The Aradia Ensemble sometimes invigorates its performances with other artists, such as dancers, and new music for Baroque instruments.
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Aradia Ensemble Biography

by Robert Cummings

The Aradia Ensemble is a period-instrument orchestra and vocal ensemble of 30 or so core members. Based in Toronto, it is best known for performances and recordings of 17th and 18th century French and English works by such composers as Charpentier, Lully, Rameau, Purcell, William Boyce, and Samuel Arnold. But it is hardly limited to those spheres, as its repertory takes in works by Vivaldi, Handel, J.S. Bach, Haydn, Cimarosa, and little known composers like Franz Beck, Václav Pichl, and Johann Baptist Vanhal. It also performs contemporary works by such composers as Canadian Rose Bolton. The ensemble is led by Irish-born, Canadian-based Kevin Mallon, who serves as both music director and artistic director. The Aradia Ensemble presents a regular series of concerts at various venues in Toronto, including the Glenn Gould Studio, Blessed Sacrament Church (for larger works), and Gladstone Hotel (for smaller ones). It has given regular international tours and often appear at music festivals in both Canada and the U.S. It has made over 30 recordings for the Naxos label.

Kevin Mallon founded the Aradia Ensemble in Toronto, Canada, in 1996. The AE immediately drew attention on the international scene, as its first recording for Naxos was issued that year, a CD of the Christmas Cantata and other works by Antonio Caldara.

As the new century approached the AE drew notice as far away as New Zealand, where in 2000 it was the principal ensemble at the New Zealand International Chamber Festival. The following year it performed to acclaim at the Musica nel Chiostro Festival in Tuscany, Italy.

By 2005 its Naxos recordings had amassed to more than a dozen, with notable efforts like the Buxtehude sacred cantatas (2004) and the Eight Symphonies, Op. 2, of William Boyce (2005), which was awarded a prestigious Editor's Choice Award from Gramophone Magazine.

The AE received its second Editor's Choice Award in March 2006 for a CD of Handel's Water Music and Royal Fireworks. In concert, successes also continued: a September 11, 2010, performance of Handel's Giulio Cesare at Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto was highly acclaimed by critics.

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