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Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale is pleased to present Pre-Concert Talks. These informal discussions take place forty five minutes before each concert performance. They are free to all ticket-holders and are designed to enrich the concert experience with thoughtful insights from Nic McGegan, guest artists, musicians, scholars and speakers from the world of classical music. We invite all ticket-holders to join us for our talks throughout the season.

In 2019, PBO began its “Sunday Talks” #PBOLive series, which broadcasts the pre-concert talks before every Sunday matinee performance LIVE on Facebook, YouTube, and Vimeo/Livestream. Click here for more information, and to view our archive #PBOLive videos!

December: Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus

Join PBO’s Scholar-in-Residence and Chorale Director Bruce Lamott as he focuses on Handel’s representation of the Chorus of Israelites and his audience’s identification with “British Israel”—the concept that viewed Britain as a modern manifestation of the “chosen people” of the Old Testament. Handel’s choice of Jewish heroes, including Samson, Joshua, and Judas Maccabaeus, was not to entice Jews into the theater, as they were a discriminated minority in England. The ancient Israelites were rather analogous to the British people and the Church of England, and their enemies, to Catholic usurpers and political opposition.

November: Mozart’s Musings [PAST EVENT]

KQED’s Silicon Valley Bureau Chief Rachael Myrow sits down with guest conductor Jeannette Sorrell to muse on Mozart, from his La finta semplice—written when he was just twelve years old—to one of his most celebrated symphonies written much later in life. Sorrell also discusses her life of musicmaking, from growing up in San Francisco in the 1970s to her studies with Gustav Leonhardt in Amsterdam and her founding of Apollo’s Fire.

October: A Cosmic Notion [PAST EVENT]

Special performance of Caroline Shaw’s Entr’acte presented by the New Esterházy Quartet, accompanied by stimulating discussion:

  • Thursday 10/17, San Francisco: A special appearance by Golden Record producer Timothy Ferris provides the culmination of a riveting discussion between Scholar-in-Residence Bruce Lamott and The Listeners composer Caroline Shaw
  • Friday 10/18, Palo Alto: Bruce Lamott shares a conversation with composer Caroline Shaw as she discusses her most ambitious work for Philharmonia yet
  • Saturday 10/19 & Sunday 10/20, Berkeley: Join Bruce Lamott in a journey through New Music for Old Instruments, sharing notes on his conversations with Caroline Shaw and providing insight on Handel’s spectacular Eternal Source of Light Divine

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