photo: Plate 3

World-renowned for its highly polished performances as the pied-pipers of Early Music, Piffaro, The Renaissance Band has delighted audiences throughout the United States, Europe, Canada and South America. The ensemble, founded in 1980, recreates the elegant sounds of the official, professional wind bands of the late Medieval and Renaissance periods, as well as the rustic music of the peasantry. Piffaro’s ever-expanding collection of shawms, sackbuts, dulcians, recorders, krumhorns, bagpipes, lutes, guitars, harps, and a variety of percussion, are careful reconstructions of instruments from the period.

Under the direction of Joan Kimball and Robert Wiemken, Piffaro tours extensively in the United States and Europe, and has performed for all the major early music series and festivals, as well as many college and community series, in the US. The ensemble made its European debut at Tage Alter Musik in Regensburg, Germany in 1993, and has returned to Europe each season for numerous festival appearances. In addition, the Band produces its own concert series in Philadelphia, with four to five programs per year, bringing to their series some of the finest talents in early music performance as their guests. Excerpts from these concerts are regularly broadcast nationwide on National Public Radio’s Performance Today.

In addition to its concert and recording efforts, Piffaro is active in the field of education. Members of the ensemble perform regularly throughout the year for elementary, middle and high school students, and hold master classes and workshops for college students and adult amateurs. The group has also been involved in week-long residencies, working with small groups of students on recorders, or their modern band instruments, and teaching Renaissance dance. For these efforts, Piffaro was awarded Early Music America’s annual “Early Music brings history alive” award in 2003.

Piffaro has recorded for Newport Classics, Deutsche Grammophon/Archiv Produktion, and Dorian Recording, and collaborated with the renowned Belgian vocal ensemble Capilla Flamenca on a project that features the music of Jacob Obrecht, released on the Eufoda label. A recording of VESPERS, a new work by composer Kile Smith, was released to critical acclaim (“a masterpiece of the deepest kind” Audiofile Audition) on the PARMA/Navona label in April 2009. Selections of Piffaro’s music can also be heard on the Wyndham Hill and Passacaille labels.

Albums

Back Before Bach

Release Date: July 14, 2017
Catalog Number: NV6106
Renaissance
Chamber
Liturgical
Wind Ensemble
BACK BEFORE BACH, the latest Navona Records release from the Philadelphia-based ‘Renaissance band’ Piffaro, is an exceptional compendium of sixteenth and early seventeenth century German and Franco-Flemish music. As the album’s title suggests, the group of composers Piffaro features can be seen as the precedent for the luminaries of the German baroque era, specifically Johann Sebastian Bach. With BACK BEFORE BACH simultaneously drawing from a wide variety of genres, yet also focusing on a geographically and temporally limited group of composers, Piffaro succeeds wildly in presenting the musical foundation from which Bach and his contemporaries emerged.
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Los Ministriles in the New World

Release Date: June 1, 2012
Catalog Number: NV5875
Renaissance
Chamber
Wind Ensemble
Follow Piffaro from Spain to the New World in the 17th century and hear a wild array of secular songs, sacred motets, dances and instrumental fantasias are all performed on Piffaro's amazing collection of period instruments. This album is an all-instrumental homage to the music of Spain that was brought from the Old World, interspersed with music that was developed in the New World and influenced by the rich native cultures that the Spaniards encountered.
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Fine Music, Vol. 3

Release Date: January 1, 2012
Catalog Number: NV5868
21st Century
Chamber
Orchestral
Electronic
Orchestra
Piano Trio
FINE MUSIC, VOL. III is the third compilation of the Navona Records Fine Music digital series. This installment features the works of Lawrence Siegel, Sergio Cervetti, Tony Piccolo, Adrienne Albert, Daniel Perttu, Gerhard Stabler, Jane O'Leary, Jim Scully, Meira Warshauer, Piffaro, John Carollo, William Vollinger, Peter Van Zandt Lane, Lawrence Ball, and Benjamin Yusupov. This collection both highlights some of Navona's choicest tracks and offers a preview of things to come.
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Fine Music, Vol. 1

Release Date: February 1, 2011
Catalog Number: NV5841
21st Century
Orchestral
Solo Instrumental
Choir
Clarinet
String Orchestra
Navona's FINE MUSIC, VOLUME 1 is the first in a series of fine selections from Navona Records. This digital release features Grammy-winner Richard Stoltzman, Pulitzer Prize-winner Lewis Spratlan, Pixar/Randy Newman orchestrator Jonathan Sacks, and New York Philharmonic concertmaster Glenn Dicterow. This collection both highlights some of Navona's choicest tracks and offers a preview of things to come.
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Waytes: English Music for a Renaissance Band

Release Date: October 1, 2010
Catalog Number: NV5823
Renaissance
Chamber
Wind Ensemble
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Vespers

Release Date: April 1, 2009
Catalog Number: NV5809
Renaissance
Chamber
Liturgical
Vocal Music
Choir
Chicago's best-known early music ensemble The Newberry Consort exhilarates with VESPERS, a collection of dazzlingly original music for women’s voices. The composer? A mysterious early-17th-century Mexican named Juan de Lienas, whose style energetically oscillates between Renaissance and Baroque elements.
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