Magnificat - Voices & Instruments of the Early Baroque
agnificat is an ensemble of voices and instruments under the artistic direction of Warren Stewart that specializes in music of the 17th century. Since 1992, Magnificat has presented an annual series of concerts in the San Francisco Bay Area that have explored the rich and varied repertoire of Early Baroque music, with programs ranging from staged operas to reconstructions of historical liturgies. Magnificat was conceived as a collective of equal parts - a "chamber music" aesthetic grounded in the talent and individual inspiration of Magnificat's musicians that is reflected in its interpretations and recognized by its audiences. Whatever the nature of the program, Magnificat has has been guided by the spirit of the period in its emphasis on the expression of human emotion and dramatic narrative.
Over the years, Magnificat has offered audiences the chance to hear many significant works by the well known figures of the 17th century - Monteverdi, Schütz, Carissimi, Charpentier, Purcell, Buxtehude, Scarlatti, and Frescobaldi - while also presenting under-performed composers including Melani, Marazzoli, Schein, Rigati, Cazzati, Cavalli, Rovetta, Rigatti, Legrenzi and many others. Magnificat has presented numerous modern premieres, often from scores transcribed by the Artistic Director or members of our Artistic Advisory Board.
Over the past decade, Magnificat has taken a special interest in promoting the works of women composers, undertaking a project to record the complete works of Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, devoting entire programs to the music of Barbara Strozzi and Isabella Leonarda and hosting a conference on Women and Music in Seventeenth Century Italy. In the 2009-2010 season, Magnificat will perform Francesca Caccini's La Liberazione di Ruggiero, the earliest surviving opera composed by a woman and Cozzolani's setting of the Mass for Christmas Day.
In addition to their home series, Magnificat has appeared at the Berkeley Early Music Festival in 1990, 1996, 2002, and 2008 and has been presented several times by the San Francisco Early Music Society. Magnificat has also been presented by Music Before 1800, The Early Music Guild of Seattle, The Tropical Baroque Festival, The Carmel Bach Festival, and The Sonoma County Bach Society and by the Society for Seventeenth Century Music. Magnificat has recorded for Koch International and Musica Omnia.