Apollo's Fire is a popular and critically acclaimed orchestra devoted to repertory from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (i.e., mostly works from the Baroque and early Classical era). The group consists of about 35 players and often uses guest artists during performance. Of course, the size of the ensemble can vary depending on the work, shrinking to chamber size or swelling to stage-filling proportions for choral works where the groupRead more often employs its sister enterprise, Apollo's Singers. This ensemble is has about 20 members and is also highly respected. Both groups are based in Cleveland and assemble for only a handful of concerts a year. Typically, Apollo's Fire has a concert schedule consisting of five programs yearly, all given in the Cleveland area. Each concert is performed several times over a three- or four-day period. In addition, the group regularly tours throughout the U.S. and Canada. Through 2007 Apollo's Fire made 13 recordings, most of which have achieved both impressive sales and critical plaudits. The group has recorded with greater frequency since the turn of the new century and recordings have been widely available on two labels: Koch International Classics and Eclectra.
Apollo's Fire was founded in 1992 by harpsichordist and conductor Jeannette Sorrell. She was aided in the process by Roger Wright, Cleveland Orchestra artistic administrator at the time. As a harpsichord student of Gustav Leonhardt and conducting student of Leonard Bernstein and Roger Norrington, Sorrell possesses impeccable credentials. She attracted many musicians from the Netherlands with the intention of assembling an orchestra devoted to historic practices in performance as laid down by Leonhardt, Anner Bylsma, and Sigiswald Kuijken.
Apollo's Fire debuted in June 1992 and by the mid-'90s had achieved wide acclaim, as evidenced by the Noah Greenberg Award given in 1995 to Sorrell and her ensemble. A pair of recordings from 1999 -- Monteverdi's Vespro Della Beata Virgine and Nöel Ancien (Noels & Carols from the Olde World) -- were both critical successes and augured further artistic triumphs for the players.
In the new century Apollo's Fire regularly appeared in broadcast concerts on NPR's Performance Today and NPR's World of Opera. In February 2008, Apollo's Fire gave its television debut concert in a program featuring Vivaldi concertos over WVIZ, the Cleveland-area PBS station. Among the ensemble's recordings is the 2007 Koch International Classics CD of Christmas Vespers: Music of Michael Praetorius. Read less