Folger Renaissance Concert at National Cathedral

Palestrina’s Perfect Art Highlights Transcendent Vocals of Period

Stile Antico 2010 Photo: Marco Borggreve Courtesy Folger Consort

Folger Consort, the early music ensemble in residence at the Folger Shakespeare Library, performs two concerts of Palestrina’s Perfect Art, February 7 and February 8, 2020 at 8 p.m. in the Gothic nave of Washington National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW).

Palestrina’s Perfect Art highlights the transcendent vocal counterpoint of the late Italian Renaissance, led by the critically acclaimed voices and musicianship of British vocal ensemble Stile Antico.

Join Folger Concert for a special event before the Friday concert. A pre-concert discussion will be hosted by WETA’s Robert Aubry Davis at 6:30. Artistic Director Robert Eisenstein, national radio personality Robert Aubry Davis (WETA) and Folger Consort guest artists join for a lively exchange. Admission to the conversation is free to guests holding a ticket for the evening performance.

The music of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina is written in a style known as the Ars Perfecta, the “perfect” refinement of the musical art of the Renaissance. His transcendent polyphonic works will be performed alongside music of lesser-known contemporaries, including such women as Raffaella Aleotti, Maddalena Casulana, Sulpitia Cesis, and Leonora d’Este.

The quality of their music makes it clear why people eagerly visited convents to hear their works and why these composers’ contributions should come into the contemporary appreciation of late Renaissance and early Baroque music.

Folger Consort—led by Artistic Directors Robert Eisenstein (viola da gamba) and Christopher Kendall (theorbo)—will be joined by British vocal ensemble Stile Antico, the Renaissance brass instruments of Tesserae Baroque, and Webb Wiggins playing portative organ.

Individual tickets are $30-$60 and may be purchased at the Folger box office at (202) 544-7077 or online at Discounts are available for students, senior citizens, military personnel and families, teachers, and groups.