The Waverly Consort is an ensemble of instrumentalists and singers devoted to the performance of early music. Its repertory generally takes in works from the Medieval period, as early as the tenth century, up through the Renaissance era. But the group has performed more recent music, as evidenced by the 1996 EMI recording An American Journey, which includes songs from the nineteenth century. The ensemble consists of 13 players, though that numberRead more has widely varied in concerts and recordings, with as few as two or three used for some selections and 15 or more for others. The Consort has appeared on many television and radio broadcasts, particularly on NPR and CBS Sunday Morning. It is easily among the most popular early music ensembles before the public today. Its recordings have appeared on a variety of labels, including EMI, Sony, Virgin Classics, and its own enterprise, WAVE Records.
The Waverly Consort was founded in 1964 by Michael and Kay Jaffee. Michael has served as the director of the ensemble since its founding and plays several instruments with consummate skill, including guitar, lute, and citole. Kay is also a talented instrumentalist, playing harp, recorder, and hammer dulcimer. Over the years the group has used many prominent performers, including soprano Kathy Theil, who is particularly well known for her interpretations of the music of Hildegard of Bingen.
The Waverly Consort has regularly performed at such major venues in New York City as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cloisters, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Lincoln Center, where it has given more than 100 concerts. It has also performed elsewhere throughout the U.S., South America, across Europe, and the Far East.
The ensemble slowly built its reputation, but by about 1980, when it premiered its now-annual program The Christmas Story at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it was recognized as one of the leading ensembles in the field. In the early '90s the group achieved best-seller status twice: first with the 1991 Sony CD A Renaissance Christmas Celebration with the Waverly Consort, and again with the 1992 EMI disc 1492: Music from the Age of Discovery. In 1999 the Jaffees founded WAVE Records. Among its more popular releases was the first, The Story of Christmas, and Iberia (2002). Read less