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September 30, 2021

Fall Preview & the Return of Parthenia!

“It’s a very busy year.”

That’s a direct quote from Lisa Terry regarding Parthenia’s 2021-2022 season.  After reviewing the details with her, I’m inclined to agree—especially considering it will be Parthenia’s first proper season in quite some time.

But what do I mean by proper?

Do you remember where you were on March 13, 2020?  That was the day that the President of the United States declared a national emergency due to the coronavirus.  Although it may seem hard to believe, the citizens of planet earth have now lived with the devastating effects of COVID-19 for nearly two years.

The second half of Parthenia’s 2019-2020 season was understandably disrupted by the onset of the pandemic and the ensuring lockdown.  By the time of their 2020-2021 season, a full-scale lockdown was no longer in place, but a vaccine was still months away from being accessible, so performing in public will still an impossibility.

During that time, Parthenia explored various alternative ways to connect with and perform for their audience.  As with most artistic endeavors, the solution was to go digital.  In late May, 2021, for instance, Parthenia recorded a concert video for the Conclave of the Viola da Gamba Society of America. The completed video aired online in late July. 

Some of the experiments were highly successful and will no doubt shape Parthenia’s approach to developing their seasons in the years to come.  Still, it’s difficult to think of these instances as anything more than a stopgap solution. Fortunately, the vaccine is making it possible for everyone to enjoy some of the pleasures forced to lay dormant for so long. That’s why it’s such a pleasure to be able to write that, on Thursday, November 11, 2021, Parthenia will return to live performance in New York City!  Mark your calendars!

Italia Mia: Music of Renaissance Venice, is a program of canzonas, dances, madrigals and motets by composers of the 16th and 17th centuries, including the likes of Monteverdi, Gabrielli, Willaert and Gesualdo. Parthenia will perform these selections along with soprano Sherezade Panthaki. For this event, it seems appropriate that Parthenia will be performing at St. Luke in the Fields—a venue that they have had a close ongoing relationship with since the early days. 

Soprano Sherezade Panthaki (left) and a glimpse of Venice (right)

Please note: this event can also be enjoyed as a webcast to be made available two weeks later on Thursday, November 25, 2021, but, honestly, don’t you want to be there in person? Also, for those further afield, this same program will be performed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Saturday, November 13. Whatever the location, it’s sure to be a special—and memorable—event.

To illustrate Lisa’s description of the 2021-2022 Parthenia season further, additional highlights to look forward to include:

Our annual presentation to music students at Stern College, to take place in December.

An open rehearsal/meet the artists event to take place on Tuesday, January 4, 2022 at 7:30 pm EST at the National Opera Center (330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY.). This event, in particular, is certain to be a highlight of the season as it is a preview of a portion of a chamber opera (“Upon Reflection”) for soprano, viol consort, recorders and electronic sound. This is a newly commissioned work with words and images by Wendy Steiner, and music by Frances White.

House of Habsburg: Music of the Holy Roman Empire – This performance will take place in New York City on February 25 with a repeat performance in Tucson, Arizona taking place on February 27, 2022.

A promotional image for Parthenia’s Tucson, AZ performance in February 2022

A Reliquary for William Blake – music for countertenor, viols and recorder by the American composer, Will Ayton. This concert will take place on Friday, May 6, 2202 at Saint Luke in the Fields. Along with the wonderful music, there will be a pre-concert interview with the composer.

As if all that weren’t enough, there are some special events to look foward to, including the debut of the entire Parthenia musical catalog – soon to be available for your enjoyment on this website in MP3 fomat. “A very busy year,” indeed. No question about it – Parthenia are back!

About Kieran Walsh
Kieran Walsh is an author, musician and filmmaker residing in New York City.