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ArsAntiguaPresents.com, directed by Jerry Fuller, is a series of quarterly, free audio web cast programs of music from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical eras performed on period instruments with engaging and enlightening commentary by Peter Van De Graaff. Programs focus on one composition or a few short works.
Ars Antigua performs music from the Renaissance through Classical eras on period instruments. Performances by Ars Antigua are known for technical excellence, emotional impact, and historical scholarship. Ars Antigua raises the visibility and knowledge of early music among the next generation of musicians through its residency program at Midwest Young Artists. For more information about Ars Antigua visit ArsAntiguaPresents.com.
Ars Antigua is an affiliate of Early Music America and member of Early Music Chicago.
Jerry Fuller began studying the double bass at age 16 and was invited to join the Lyric Opera of Chicago orchestra three years later. Within two years he was promoted to first desk of the double bass section in addition to performing with the Santa Fe Opera. Mr Fuller has also served as solo double bass of The Musikkollegium Winterthur Switzerland. While in Europe, Mr. Fuller became interested in historically-informed performance practice and has achieved international recognition for his work with period instruments. A Chicago Artists Abroad grant recipient, Mr. Fuller’s performances in London, Rome, Geneva and Edinburgh have been broadcast worldwide. In addition, Mr. Fuller has performed at the Ravinia and the Aspen Music Festivals and both the Boston and Berkeley Early Music Festivals.
His recordings on the Musical Arts Society, Cedille and Centaur labels have been hailed by both critics and colleagues. Mr. Fuller also writes on period instruments and performance practice for The Strad, Double Bassist, and Bass World magazines, serves on the editorial board of the Online Journal of Bass Research and is webmaster for the Double Bass and Violone Internet Archive.
Mr. Fuller served as an officer of the Board of Directors of the International Society of Bassists 1990-1996 and has appeared as a guest artist with the American Bach Soloists of San Francisco, the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston and the Newberry Consort of Chicago.
He is principal double bassist of The Baroque Band as well as the period instrument forces for Chicago Opera Theater. In addition he is Director of both ArsAntiguaPresents.com and the Midwest Young Artists Early Music Program for which he was awarded the Early Music America Outreach Award for Excellence in Early Music Education in 2009.
A note on period instruments and historically informed performance practice
Several decades ago, a movement began in classical music to perform music on the instruments that were used during the composer’s lifetime. This marriage of scholarship and style became known as “historically informed performance practice.” But it encompasses more than the proper choice of instruments for the performance of music from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical eras. Fine points of expression, articulation, and even the way instruments are tuned are important considerations in our performances.
For most of us, it is the use of these beautiful and, in most cases, truly antique and priceless instruments that brings the most unique quality to these performances. Rather than cataloguing all the well-founded and essential reasons to use period instruments for this music, it is even more compelling to consider why the use of modern instruments would cheat us of the experience composers like Bach or Handel meant to give us.
In the Baroque period, musical phrases were made up of strong and weak notes, falling on strong and weak beats within a bar. When a string player would move the bow in a downward stroke across a string, the sound was stronger than when the bow would be moved in an upward direction. Eventually the lengths of musical phrases grew, and more notes were meant to be played in a connected way, leading much further down the musical line to a phrase’s focal point. Accordingly, the bows for stringed instruments were then made to create the same amount of sound whether the bow was moving up or down.
Also, concert halls grew in size, so instruments were made to play louder. In the 20th century, some composers began to require sounds that acoustic instruments simply can not produce and now electronic instruments are being developed and used.
We believe that music has its most profound affect when performed on instruments and using techniques from the period in which the music was composed. This is why Ars Antigua has dedicated itself to the use of period instruments and historically informed performance practice.