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Bloomington Early Music Festival to serve more of state

EDITORS: Press photos and audio are available online at http://www.blemf.org/press.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- It's become such a large feast, the Bloomington Early Music Festival decided to share this year.

Now in its 11th year, BLEMF, an annual celebration of music from medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and classical times, will expand its offerings to the state level. The 2004 festival, which will be May 21-31, will feature G.F. Handel's grand oratorio Solomon, to be performed in Bloomington, Indianapolis and Lafayette by the Lafayette-based Bach Chorale Singers and the BLEMF Orchestra. The production will be directed by William Jon Gray, a visiting assistant professor in the Indiana University School of Music who is fast garnering attention in the early music world.

The festival will also include regional performances by the world-renowned vocal ensemble Cappella Romana. The group, which specializes in music of the Eastern Orthodox tradition, will lead off this year's festival with performances on May 21 at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis and May 22 at IU Bloomington's Auer Hall.

"The festival is a true celebration of the region's ability to develop partnerships between internationally recognized musicians, not-for-profit arts organizations and Indiana University," said Alain Barker, executive director of the festival. "During the past 10 years, we have been blessed with the support of many who have helped build one of the most exciting early music festivals in the nation."

BLEMF
Bloomington Baroque features several IU School of Music professors
Print-Quality Photo

BLEMF's resident ensemble, Bloomington Baroque, celebrates instrumentalists and singers who have studied at IU's Early Music Institute. The ensemble is directed by IU Professor of Violin Stanley Ritchie and includes several acclaimed guest artists. The 2004 performance of Bloomington Baroque will feature IU School of Music professors Edmund Battersby (fortepiano) and Alan Bennett (tenor).

Ritchie, one of the world's leading performers of Baroque and classical violin, will direct the grand orchestral finale on May 31 at 8 p.m. in Auer Hall. The Festival Orchestra Concert will include concertos and symphonic renditions of a number of beloved works.

Educational events at the festival will include an instrument exhibition focusing on local and regional instrument makers, pre-concert talks, a round-table discussion on early music and a children's music show.

The annual BLEMF reception, to which the public is invited, will be May 28 at 6 p.m.

For ticket information and a complete schedule of events, visit the festival Web site at http://www.blemf.org.