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Retrospective: Early Music America Competition Winners, pt. 2

Time capsule for this episode: 1599

In celebration of Early Musica America’s 25th anniversary, we’re looking back at the past winners of its competitions, including three ensembles given the opportunity to make a recording, and three ensembles who were exceptional in the performance of Medieval/Renaissance repertoire.

This is part two of each group’s road to success since winning.

The Concord Ensemble

The Concord ensemble won the very first recording competition in 1998, which was in collaboration with Dorian records. The group went on to make a second CD with Dorian, jointly with the Piffaro Renaissance Band, and toured extensively on both sides of the Atlantic.

Today, the Concord Ensemble is based in Los Angeles, California, where group has been expanded from the original all-male line-up. Six men and five women now explore together the vocal consort repertoire from the Renaissance.


In the year 2000, the Montreal-based ensemble Masques became the second winner of the Early Music America/Dorian Recording competition. Olivier Fortin, director and harpsichordist of the group, says that the win and subsequent feature article in Early Music America Magazine were instrumental in getting them noticed.

Not only did they find an agent, but they were picked up by the Analekta label with which they made six recordings. Masques most recent CD is of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s complete Pièces de clavecin en concert on the ATMA label.

Plaine & Easie

Since winning the 2009 Medieval/Renaissance competition, Plaine & Easie has been busy giving concerts of Renaissance music.

The ensemble recently performed in Seattle where they gave an all-English program entitled “Elisabeth’s Pleasure,” offering another opportunity to share their favorite repertoire from Tudor England. In fact, their name comes from a manual by English composer Thomas Morley.

Featured Release

Our featured release of the week is volume two of Jordi Savall’s continuing exploration of Celtic music played on the viola da gamba. An Alia Vox recording, Savall is joined by harpist Andrew Lawrence King and bodhran player Frank McGuire.

The program includes pieces such as the Gold Ring Jig, Lancaster Pipes, Pigges of Rumsey, Kate of Bardie, Cup of Tea, and A toye.

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