The Baltimore Consort is a small ensemble of instrumentalists and singers whose major focus has been early music, taking into account both the classical and folk realms, often blurring the distinction between the two. In the early years, its main focus was English music from the Elizabethan period, but the group soon branched out into Irish, Scottish, French, Spanish, and Italian early music. The chronological range of the repertory has generallyRead more fallen into Renaissance era, roughly spanning the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Consort players perform on early instruments (viols, recorders, lutes, rebec, etc.) and their concerts and recordings can feature only instrumental music or a mixture of vocal and instrumental pieces. The Consort regularly tours the United States and has made several highly successful concert tours across Europe. It has made more than a dozen recordings, mostly for the Dorian Records label.
The Baltimore Consort was founded in 1980 by lutenist Roger Harmon and flutist Mindy Rosenfeld. There have been several personnel changes over the years, and, not surprisingly, the size of the ensemble has varied: in the 1990s, for example, it was called a sextet. At that time the Consort included soprano Custer LaRue. In 2004, LaRue took a leave of absence and from that time the ensemble, consisting of five instrumentalists -- Mindy Rosenfeld, Mary Anne Ballard (viol and rebec), Mark Cudek (cittern, viol, Renaissance guitar), Larry Lipkis (viol, recorder), and Ronn McFarlane (lute) -- have used guest artists for vocals, including countertenor José Lemos and soprano Danielle Svonavec. It was in 1990 that Dorian released the Baltimore Consort's first recordings, On the Banks of Helicon, which contained early music from Scotland, and Watkins Ale, a disc of English Renaissance music. The Consort quickly became one of the most popular American early music ensembles, as a string of successful recordings and concert tours followed. The group regularly performs an orchestral concert program entitled O'er the Hills and Far Away, which features arrangements of early music works by the Consort's own Larry Lipkis. Among the Baltimore Consort's recordings is the 2007 Dorian CD Gut, Wind, and Wire: Instruments of the Baltimore Consort, which contains 36 numbers of sixteenth century instrumental pieces. Read less