lionheart

biography

Lionheart

Lionheart is one of America’s leading ensembles in vocal chamber music. Acclaimed for its "smoothly blended and impeccably balanced sound" (Allan Kozinn, The New York Times), Lionheart (Jeffrey Johnson, Lawrence Lipnik, John Olund, Richard Porterfield, Kurt-Owen Richards, and Michael Wenger) gives voice to medieval, Renaissance, and new-music repertoires in concert, on radio, and in recordings. Touring extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe, Lionheart has collaborated with other performers including Anonymous 4, and premiered new works by composers Julia Wolfe and Marc-André Dalbavie. 2009 saw the release on the Cantaloupe label of composer Phil Kline’s John the Revelator commissioned by WNYC Radio for Lionheart with the string quartet ETHEL. In December 2009 Lionheart continued its tradition of New York holiday concerts at the Metropolitan Museum and at The Cloisters in New York City. Lionheart’s 2010-11 season included appearances at the Folger Library in Washington, D.C. , at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles (December 4), and return engagements at the Metropolitan Museum’s Medieval Sculpture Hall (December 21) and The Cloisters (April 17, 2011). Recent seasons have included engagements at the Aspen Music Festival, Virginia Arts Festival, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, a return to the distinguished Music Before 1800 concert series in New York, and an appearance at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall as part of cellist Maya Beiser’s performance of Brett Dean’s Sparge la morte, based on a Carlo Gesualdo madrigal.

For its most recent recording on Koch International Classics, El Siglo deOro, Lionheart was hailed by Early Music America for their “rich, true tones and flawlessly blended harmonies…their superb articulation and impeccable sense of rhythm.” The ensemble’s CD of the music of Palestrina and his contemporaries and its CD, Tydings Trew, also garnered much critical praise and were released by Koch International Classics. Lionheart also released two CDs on the Nimbus label: MyFayre Ladye: Tudor Songs and Chant (1997) and Paris 1200: Chant and Polyphony from 12th Century France (1998). Lionheart is heard on Sony Music’s CD companion to A History of Western Music, and on NPR’s Christmas Around the Country II, a collection of favorites from NPR’s Performance Today. A new CD of Spanish repertoire premiered last fall. On radio, it has been featured on Performance Today, PRI’s Harmonia, WGBH, and the ensemble appears regularly on WNYC radio in New York.

In 1998 the six men of Lionheart began a collaboration with Anonymous 4, joining forces to explore rare and ravishing repertoire. They did two national tours together. In December 2000 Lionheart furthered its commitment to presenting the work of living composers by premiering a new piece by composer Julia Wolfe as part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival. In the spring of 2003 it gave the world premiere of a new work composed for it and members of the Orchestre de Paris by composer Marc-André Dalbavie. The performance, which took place at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, was part of the Sounds French Festival. The ensemble gave the French premiere at the Présence Festival in Paris in February 2005. Other European engagements have included the festivals Musikpodium in Stuttgart, Tage Alter Musik in Regensburg, and the Covent Garden Festival in London.