Leader Peter Urquhart, then a student at Harvard University founded renaissance vocal group Capella Alamire at Cambridge, MA, in 1984. Urquhart was working on his dissertation on the subject of Franco-Flemish Renaissance composers and needed a group of singers to fine-tune some of his concepts about performance practice in the time of Josquin. Initially made up of singers from Harvard-Radcliffe, the group managed to stay together duringRead more Urquhart's sojourn to Italy and to present concerts prepared from editions made by Urquhart under Charles Turner. Peter Urquhart ultimately settled into a position at the University of New Hampshire; however, Capella Alamire remains based at Cambridge and exceptional singers from Cambridge, Boston, Portsmouth, Worcester, Providence, and other communities in the area have contributed their talents to Capella Alamire.
The work of Capella Alamire is highly specialized -- apart from a few contemporary works the group has taken on, Capella Alamire primarily sings Franco-Flemish music of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Urquhart is an expert in the realm of musica ficta (i.e., the practice of utilizing unnotated accidentals in manuscripts of the Medieval and Renaissance periods). While many Capella Alamire performances are given from editions prepared by Urquhart, some are sung directly from the manuscript sources themselves, with singers trained in reading mensural notation. Capella Alamire has recorded for Musical Heritage Society, Titanic, Dorian Discovery, and Naxos, and for his efforts, Urquhart was awarded the American Musicological Society's Noah Greenberg Award in 1987. The name Alamire is taken from the pseudonym of an unknown fifteenth century music copyist whose manuscript copies of Josquin's music are highly valued; it is solfege for the pitch "A" in different modes -- "A-La-Mi-Re." Read less
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