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Music at Morris-Jumel
by Danielle Reed for Vocal Area Network
Posted October 4, 2003

Morris-Jumel Mansion logoThis fall marks the fifth season of Music at Morris-Jumel, an early music series that has the distinction of taking place in the oldest house in Manhattan. Built in 1765 by British Colonel Roger Morris, the Palladian style residence was later occupied by George Washington and Aaron Burr, and visited by Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and John Quincy Adams. Concerts take place on Saturday afternoons in the mansion's parlor, followed by meet-the-artist receptions upstairs.

"It is always wonderful to be able sing early music in a historic setting that is intimate enough for the repertoire. Baroque chamber music just wasn't meant for large concert halls. The loud and the brash is everywhere in New York, but this was music for domestic entertainment, and it feels right to perform it in a house," says soprano Jessica Gould, who will be performing English and Italian Baroque music for the first concert of the series on October 11 at 2 PM. She will be performing with lutenist/guitarist Lucas Harris and Carlene Stober on viola da gamba in a program that offers some newly discovered repertoire as well as well-known baroque favorites.

"The house was built for entertaining," says the mansion's executive director Ken Moss, noting that entertainment was most certainly the purpose of the octagonal drawing room, where the concert series is held today. The series fits in well with the mansion's mission "to tell the story of the entire history of the home," he says. The Florence Gould Foundation, which emphasizes building bridges between French and American culture, is a generous supporter of the Morris-Jumel series, notes series founder Greg Bynum, a recorder player who also continues to perform at the mansion. (Jessica Gould has no family affiliation with the Gould Foundation). The series "has really expanded a lot since we started it in 1998," Bynum says. "It's gotten a great response."

The series includes music from the 16th through the 19th centuries, with works by well-known composers like Handel and Purcell and lesser-known artists like Dutch composer Jacob van Eyck and the Italians Nicola Matteis and Alessandro Piccinini. Early French music will also be featured, says harpsichordist and series co-director Rebecca Pechefsky, with works by Francois Couperin, Michel-Pignolet de Monteclair, Jean-Philippe Rameau and Marin Marais. December brings well-known countertenor Jeffrey Dooley to the mansion for a Holiday concert with Brooklyn Baroque, and Ms. Gould returns in June for a concert of mostly French repertoire with flautist Andrew Bolotowsky. Other musicians in the series include Brooklyn Baroque's David Bakamjian, baroque cello, and Kathy McDonald, flute and Pasquale Bianculli, guitar, who will present 19th century repertoire in April.

The Morris-Jumel Mansion is located at 65 Jumel Terrace, between 160th and 162nd Streets, one block east of St. Nicholas Avenue. Directions can be found at www.morrisjumel.org. For information on the series, call (212) 923-8008, e-mail mjm1765@aol.com or visit www.polyhymnion.org/morrisjumel. Tickets are $15, $12 for museum members.

Danielle Reed is a New York-based reporter who has written for the Daily News, the New York Observer and the Wall Street Journal. This is her first article for Vocal Area Network.

Content Contact: Danielle Reed.
Revision Date: January 16, 2003.
Technical Contact: Steve Friedman.

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