The Austrian Baroque Connection brings together musicians from different countries in order to let the music of bygone eras come to life once more. As a period instrument ensemble of the newest generation, its members have devoted themselves to the intense study and performance of musical repertoire ranging from the late Renaissance to early classicism, taking special account of the most recent findings of research on historical performance practice.
Appearances by the Austrian Baroque Connection are never mere concerts: extraordinary programs with exciting ideas and unifying themes turn concert evenings into true events. “In some concerts we want to move you to tears; in others, you'll be laughing along with us. In every case, however, we seek to move you.”
All members of the ensemble are established specialists in their respective areas. Their versatility makes it possible to realize programs of extraordinary breadth while keeping the ensemble small: each member of the ensemble has mastered at least two historic instruments at a high level. Karen Marit Ehlig is a violinist and violist, Tanja Vogrin is a singer and a baroque harpist, Michael Hell plays harpsichord and all variants of the recorder, and Georg Kroneis plays basso continuo on viola da gamba, cello and violone.
“We develop each program according to a careful process: establishment of the core idea is followed by research in all accessible libraries and archives, as well as on the Internet, in order to collect possible compositions. Together, we try out the suitable pieces and arrive at a finished concept. Once a program has been worked out, the real work of rehearsing it can begin: we play, discuss, argue, laugh, read, celebrate our successes and ultimately arrive at our own interpretations.”
The Austrian Baroque Connection believes strongly in playing all music in the most authentic form possible. This naturally ties into all the music’s important aspects, from tone production on original instruments or faithful copies to decisions on tempo and the ornamentation used. Every detail is adapted to the local musical style of the place where the music originated, and particularly to the composers and the periods within which they worked, in order to transform the mosaic thus designed into a total work of art. The ensemble’s members have acquired the requisite knowledge and skills in conservatory studies and at master classes, and they continue to augment these through their own studies.
“Learning from the old masters themselves is the fundamental idea of our work: ornamentation from Telemann and Corelli, thoroughbass lessons from Muffat and Bach, guidance on performance practice from Mattheson and Mozart, and composing instruction from Rameau and Fux—to name just a few of the mentors to whom we look up.”
Alongside projects involving its core members, Austrian Baroque Connection regularly expands to include musician-friends from all over the world. This makes it possible to perform larger-scale works, and the associated cultural exchange expands the horizons of all participants. Or have you ever heard a Slovenian folk tune played on harpsichord, baroque harp and violone?