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.