Gretchen’s Muse is one of New York’s newest period chamber music ensembles, founded in 2012 by violinist Abigail Karr. Unique among existing historical ensembles, our mission is to present a full and nuanced picture of the music of the 18th century, which saw the transition between what we know now as the Baroque and Classical styles. In particular, we highlight the roots of Classical style deep in the “Baroque” period, the reverberations of Baroque style well into the Classical period and beyond, and the important but not often fully explored changes in performance practice throughout the century, including developments in instrument design.
Concerts in 2013 reached into every corner of this pivotal period. In performances in New York, Boston, and Toronto, we journeyed from Bach to Beethoven, using ensembles ranging from two to seven performers, and featuring strings, winds, keyboards, and voice. The harpsichordist, musicologist, and blogger David Schulenberg described our rendition of Haydn’s Opus 20 no. 2 as “one of the best performances I have ever heard of a Haydn quartet,” and “one of the highlights of the entire [Boston Early Music Festival] week.” The musicians are a stellar group of recognized experts in these areas, bringing together diverse backgrounds from New York and beyond.