March 06, 2017
By Angye Morrison
The Continuo Collective of the South will perform at Averitt Center for the Arts on March 21 – and will take the audience on a journey through their vast repertoire of Baroque chamber music.
Baroque music is a style of Western art music composed from around 1600 to 1750. Key composers of the era include Johan Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel and Johann Pachelbel. The period saw the creation of tonality, in which a piece is written in a particular key. Baroque concerts were typically accompanied by a basso continuo group which consisted of chord playing instrumentalists like harpsichordists and lute players, while a group of bass instruments – viola, cello, double bass – played the bass line.
The continuo, the harpsichord and cello, is the consistent, driving force of the group that reinforces the voice most fundamental to Baroque music – the bass line. This core duo is always included in the Continuo Collective’s concerts, and joined by a variety of instrumentalists or vocalists, depending on the repertoire being performed.
Founding members of the Continuo Collective include cellist Ruth Berry and Ken Courtney on harpsichord, along with soloists Angela Massey on flute and Pawel Kozak on violin.
Berry is also a founding member of the Fenimore Strong Quartet, the Megellan String Quartet and Trio d’Esprit. She gives recitals of popular classics with Ensembles Intermezzo, performs with and is Artistic Director of the musician-run chamber orchestra, Lyra Vivace, and manages a unique musician booking service, In Praise of Music. During the summers, she performs with Glimmerglass Opera. She received a B. Mus. From Boston University, and her graduate degree and studies at Cornell University were in musicology, analytical techniques and performing practice.
Courtney has served as Director of Music/organist at First Presbyterian Church in Aiken, South Carolina since 1988, and is an adjunct faculty member at the University of South Carolina in Aiken, where he teaches Organ, World Music and Introduction to Music, in the Visual and Performing Arts Department. He studied at the University of Memphis and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Massey holds the position of third flute and piccolo with the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra and has performed with the Augusta Choral Society, Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra Augusta, in addition to numerous solo performances. She studied at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, as well as Carnegie Mellon University.
Kozak is an adjunct violin and viola instructor at the Presbyterian College and Lander University. He studied at the University of Georgia, and frequently performs as a member of Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra Augusta, Greenville Symphony, Charleston Symphony and South Carolina Philharmonic.
The show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, and $10 for youth. Call (912) 212-2787 to purchase tickets or go online at www.averittcenterforthearts.org.