hymn), Z 198; Fly Swift, Ye Hours, Z 369; Now that the sun hath veiled his light, Z 193
George Frideric Handel (1685–1759) — Suite No. 7 in G Minor, HWV 432
Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre (1665–1729) — Esther
Peter Philips (1560/61–1628) — Pauana and Galiarda Dolorosa
Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer (1705–1755) — Pièces de Clavecin (1746)
Domenico Scarlatti (1685–1757) — Fille, già più non parlo
Praised for her “beautiful vocalism” (San Francisco Gate) and engaging presence, soprano Grace Srinivasan has established herself in the Baltimore-Washington area as a performer of a wide spectrum of repertoire ranging from the Renaissance to contemporary compositions. Grace’s recent roles include Despina (Cosi Fan Tutte), High Priestess (Marais’ Semele), Belinda (Dido and Aeneas), and Laurie Moss (The Tender Land), as well as solos in Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Handel’s Messiah, Monteverdi’s Vespers, and Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes. A graduate of Peabody Conservatory (M.M. Vocal Performance) where she studied with baritone William Sharp, and the George Washington University (B.A. in Music), Grace is a member of several ensembles including the Peabody Consort and the Bridge Ensemble, and has toured internationally with the Peabody Renaissance Ensemble and GWU Singers. While at Peabody, Grace was the recipient of the voice graduate assistantship and the George Castelle Memorial Award in voice.
Praised as “a refined and elegant performer” by the Boston Musical Intelligencer, Paula Maust performs extensively as a harpsichordist and organist across the United States as a soloist, chamber musician, and church musician. Her diverse musical career focuses on historical performance practice and combines her distinct interests in performance, pedagogy, and scholarship. Paula is a co-director of Burning River Baroque and a founding member of Musica Spira. She has also collaborated with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Baroque Band, El Fuego Fire, and New Comma Baroque. Recent significant performances include Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in G Minor, Duruflé’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. In addition to performing, Paula teaches masterclasses and presents engaging lectures to introduce people to the harpsichord. She is on the theory faculty at Towson University and teaches organ and harpsichord at UMBC. She also worked as a music theory and ear training graduate teaching assistant at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
Admission: $15 general admission, $10 seniors, $5 students, free for UMBC Music majors and Music faculty/staff. Tickets are available at MissionTix and at the box office.