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Vassar Camerata

The Vassar Camerata was founded in 2004 by students in conjunction with the music department, and is the college’s only student-run early music ensemble. We specialize in music dating from a broad and diverse span of time, c. 800-1800. The group consists of a chamber orchestra and choir (hence the name “Camerata,” derived from its former usage to denote chamber music or a musical gathering of friends) and includes students from all majors and musical backgrounds.

Auditions are normally held at the beginning of each semester, and while participation in other choral or instrumental ensembles in the department is encouraged, it is not required. Interested students must be able to read music and be enthusiastic about the opportunity to collaborate with their peers in creating an enjoyable but well-prepared program. The aim of Camerata is to engage students in making music from a very different time, in order to more fully appreciate its beauty and value as well as to be able to perform it with integrity, understanding, and sincerity. Recently, the Camerata Orchestra acquired a set of baroque bows to be shared among all its members during rehearsals and performances, giving us access to more informed performance practice as well as a unique opportunity to gain experience with authentic baroque bow technique.

Rehearsals for both ensembles take place on Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday evenings, twice a week according to changing semester schedules. Every year, the choir and orchestra present a selection together, which is rehearsed throughout the semester both separately and together, giving vocalists and instrumentalists the opportunity to perform with one another.

Recent Repertoire

  • Arcangelo Corelli, Concerto Grosso Op. 6, No. 8 (The "Christmas Concerto")
  • Henry Purcell, O Sing Unto the Lord; Trio Sonata No. 9 in F (The "Golden Sonata")
  • Georg Telemann, Overture in G minor
  • George Frideric Handel, selected Concerti Grossi
  • Antonio Vivaldi, Credo;Concerto in G Major; Flute Concerto in D Major (Il Gardellino), RV 428; Concerto (Alla Rustica), RV 151; Magnificat, RV 610
  • Franz Joseph Haydn, Missa Santi Joannis de Deo (Little Organ Mass)
  • Johann Sebastian Bach, Cantata "Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit," BWV 106
  • Orlande de Lassus, Magnificat Praeter Rerum Seriem
  • Josquin des Prez, Absalon Fili Mi; El Grillo; Missa Pange Lingua
  • Heinrich Biber, Battalia a 9
  • Selections from the Cantigas de Santa Maria, 13th century
  • Dietrich Buxtehude, Pange lingua gloriosi; Wie schmeckt es so lieblich und wohl
  • Jean Baptiste Lully, De Profundis
  • Francesco Geminiani, Concerto Grosso Op. 3, No. 3
  • Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Messe de Minuit pour Noël
  • Thomas Tallis, Psalm Tunes from Archbishop Parker's Psalter

Past and Present Directors

  • Patrick Walker ’16
  • Maddie Hayes ’15
  • Ella Middleton ’15
  • Maria Ramsey ’15
  • Hallie Stotler ’14
  • Michael Hofmann ’13
  • Ellen DeGennaro ’12
  • Jacob Finkle ’12
  • Nicholas Rocha ’11
  • Emily Bookwalter ’10
  • Sebastian Weinberg ’09
  • Mary Beth Alexander ’09
  • Vince Vincent ’08
  • Alison DeSimone ’07
  • Eli Spindel ’05