“Apollo’s Fire” Preview – A Return to Chicago

Apollo Fire Arab Quarter
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Before coming to Chicago,  Apollo’s Fire and Jeannette Sorrell l will perform at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on March 7, 2020 as guests on the Museum’s series for the fifth time.

Apollo’s Fire Finale

Chicago has the good fortune of  having GRAMMY® Award winners Apollo’s Fire and Jeannette Sorrell launch a new semi-annual residency in the Chicago area.   It will begin with Sorrell’s groundbreaking program, O Jerusalem! – Crossroads of Three Faiths at Northwestern University’s Galvin Recital Hall in Evanston, Illinois, on Thursday, March 12, 2020, 7:30pm. Tickets are $10-60, with discounts for students, seniors, and subscribers of Music of the Baroque and Newberry Consort. Tickets by phone: 1.800.314.2535.

Apollo Fire Rumi poem

This program premiered last year to sold-out crowds in Cleveland.  O Jerusalem! is Artistic Director Jeannette Sorrell’s evocation of ancient Jerusalem through the music and poetry of the Jewish, Christian, Arab, and Armenian quarters of the Old City. Selections from Monteverdi’s great Vespers of 1610 echo with Arabic love songs and rapturous singing of Jewish cantors. Stunning projected images designed by Camilla Tassi use 17th-century paintings to bring the Old City to life in visual splendor.  At a time of ever-increasing tensions in the Middle East, 25 unique artists from Jewish, Palestinian, Muslim, and Christian backgrounds come together to join in celebration of brotherhood and sisterhood. The sounds of oud, theorbo, medieval harp, vielle, qanoon, strings, wooden flutes, and exotic percussion join with human voices in a celebration of love and shared humanity.

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Featured performers are Jeannette Sorrell, direction and harpsichord; Amanda Powell, soprano; Jeffrey Strauss and Sorab Wadia, baritones; Zafer Tawil, oud and qanun; Daphna Mor, winds.

Daphna Mor

With 26 commercial CDs, five European tours to date, and over 3.5 million views of its Youtube videos, Apollo’s Fire is the internationally renowned period-instrument orchestra based in Cleveland, Ohio.  Sorrell and Apollo’s Fire have built in Cleveland one of the nation’s three largest audiences for baroque music – along with Boston and San Francisco. Apollo’s Fire is not only hailed as “the USA’s hottest baroque band” (Classical Music Magazine, UK), but is also the USA’s busiest touring baroque orchestra. 

Jeffrey Strauss – Sephardic ballad

 The ensemble has played at such venues as Carnegie Hall; the BBC Proms; the Tanglewood, Ravinia, and Aspen Festivals; the Royal Theatre of Madrid; the National Concert Hall of Ireland (Dublin); the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Library of Congress, and many others.

Apollo Fire instrumental duet


The March 12 performance at Northwestern University marks the launch of a new semi-annual residency by Apollo’s Fire in the Chicago area.  Apollo’s Fire plans to play twice a year in the Windy City, through a combination of partnerships with Chicago-based institutions.  In 2020, Apollo’s Fire performs at Northwestern University and the Ravinia Festival.  Apollo’s Fire will return to Ravinia for the third time on July 7 to perform J.S. Bach’s complete Brandenburg Concertos.  The ensemble plans additional Chicago-area concerts in November 2020 and March 2021.

“O Jerusalem!” was conceived as a sequel to Sephardic Journey, Sorrell’s previous Jewish program which the Chicago Tribune named as one of its “Best 10 Classical Albums of the Year,” calling it “an absorbing collection of early music, beautifully performed” (2016).  Apollo’s Fire made its long-awaited Chicago debut in 2016 on the University of Chicago Presents series, followed by a sold-out debut at the Ravinia Festival in 2017 and a return to Ravinia in 2018.

Apollo’s Fire founder, Jeanette Sorrell

Artistic Director Jeannette Sorrell explained that a regular Chicago residency has been a strategic goal of Apollo’s Fire ever since the 2016 debut. “At the end of our Chicago debut concert at the University of Chicago, we were mobbed by enthusiastic patrons who told us they had been waiting for years to hear the group live, and that we must return twice a year. So we spent a couple of years figuring out how to make that work, and how to do it in the right way,” Sorrell said. “We discussed it with Chicago-based colleagues such as Karen Fishman (former Executive Director of Music of the Baroque, now retired).  We wanted to do this in a way that can be beneficial to all of our excellent early music colleagues in Chicago, including Newberry, Haymarket, and Music of the Baroque.  We picked a month when none of these groups are performing, in order to launch this residency in a collegial way. Our goal is to build audiences for early music – as we have done in Cleveland – and to do so for the benefit ALL early music ensembles.”

Apollo Fire Komida Manyana.women

Apollo’s Fire Public Relations Manager Angela Mortellaro said that Apollo’s Fire is collaborating with Music of the Baroque and Newberry on marketing.  “Newberry and MOB are kindly helping to promote this concert for us, and we are helping promote some of their concerts.” In addition, Apollo’s Fire is offering ticket discounts to MOB and Newberry subscribers.

JEANNETTE SORRELL, founder and artistic director in telling about her background shares that “If the U.S. government in 1957 had not welcomed immigrants, or if my mom had not been willing to trust a foreigner… I would not be here today.  And neither would Apollo’s Fire.”

For more information on Apollo’s Fire and Jeannette Sorrell, please visit apollosfire.org and jeannettesorrell.com


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