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Burning River Baroque

Cleveland Hts., OH            

Burning River Baroque seeks to throw open the doors of the concert hall to audiences with innovative programs that reflect our modern lives and times. By involving the audience in the drama unfolding onstage and offering most of our programs for free/by donation, we create concerts that appeal to all types of audiences.

Praised by the Boston Musical Intelligencer as a group that “left an indelible imprint on my psyche,” Cleveland-based Burning River Baroque is an artist-run ensemble founded in 2012 with the goal of bringing the drama, passion, and vitality of Baroque music to life for contemporary audiences. Core members are Malina Rauschenfels, a Juilliard-educated multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and composer, and Paula Maust, who is currently pursuing a doctorate in harpsichord at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.

Their ensemble name connotes the fiery passion they bring to their performances, connects them to Cleveland’s history, and exemplifies their desire to create programs that inspire dialogue about contemporary social issues. When the sludge-filled and polluted Cuyahoga River burned in 1969, it was the catalyst for broad environmental policy reform. Music has long offered a space for outsiders to find a voice, and classical composers and musicians have often been at the forefront of political and social change. Burning River Baroque’s high-energy performances educate and involve audience members from seasoned concert-goers to those just discovering classical music. They encourage a participatory concert atmosphere where the fourth wall is broken and audiences are involved in the drama that is occurring on stage. Recent programs have centered on themes of women’s agency, suppressed and exiled composers, relationship violence, and hidden perspectives. They strive to create an inclusive and open concert environment where high-quality music is used as a vehicle to raise questions about relevant social issues, challenge beliefs, and inspire thought-provoking discussion. Because their aim is to connect the past to the present, they also aim to commission one piece a year written for their early instruments. Equally comfortable in both traditional and non-traditional concert venues, they have performed on regional concert series throughout the midwest and have self-produced concerts in urban and rural libraries, coffee shops, and cafes. Since 2012 they have released three live CDs and DVDs and present 15-20 concerts each season.

Bridget Bishop – Malina Rauschenfels

Burning River Baroque performs Bridget Bishop, by Malina Rauschenfels. This piece is written about/uses text from the testimony of the first woman hung in the Salem witch trials. It was performed on our program about baroque portrayals of women as crazy. For contrast, Malina wrote a piece portraying the Salem community as crazy and the woman as sane. Performed 9x so far, we intend to perform our commissions as many times as possible.

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Rien du Tout – Nicolas Racot de Grandval

Nicolas Racot de Grandval (1676-1753)
Burning River Baroque – live at Boston Early Music Fringe Festival in 2015

Malina Rauschenfels, soprano
Luke Conklin, winds
Peter Lekx, baroque violin
Phillip W Serna, viola da gamba
Paula Maust, harpsichord

Subtitles, Zoe Neely

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La Matrône d’Éphèse – Nicolas Racot de Grandval (excerpts)

One soprano portrays six characters in Burning River Baroque’s production of “La Matrône d’Éphèse”, the witty mini-opera by Nicolas Racot de Grandval (1676-1753).

Burning River Baroque explores gender roles and stereotypes.

Malina Rauschenfels, soprano & violin.
Paula Maust, harpsichord.

August 12, 2017 at St Alban Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights
translations by Josefien Stoppelenburg
Subtitles by Zoe Neely

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