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MIRYAM

 
 

Esther is a stunning baroque oratorio written for the Jewish Community of Amsterdam in 1774. It was lost for centuries, and now we have a chance to bring it to Boston!

Commissioned by the Jewish Community of Amsterdam and composed in 1774, Cristiano Giuseppe Lidarti’s oratorio tells the biblical story of how Queen Esther rescued the Jews of Persia from King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) and his scheming advisor, Haman. Scored for orchestra, soloists, and chamber choir, and sung entirely in Hebrew, Lidarti’s captivating writing brings the story of Esther alive. Lovers of baroque music may recognize the libretto from Handel’s 1718 Esther: the text for Lidarti’s oratorio is a direct translation into Hebrew completed by one of Lidarti’s contemporaries, Venetian Rabbi Jacob Raphael ben Simhah Judah Saraval.

Lidarti’s Esther was re-discovered by the musicologist Israel Adler in 1999 in the Ets Hayim library of Amsterdam's Portuguese Synagogue and has only been performed several times worldwide. MIRYAM will present the Boston and East Coast premiere on Saturday, March 2nd at Emmanuel Church in Boston and Sunday, March 3rd at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley. Critically acclaimed harpsichordist and conductor Dylan Sauerwald will direct an ensemble of 5 soloists, 9 choristers, and 16 instrumentalists. 

We have a rare chance to revive a stunning piece of Jewish musical heritage, but we need your help to bring Esther to Boston. Please consider a tax-deductible donation, and share our campaign with your friends, families, and communities!

 

 
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About the ensemble

MIRYAM was founded in 2016 by Alicia DePaolo and Ari Nieh in order to bring Jewish early music to New England audiences. Our ensemble members are all critically acclaimed performers and scholars of renaissance and baroque music who have a passion for connecting with audiences. Many of our programs bring well-loved composers like Monteverdi and Schütz into Jewish spaces and other houses of faith, celebrating the Jewish roots in their compositions and opening a fruitful inter-religious dialogue. Other programs highlight Jewish composers, such as Salamone Rossi, or feature music from a specific Jewish community, like Amsterdam’s Portuguese Synagogue. In every space we enter, we set the intention of celebrating the beauty and richness of intersecting identities and musical languages. We hope you will join us for one of our concerts this season!

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Concerts

 

Programs

Please contact us at miryam.ensemble@gmail.com to schedule a performance  

King David Playing the Harp  Gerard von Honthorst

King David Playing the Harp

Gerard von Honthorst

al naharot bavel

Psalm Settings of the Italian and German Baroque

This program explores the Jewish roots of sacred texts frequently set to music by Christian composers during the baroque period. Vocal and instrumental music by Claudio Monteverdi, Heinrich Schütz, and Johann Hermann Schein is interspersed by Hebrew readings of the original texts.

Our most recent performance of this program was on Sunday 10/28 2018 at 5:00 pm at Jewish Community of Amherst in Amherst, MA.

Kaddish- Salamone Rossi

Kaddish- Salamone Rossi

Lamentations

Music by Emilio de' Cavalieri, Tomás Luis de Victoria, and Salamone Rossi

Eicha, or The Book of Lamentations, is part of the Hebrew Tanakh and describes in heartbreaking detail the destruction in 586 B.C.E. of the holy Temple in Jerusalem. Eicha is traditionally chanted by Jews on the holiday of Tisha B’Av, but the text has also been set frequently by Christian composers, most often to be sung as part of the liturgy for Holy Week.

This program offers an exploration of the myriad ways in which this exquisite text has been used throughout history, by Jews and Christians alike. Framed with a sublime setting of Eicha by Emilio de’Cavalieri, the program is interspersed with Hebrew liturgical settings by the Jewish Mantuan composer, Salamone Rossi.

Emanuel de Witte - Interior of the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam

Emanuel de Witte - Interior of the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam

Bo'i B'shalom 

Music from Amsterdam's Portuguese Synagogue

Built in 1675, the Portuguese Synagogue was a cultural hub for Jews who fled from Portugal to Amsterdam to escape the Inquisition. The synagogue’s Eitz Chayim library contains a wealth of historical documents, including a collection of Hebrew-language musical scores spanning the late baroque and early classical eras.

Bo’i B’shalom features a selection of rarely-performed Hebrew liturgical settings for two voices, violins, and continuo, by the composers Cristiano Giuseppe Lidarti, Abraham Caceres, and Volunio Gallicchi.

Our first performance of this program was on Saturday 10/20 2018 at Pioneer Valley Early Music Day in Amherst, MA.

Roster

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Alicia DePaolo, Director and Co-Founder

Alicia DePaolo, soprano, has received critical acclaim for her “perfect combination of clarity and warmth.” She holds a master’s degree in Early Music Vocal Performance from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree from Smith College. Alicia has worked with such distinguished directors as Nigel North, William Jon Gray, Ivars Taurins, Stanley Ritchie, Drew Minter, and Jeffrey Thomas, appearing as a soloist in the United States, Canada, and Italy in a variety of works including Biber’s Missa Salisburgensis, Charpentier’s Missa Assumpta est Maria, J.S. Bach’s Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Faure’s Requiem, and Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri. Opera and oratorio roles include “Fatime” in Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes, “Castitas” in Hildegard von Bingen’s Ordo Virtutum, “Israelite Man” in Handel’s Judas Maccabeus, “La Nymphe des Tuileries” in Lully’s Alceste, and “Mercury” in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.

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Ari Nieh, bass-baritone and Co-Founder

Ari Nieh is active in the Boston early music scene as a chorister and soloist. His musical career began in San Francisco, where he sang with the Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, Pacific Collegium, AVE, and Volti. He came to Boston to study historical performance at Longy School of Music. He is a regular member of the Choir of the Church of the Advent, and performs frequently with Schola Cantorum of Boston, Canto Armonico, the Orpheus Singers, and the Copley Singers. His recent stage credits include Devil in Hildegard von Bingen’s Ordo Virtutum, Sir Roderic in Ruddigore, Bellone in Les Indes Galantes, and Theseus in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ari has been featured as a concert soloist in works by Mozart, John Tavener, and P.D.Q. Bach. He has also collaborated with a variety of Boston-area early music ensembles, including Musical Offering, Long and Away, and NEC Baroque. In March 2016, he sang the role of Jesus and bass soloist in Bach’s St. John Passion with Ensemble Musica Humana. He studies voice with Pamela Dellal.

Elise Groves, soprano   Elise Groves, soprano, has been praised for her “clarion tone” and “transcendent and soulful” singing.  A dedicated and versatile soloist and chamber musician, her repertoire ranges from Medieval to new compositions, with a special focus on the late Renaissance and early Baroque.  Recent performances include Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass with The Choir and Orchestra of the Church of the Advent, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Brown University and St. John Passion with Ensemble Musica Humana, and performances with True Concord Voices & Orchestra, Exsultemus, Ensemble Musica Humana, and The Bach Project.  A native Oregonian, she received a B.A. and M.A. in Music Education from Oregon State University and an M.M. in Early Music Performance from the Longy School of Music. When Elise isn’t singing, you can find her continuing her lifelong search for the perfect cup of hot chocolate.

Elise Groves, soprano

Elise Groves, soprano, has been praised for her “clarion tone” and “transcendent and soulful” singing.  A dedicated and versatile soloist and chamber musician, her repertoire ranges from Medieval to new compositions, with a special focus on the late Renaissance and early Baroque.  Recent performances include Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass with The Choir and Orchestra of the Church of the Advent, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Brown University and St. John Passion with Ensemble Musica Humana, and performances with True Concord Voices & Orchestra, Exsultemus, Ensemble Musica Humana, and The Bach Project.  A native Oregonian, she received a B.A. and M.A. in Music Education from Oregon State University and an M.M. in Early Music Performance from the Longy School of Music. When Elise isn’t singing, you can find her continuing her lifelong search for the perfect cup of hot chocolate.

James Williamson, viola da gamba   Described as "sensitive and virtuosic" by the Boston Musical Intelligencer, James Williamson has performed on viols, vielle, and baroque cello in many settings in the Boston area, including  Long and Away Consort of Viols, Musical Offering, Canto Armonico, and the BEMF fringe. James recently completed a masters degree at the Longy School of Music of Bard College, studying baroque cello with Phoebe Carrai and viola da gamba with Jane Hershey. Recent projects have included solo recitals on viol and baroque cello, playing for Phillipe Pierlot in a public master class, and recording music of Samuel Capricornus with Long and Away. He is director of the Cavalier Consort, an emerging group for seventeenth century English Music. In April, he will be leading a workshop for the Viola da Gamba Society of New England. He is also in demand as a singer, and can be heard as a tenor in various area groups including Capella Clausura and the Choir of the Church of the Advent.

James Williamson, viola da gamba

Described as "sensitive and virtuosic" by the Boston Musical Intelligencer, James Williamson has performed on viols, vielle, and baroque cello in many settings in the Boston area, including  Long and Away Consort of Viols, Musical Offering, Canto Armonico, and the BEMF fringe. James recently completed a masters degree at the Longy School of Music of Bard College, studying baroque cello with Phoebe Carrai and viola da gamba with Jane Hershey. Recent projects have included solo recitals on viol and baroque cello, playing for Phillipe Pierlot in a public master class, and recording music of Samuel Capricornus with Long and Away. He is director of the Cavalier Consort, an emerging group for seventeenth century English Music. In April, he will be leading a workshop for the Viola da Gamba Society of New England. He is also in demand as a singer, and can be heard as a tenor in various area groups including Capella Clausura and the Choir of the Church of the Advent.

Guest Artists

Juan A. Mesa, organ   Juan Mesa   began piano, organ, and composition studies in his native city of Puerto Montt, Chile. He moved to the US in 2001, and graduated from Western Connecticut State University in 2005 earning degrees in organ performance and composition. He studied choral conducting with Kevin Isaacs, instrumental conducting with Fernando Jimenez, and voice pedagogy with Margaret Astrup. He completed his Master of Music degree in organ performance and early music at Indiana University in 2008, studying organ with Christopher Young, harpsichord and continuo with Elisabeth Wright, and improvisation with Todd Wilson and Jeffrey Smith. Juan won first prize in the Region I Competition for Young Organists organized by the American Guild of Organists, and in 2017 was one of five semi-finalists to compete in the National Competition in Organ Improvisation in Montreal. Juan has performed solo recitals across the US, as well as in Chile and Argentina. He has collaborated with many groups, including the Indiana-based Exordium Baroque Ensemble, the Crescendo Period Orchestra in western Connecticut, the Choirs of Trinity Episcopal Church in Indianapolis, and in 2017 he performed as the organ soloist and accompanist of the award-winning University of Notre Dame’s Children’s Choir in their second national tour. Juan is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Music Theory department at Indiana University, and he is the Music Director at Roslindale Congregational Church. 

Juan A. Mesa, organ

Juan Mesa began piano, organ, and composition studies in his native city of Puerto Montt, Chile. He moved to the US in 2001, and graduated from Western Connecticut State University in 2005 earning degrees in organ performance and composition. He studied choral conducting with Kevin Isaacs, instrumental conducting with Fernando Jimenez, and voice pedagogy with Margaret Astrup. He completed his Master of Music degree in organ performance and early music at Indiana University in 2008, studying organ with Christopher Young, harpsichord and continuo with Elisabeth Wright, and improvisation with Todd Wilson and Jeffrey Smith. Juan won first prize in the Region I Competition for Young Organists organized by the American Guild of Organists, and in 2017 was one of five semi-finalists to compete in the National Competition in Organ Improvisation in Montreal. Juan has performed solo recitals across the US, as well as in Chile and Argentina. He has collaborated with many groups, including the Indiana-based Exordium Baroque Ensemble, the Crescendo Period Orchestra in western Connecticut, the Choirs of Trinity Episcopal Church in Indianapolis, and in 2017 he performed as the organ soloist and accompanist of the award-winning University of Notre Dame’s Children’s Choir in their second national tour. Juan is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Music Theory department at Indiana University, and he is the Music Director at Roslindale Congregational Church. 

Dylan Sauerwald, harpsichord and conductor   Dylan Sauerwald is a distinctive historical keyboardist and conductor. At the keyboard, he has been praised for his “fleet fingers” and “sophisticated playing,” (Capriccio) and as a conductor, his productions have been called “heart-wrenching and self-reflecting” (OperaWire). Mr. Sauerwald has performed in venues from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art to Taipei's National Recital Hall, and his playing is featured in the BBC historical drama Poldark. As a recording artist, Mr. Sauerwald can be heard on the New Focus, Coro, and Urtext labels, as soloist and continuo player on the harpsichord, organ, fortepiano, and lautenwerck, performing works from the 16th century to the 21st. A champion of early opera, he has led productions of rarely-performed works acclaimed as “refined and flexible,” (Boston Globe) “fearless,” (Voce di Meche) and “a remarkable musical experience” (OperaWire). He is in demand as a guest conductor, appearing with Sunshine City Opera, the Cantanti Project, Dorian Baroque, Ensemble Musica Humana, and others. Mr. Sauerwald directs Polyphemus, an early music collective and concert series in lower Manhattan, and is Director of Music at the New Dorp Moravian Church.

Dylan Sauerwald, harpsichord and conductor

Dylan Sauerwald is a distinctive historical keyboardist and conductor. At the keyboard, he has been praised for his “fleet fingers” and “sophisticated playing,” (Capriccio) and as a conductor, his productions have been called “heart-wrenching and self-reflecting” (OperaWire). Mr. Sauerwald has performed in venues from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art to Taipei's National Recital Hall, and his playing is featured in the BBC historical drama Poldark. As a recording artist, Mr. Sauerwald can be heard on the New Focus, Coro, and Urtext labels, as soloist and continuo player on the harpsichord, organ, fortepiano, and lautenwerck, performing works from the 16th century to the 21st. A champion of early opera, he has led productions of rarely-performed works acclaimed as “refined and flexible,” (Boston Globe) “fearless,” (Voce di Meche) and “a remarkable musical experience” (OperaWire). He is in demand as a guest conductor, appearing with Sunshine City Opera, the Cantanti Project, Dorian Baroque, Ensemble Musica Humana, and others. Mr. Sauerwald directs Polyphemus, an early music collective and concert series in lower Manhattan, and is Director of Music at the New Dorp Moravian Church.

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