Thais St. Julien

Co-Host, Continuum

Thaïs St. Julien has performed everything from Gregorian chant to Gershwin, appearing in recitals, concerts and opera across the U.S.  The New Orleans native is co-director (with founder Milton Scheuermann)of New Orleans Musica da Camera, performing music of the 11th through 19th centuries.  She created and directs the group’s  women’s vocal ensemble, Vox Feminae, sometimes writing and arranging music for them. She and Scheuermann co-host the ensemble’s weekly program of early music, Continuum, aired on  WWNO 89.9FM, streamed on wwno.org. Twelve Musica da Camera productions featuring the soprano as soloist have been broadcast on National Public Radio, American Public Radio and Public Radio International.

Her passion for 18th and 19th century New Orleans music has led to lectures and performances across the country. She was featured on the internationally acclaimed series “Creole Cameos” produced by WWNO, and “Arc Light”, a video series produced by Amistad Research Center. The soprano has recorded for the Newport Classics, Centaur, Belle Alliance and Clark Constructions record labels. Her closest brush with the movies was as historic music advisor for “Interview with the Vampire”.

Recipient of the 2007 Louisiana Artist Fellowship in Music, St. Julien is also a SouthernArtistry.org artist, and has received a Gambit “Tribute to the Classical Arts” Life Time Achievement Award and the Historic District Landmarks Commission’s Pioneer in Preservation Honor Award. She’s also profiled in several Marquis “Who’s Who” publications.

When not reading a mystery novel or doing historical research, she’s a magician, (it’s a performance art, after all, not that much different from music). She also belongs to some nifty organizations - the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Society of American Magicians, the Knights of Slights and Mensa.

Ways to Connect

Continuum presents excerpts from the medieval Play of Robin and Marion (Jeu de Robin et Marion). It is the earliest secular play with music, written in around 1282 to 1283, and is the most famous work of Adam de la Halle (1220-1288).

This Continuum program presents early music performed on four different instruments from the medieval and Renaissance periods. They are two string instruments and two wind instruments; the viola da gamba, the Renaissance lute, the organetto (a small portative lap organ) and the recorder.

Continuum this week presents a program called The Cries of London, referring to the short lyrical and musical calls of merchants hawking their products and services at the beginning of the 17th century. Many street cries were incorporated into larger musical works, preserving them from oblivion.

This week on Continnum Milton Scheuermann and Thais St. Julien present examples of the first forms of polyphony, music composed for two or more melodies performed at the same time.

A program of music of some of the most famous German minnesingers is presented on this Continuum. The minnesingers are the German counterpart of the medieval French troubadours and trouveres.

Continuum this week will present a special New Year's program of early music, both sacred and secular. The sacred music is primarily from the Manuscrit du Puy, which brings together a varied group of Aquitanian monodic and polyphonic chants for the New Year from the 12th to the 16th centuries.

This week on Continuum you'll hear excerpts from the Feast of Fools, a post-European Christmas event dating from the Middle Ages. Occurring between Christmas and Epiphany, this celebration was marked by much license and buffoonery. The clergy and the laity traded places for a day and interesting things happened, particularly in The Mass of the Ass.

You'll hear it from these CDs: The Feast of Fools (The New London Consort) L’Oiseaus-Lyre 433 194-2, and La Fete de L'Ane (Clemencic Consort) Harmonia Mundi HMT 7901036.

On this Continuum you'll hear a special program of early Christmas music performed by the New Orleans Musica da Camera. This is music from their CD, Natus Est, directed by Continuum hosts Milton Scheuermann and Thais St. Julien.

This week, Continuum presents a program of medieval Christmas music, most of which is unknown to modern day listeners. Beginning with Aquitanian selections of the 12th century, the program progresses through the Italian, Spanish and German repertoire, ending with a selection of 15th century English carols.

On this program Continuum presents complete recordings of the earliest English songs in existence. They come from the two important collections, The Worcester Fragments and a collection known only as The Earliest Songbook of England. Both contain anonymous music from 13th and 14th century England.

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