Piffaro brings old musical traditions of Christmas alive in this wide-ranging program of instrumental and vocal carols, motets, songs and dances from England, France, Germany and Spain. Performed on the ensemble’s collection of shawms, sackbuts, recorders, bagpipes, krumhorns, lutes, guitar, and harp, augmented by the shimmering voice of soprano Laura Heimes.
Concert ticket prices are $30 for general admission, $25 for seniors and $10 for students (with student ID). Free admission for children under 15. Tickets may be purchased at the door or by calling 713-432-1744.
Piffaro, founded in 1980, performs music of the late Medieval and Renaissance periods on a large and varied collection of early wind instruments, augmented by percussion and strings. Modeled after the official civic, chapel and court bands that were the premier professional ensembles from the 14th into the early 17th centuries, Piffaro has pursued the instruments and music of the peasantry and of rustic life as well, combining the two milieu to dramatic effect when appropriate.
Under the direction of Joan Kimball and Robert Wiemken, the Band produces its own concert series in Philadelphia, USA with three to four programs per year, bringing to their series some of the finest talents in early music performance as their guests. Excerpts from these concerts are regularly broadcast nationwide on National Public Radio’s Performance Today.
Piffaro tours throughout the United States, represented by MCM Artists, and has performed on many of the major early music series in the US, including Music Before 1800 and The Cloisters Concerts in New York City, the Seattle Early Music Guild, the San Francisco Early Music Society, the Concert Society at Maryland, Milwaukee’s Early Music Now, and the Pittsburgh Renaissance & Baroque Society.
The ensemble made its European debut in May of 1993 at Tage Alter Musik Regensburg. They performed there again in 1996 as part of a tour of summer music festivals in Austria, Germany, France, Belgium and Italy, and in 1997 and 1998 appeared at festivals in Hamburg, Berlin, The Czech Republic, Belgium, Spain and Colombia, South America. Since then, they have returned to Regensburg for a third time, performed two summers in a row at the Spoleto Festival in Italy, made their English debut at the York Early Music Festival, and performed at the Utrecht Early Music Festival in the summer of 2001.
Piffaro has recorded for Newport Classics and for Deutsche Grammophon, Archiv Produktion. Canzoni e Danze, the ensemble’s first recording for DG’s Archiv division, was released in the fall of 1995, and was followed by a recording of French music in 1996, a recording of Spanish & Portuguese wind music in 1997, and a Flemish recording in March of 2000. Since then, it has signed with Dorian Records, and its first recording with that label, Stadtpfeiffer, Wind Music of Renaissance Germany, was released early in 2001, with its second, a recording of repertoire from Harmonices Musices Odhecaton A, released in February 2002
Recordings by artists featured by Houston Early Music are available at
These activities are made possible in part by a grant from the City of Houston and the Texas Commission on the Arts through the Cultural Arts Council of Houston and Harris County
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