René Clemencic


Born: February 27, 1928; Vienna, Austria  
"Lively authenticity" is one commentator's description of René Clemencic's musical performance aesthetic. The Viennese-born recorder player, composer, teacher, and conductor has sought this authentic mode of musical expression in an extremely wide range of musical experiences. Trained as a recorder player and keyboardist, earning a Ph.D. from Vienna University in 1956, Clemencic performs on a variety of early flutes, recorders, and other woodwind Read more instruments. As an expansion of his instrumental career, Clemencic has founded two ensembles for early music in Vienna (a city which, in the 1950s, was widely acknowledged as the world's capital for historical performance): Musica Antiqua in 1958 and the Clemencic Consort in 1968. Also a teacher, he is a member of the Accademia Filharmonica Romana, frequently appearing in Siena to teach at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana. He maintains a large personal collection of early musical instruments. Clemencic's own compositions reflect his performing tastes and include music for recorders and oratorios in ancient languages (Greek and Hebrew). Clemencic's catalog of performance projects is both broad and prolific. At one temporal pole is his own experimental compositions. At the other, his ensemble the Clemencic Consort has brought to life several major repertories of the high Middle Ages, from the Play of Daniel and Cantigas de Santa Maria to a fiery presentation of the Roman de Fauvel. Very frequently, the group explores the use of improvisation within these repertoires. This allows Clemencic a very rich, sonic, and performative effect, most notable in a Spanish-Moorish flavor to his interpretation of Troubador lyrics. He has also widely recorded in the early Netherlandish Renaissance of Dufay, Ockeghem, and Obrecht, and in a wide variety of courtly and popular early dance styles. Finally, Clemencic has championed a number of neglected early operatic works, even producing fully staged versions of works by Peri, Draghi, Fux, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and the Emperor Leopold I. Read less

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