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 a program of early music from the Ars Subtilior period, a musical style characterized by rhythmic and notational complexity, centered in Paris, Avignon in southern France, and in northern Spain at the end of the 14th century. The style is found also in the French Cypriot repertory. The music of this period is highly refined, complex, very difficult to sing and perform, and probably was produced, sung and enjoyed by a small audience of specialists and connoisseurs. The recording used is: Ars Subtilior - Dawn of the Renaissance (Various performers) - Century 5 - Vol. 7.

On this Continuum you'll hear European polyphonic music of the 14th century which flourished in France and the Burgundian Low Countries. The Ars Nova can be described  as "new technique", or "style", following the Ars Antiqua style of the 13th century, particularly the style of the older Notre Dame school in Paris at that time. The recording used is: A Revolution in the Late Middle Ages (The Ars Nova) (Various performers) - Century 5 - Vol. 6.

This Continuum presents unique contemporary performances of medieval music in accordance with the modern revival of music from this period, hence the name, Neo-Medieval. The three ensembles are have been highly praised for their approaches to performing this music. All are different from each other but each gives excellent interpretations of the selections. Recordings used are: Sapphire Night  (Tapestry) - MDG 344 1193-2, Neo-Medieval (Hesperus) - Dorian DIS 80155, and Darkness Into Light (Anonymous 4) - Harmonia Mundi HMU 907274.

This Continuum is a very merry program of early English music, primarily Elizabethan and Jacobean and features songs and dances of that period. Included are songs by some of the most famous composers of that time such as John Dowland, Thomas Campion, and Thomas Morley. And, of course, specific dances like Kemp's Jig and Cupid's Doomsday, Recordings used are: Miri It Is (The Dufay Collective) - Chandos CHAN 9396, Ars Britannica (Pro Cantione Antiqua) - Teldec 2292-46004-2, and When Birds Do Sing (Folger Consort) - Bard BDCD 1-9207.

Thomas Binkley was an American lutenist and early music scholar. He founded and led the famous "Studio der Frühen Musik" in 1960 in Munich which performed and recorded early music for twenty years. This Continuum presents excerpts from two of the ensembles famous CDs directed by Binkley. The music is from the repertoire of the troubadours and trouveres and from the famous Carmina Burana. Recordings used are; Troubadours, Trouveres & Minstrels (Studio der Frühen Musik) - Teldec 4509-97938-2, and Carmina Burana (Studio der Frühen Musik) -Teldec 4509-95521-2

Many movies of great note have used early music in the sound tracks or to accompany the story line. This Continuum presents music from four of these movies including “Henry VIII and His Six Wives” and “Tous les Matins du Monde”. Performances are by outstanding early music ensembles. Recordings used are: Henry VIII and His Six Wives (Early Music Consort of London) - Testament SBT 1250, Tous les Matins du Monde (Jordi Savall et al) - Valois V 4640, Jeanne la Pucelle (La Capella Reial et al) - Auvidis Travelling K 1006, and Farinelli (Les Talens Lyriques et al) - Auvidis Travelling K1005.

One of the most important early music manuscripts is the Las Huelgas Codex dating from around 1300. It originated and still remains in the Cistercian convent of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas in Burgos, in northern Spain. The convent was a wealthy one which had connections with the royal family of Castile.

This Continuum features Baroque music mostly by Spanish composers and in a variety of performing manners, including ensembles, vocal soloists and instrumentalists. The music is not from the usual Baroque repertoire normally heard. Recordings used are: Rebelo and Melgas (The Sixteen, Harry Christopher) - Collins Digital 14652, Spanish Baroque Music (Figueras, Savall & Koopman) - Philips 432 822-2, Juan Manuel de la Puente (Al Eyre Espano) - Almaviva DSI 0102, and Poema Harmonico (Hopkinson Smith) - Astree E8722

The music of the two most important known medieval composers are featured on this Continuum, They are Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377) and Guillaume Dufay (1397-1474). Machaut is the first known composer of music for a sacred liturgical mass and Dufay composed music that is considered the first important compositions leading into the Renaissance period. On the program are excerpts from Machaut’s Mass of Notre Dame and Dufay’s many secular music compositions.

Of all the European countries, England has the least amount of medieval music available from its historic archives. On this Continuum you’ll hear the most famous of these selections performed exquisitely. The ensembles Sequentia, Hililliard Ensemble, and the Dufay Collective will do the honors. The recordings used are: Miri It Is (Dufay Collective) - Chandos CHAN 9396; English Songs of the Middle Ages (Sequentia) - EMI CDC 7 49192 2; and Sumer Is Icumen In (The Hilliard Ensemble) - Harmonia Mundi HMA 1951154.

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