Thais St. Julien

Co-Host, Continuum

Thaïs St. Julien has performed everything from Gregorian chant to Gershwin, appearing in recitals, concerts and opera across the U.S.  The New Orleans native is co-director (with founder Milton Scheuermann)of New Orleans Musica da Camera, performing music of the 11th through 19th centuries.  She created and directs the group’s  women’s vocal ensemble, Vox Feminae, sometimes writing and arranging music for them. She and Scheuermann co-host the ensemble’s weekly program of early music, Continuum, aired on  WWNO 89.9FM, streamed on wwno.org. Twelve Musica da Camera productions featuring the soprano as soloist have been broadcast on National Public Radio, American Public Radio and Public Radio International.

Her passion for 18th and 19th century New Orleans music has led to lectures and performances across the country. She was featured on the internationally acclaimed series “Creole Cameos” produced by WWNO, and “Arc Light”, a video series produced by Amistad Research Center. The soprano has recorded for the Newport Classics, Centaur, Belle Alliance and Clark Constructions record labels. Her closest brush with the movies was as historic music advisor for “Interview with the Vampire”.

Recipient of the 2007 Louisiana Artist Fellowship in Music, St. Julien is also a SouthernArtistry.org artist, and has received a Gambit “Tribute to the Classical Arts” Life Time Achievement Award and the Historic District Landmarks Commission’s Pioneer in Preservation Honor Award. She’s also profiled in several Marquis “Who’s Who” publications.

When not reading a mystery novel or doing historical research, she’s a magician, (it’s a performance art, after all, not that much different from music). She also belongs to some nifty organizations - the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Society of American Magicians, the Knights of Slights and Mensa.

Ways to Connect

Continuum presents music by the 14th century French composer Guillaume de Machaut, known as the last great poet who was also a composer. His music for the Mass of Notre Dame represents the first known medieval Mass by a known composer. Machaut also composed in a wide range of styles and forms. He is a part of the musical movement known as the "ars nova". Besides his music for the Mass of Notre Dame, excerpts of which are heard on this program, quite a few of his love songs will also be played.

Continuum presents Old Dances, Old Recordings performed by two very early "early music ensembles", the New York Pro Musica, under the direction of founder Noah Greenberg, and the New York Renaissance Band, under the direction of founder Sally Logemann. These ensembles present early dance music by Michael Praetorius (c.1571-1621) and Tielman Susato (c.1500/15 - after 1570). Heard are excerpts from Praetorius' compositions of dances known as "Terpsichore", named after the Muse of the Dance.

Continuum presents The Art of the Bawdy Song, a program of delightful catches and ballads of Merry Old England— 300 years ago. Featured will be Songs from the Tavern, Dancing in the Grass, Tobacco and Other Stimulants, and Men and Maids. The Baltimore Consort will perform these bawdy songs with the aid of the men's singing ensemble, The Merry Companions. Recordings used are: The Art of the Bawdy Song (Baltimore Consort & Merry Companions - Dorian DOR 90155, and, Miri It Is (The Dufay Collective) - Chandos CHAN 9396.

This Continuum presents A Flemish Feast, featuring early music of the Netherlands — including songs and dances that were very popular during the Renaissance. The music is fantastically played by The Renaissance Band, Piffaro, and the Early Music Consort of London under the direction of the late David Munrow. Piffaro plays Flemish Renaissance wind music and David Munrow conducts and performs a variety of Flemish songs, instrumental selections and motets.

Continuum presents excerpts from the 12th century manuscript, Carmina Burana (The Songs from Beuern). This medieval manuscript was discovered in 1803 in the library of the Bavarian Benedictine monastery of Benedictbeuern in southern Germany. The songs, numbering over 200, are mostly bawdy, irreverent and satirical, and are in three categories: Moral and Sacred Songs, Songs of Springtime and Love, and Songs of Gambling, Eating and Drinking.This important manuscript inspired German composer Carl Orff to write his famous scenic cantata of the same name in 1936.

Continuum presents music performed by one of Americas leading early music ensembles, The Waverly Consort. Three of their CDs are featured, presenting music from the 13th century Cantigas de Santa Maria of Alfonso X, some of the songs of 14th century French composer Guillaume de Machaut, and the complete Llibre Vermell (The Red Book), a collection of ten pilgrim songs of the late 14th Century. Recordings used are: Las Cantigas de Santa Maria - The Bach Guild OVC 2013, Douce Dame - Vanguard Classics OVC, and Traveler: Medieval Journeys Through Time - Angel CDC 7243 5 55559

Continuum presents a program by the outstanding early music ensemble Sequentia, now in its forty-first year of performing medieval music, some of which has been hitherto unknown. This program focuses of two major works from around the year 1200, The Story of Samson & Delilah and The Labors of Hercules.

The Baroque composer Antonio Caldara (1670-1736) is best known as a creator or operas, cantatas and oratories. This program presents one of his most interesting compositions, music composed for a social gathering in the form of a comic chamber opera. The composition is called The Card Game. The performance is by The Queen's Chamber Band, conducted by Stephen Alltop and featuring soprano Julianne Baird and contralto Patrice Djerejian. The recording is The Card Game - Albany Troy 705.

The early music English vocal ensemble Gothic Voices was founded in 1981 by the scholar and musician Christopher Page and has since recorded 25 CDs. Gothic Voices is a United Kingdom based vocal ensemble specializing in repertoire from the 11th to the 15th century but also performing contemporary music, particularly pieces with medieval associations. The ensemble has commissioned contemporary works for its unusual vocal forces, with recent performances of works by Joanne Metcalf and Andrew Smith.

The name Anonymous Four is quite important to early music. It represents two identities: the first, Anonymous IV, is an unknown writer of an important treatise of medieval music theory, particularly about the music of Notre Dame in Paris in the 13th Century. The second, Anonymous 4, is a contemporary female vocal quartet specializing in medieval music. They began their career in 1992 and are still performing quite regularly. This Continuum presents music of both of these Anonymous Fours.

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