From Old World to New – March 20, 2022

The Vivaldi Project String Trio

Baroque & Beyond resumes on March 20, 2022

Baroque & Beyond is happy to announce that our venue is once again open. Concerts will resume on March 20, 2022, with a performance by The Vivaldi Project. The concert takes place at 3:00 pm at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 227 East Rosemary Street, Chapel Hill.

The Vivaldi Project, led by baroque violinist Elizabeth Field and cellist Stephanie Vial, will perform a program of string trios, an undertaking (with violinist/violist Allison Nyquist) that has thus far yielded three acclaimed CD recordings, with more to come. Visit their website, , for details on this and other projects.

The March 20 Baroque & Beyond concert, From Old World to New, features works from the great musical centers of Venice and Vienna alongside one of the earliest known classical chamber works written by an American composer. Music by Leopold Hofmann, Maddalena Lombardini Sirmen, John Antes, and Paul Wranitzky will be played. The concert title references the fact that the charming trio by Leopold Hofmann would have been lost to us, had not the young composer Johann Peter painstakingly hand-copied it, and many other treasured scores, while a seminary student in Germany. All were brought with him from the Old World to the New when he came to work among the American Moravian settlements in 1770. 

Composer Leopold Hofmann was regarded by his Viennese contemporaries as one of the most important and influential musicians of his generation. A trained singer, keyboard player, and violinist, his widespread fame was founded on both his sacred vocal works and his considerable instrumental output. His innovative contributions to the symphony and concerto make him an important bridge between high Baroque forms and the emerging Classical style. The sole surviving copy of this trio, in the hand of Johann Friedrich Peter, is held by the Moravian Music Foundation in Winston-Salem, NC.

Classical string trios written by female composers are scant in number, in part at least because the violin and cello were generally considered indecorous instruments for the “fairer sex” to play. Such was not a concern among the charitable Venetian ospedali, which, perpetually short of funds, sought to cultivate the musical talent of orphaned or abandoned girls in order to present all-female choral and instrumental performances, whose increasing fame drew ever larger crowds. The ospedali became the first music schools for women, and the best teachers were brought in to oversee the musical education of these figlie. By 1753, 7-year-old Maddalena Lombardini would undergo a rigorous audition in order to enter the Ospedale dei Mendicanti, where she would remain until she was granted permission to leave and marry violinist and composer Lodovico Sirmen in 1767. Maddalena Sirmen was counted among the best virtuosi of her day as both a singer and a violinist. Her surviving compositions, all of them instrumental—concertos, duets, trios, and quartets—were widely published and reprinted during her lifetime.

The three string trios of Pennsylvania-born John Antes are the earliest known chamber works written by an American composer. Educated in the Moravian Boys’ school at Bethlehem, Antes became an ordained Moravian minister as well as an instrument maker. Antes’ string trios, published in London in the early 1790s, likely date from his missionary service in Egypt from 1769-1782 (an adventurous period of his life, during which time he was tortured and nearly killed). Additional works include 31 concerted anthems and solo songs, 59 hymns, and 6 lost quartettos.

Born in the Czech-Moravian Highlands, Paul Wranitzky (Pavel Vranický) would play an important role as a violinist, composer, and conductor in the musical life of Vienna at the height of the Classical period. Both Haydn and Beethoven preferred Wranitzky as the conductor of their works. Wranitsky’s operas and ballets were also well received, his singspiel Oberon serving as an inspiration for Mozart’s Magic Flute. His significant chamber music output includes some 25 string quintets, 56 string quartets, and at least 24 string trios.

Tickets are $20 at the door or in advance from Preservation Chapel Hill*. Customary covid protocols – proof of vaccination and masks (which are still required by our venue) – are needed for this concert.


*Send your ticket order by mail to Preservation Chapel Hill, 610 E. Rosemary Street, Chapel Hill, NC, 27514. Please include check or your charge card information. After March 5, there should be a link to purchase advance tickets online at Tickets ($20) will also be available at the door on concert day.