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 two of the most important French medieval composers who lived a century apart, Guillaume de Machaut (c.1300-1377) and Guillaume Dufay (1397-1474). Included in this program is the famous Mass of Notre Dame by Machaut, the first music composed for a Mass by a known composer. And, included also are secular songs by Dufay. His secular songs are very seldom performed and will be heard from a complete recording of them. Recordings used are: Guillaume de Machaut - Messe de Notre Dame (Hilliard Ensemble) - Hyperion CDA66358, Guillaume de Machaut - Ay Mi!

The European Ensemble Unicorn is heard on this Continuum. The musicians are from Austria, Italy and Germany and specialize in playing historical instruments in fascinating programs, full of variety and played with artistry and great refinement. On this program they present music from three major medieval sources, including a wide variety of virtuoso dance music from the time of  Baccaccio's Decamerone. Recordings used are: Carmina Burana - Naxos 8.554837, Chominciamento di Gioia - Naxos 8.553131, and Alfonso X: Cantigas de Santa Maria - Naxos 8.553133.

This Continuum presents a program featuring the female vocal ensemble known as “Tapestry”. The Boston-based vocal and instrumental group was founded by member Laurie Monahan in the 1980s and combines a repertoire of music from the medieval to the contemporary periods. This program features the recordings “Sapphire Night”, “The Fourth River’, and “Song of Songs Come into my Garden”. The so-named Tapestry recordings used are: Musikproduction MDG 344 1193-2, Telarc CD-80534, and Telarc CD.

This Continuum is a program devoted to mostly Spanish Baroque Music from a boxed four CD set, hence the title, Baroque in a Box. The main performers are the outstanding Spanish conductor, viol player, and composer, Jordi Savall, his wife, the famous soprano, Montserrat Figueras and the American lutenist, Hopkinson Smith. They perform this music with great musical vitality and maximum historical accuracy. Also heard areThe Sixteen, the well-known choir and period-instrument orchestra from the UK.

Continuum presents Something Old, Something New, a special program devoted to music for recorder and harpsichord by “old” composers: Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) and Joseph Bodin de Boismortier (1689-1755) and “new” composers: Arnold Cooke (1906-2005), Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000) and others. The outstanding American recorder player, John Tyson performs with the Dante Quartet and various harpsichordists.

This Continuum is a program primarily of music composed by King Henry VIII (1491-1547) of England and readings from his love letters to Ann Boleyn, his second wife and Queen of England from 1533 to 1536. Henry composed quite a lot of music during his lifetime. His most famous compositions are If Love Now Reigned, Helas Madame, Pastime With Good Company and Green Groweth The Holly, all heard on this program. Recordings used are: If Love Now Reigned (Isaak Ensemble Heidelberg) - Bayer Records BR 100132 CD and Music for Henry VIII (The Hilliard Ensemble) - Saga Classics SCD 9003.

Continuum presents a program of early music performed by the 38 year old Ensemble Gilles Binchois, named after the Netherlandish composer who was one of the earliest members of the Burgundian school and one of the three most famous composers of the early 15th century. The French ensemble was founded in 1979 by Dominique Vellard. A quite varied program will be heard including the famous Mass of Notre Dame by Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377), the first mass composed by a known composer.

Continuum presents selections from recordings of early performances of early music, namely the ensemble Studio der Frühen Musik and harpsichordist Colin Tilney. Studio der Frühen Musik (an American ensemble) was the prime early group performing early music from 1960-1980 and making many LP and CD recordings. Colin Tilney is an English keyboard performer on the harpsichord and pianoforte and one of the first keyboardists to record on the harpsichord.

Neo-Medieval is a term used by modern-day musicians who perform medieval music in a purely contemporary style. One thing this could mean is the possibility of using contemporary instruments and not the ones in use at the time of composition. Also, vocal selections could be extended to elongated elaborated interpretations of the original music. This Continuum presents three modern day American ensembles performing early music in the Neo-Medieval style.

French composer, Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) was one of the most important composers and music theorists of the Baroque era. He was a dominant composer of French opera and is also considered the leading French composer for the harpsichord. This Continuum presents music composed for his funeral by another recognized French composer of the same period, Jean Gilles (1668-1705). Recording used: Rameau’s Funeral (Capriccio Stravagante et al directed by New Orleans born Skip Sempe) - Paradizo PA0013.

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