The Penn State Baroque Ensemble is the newest of the University's performing ensembles. It specializes in performing European music of the Baroque era on historical instruments, recreating the music as it might have sounded at the time it was written, according to the most recent scholarly research into historical performance. Using a mixture of faculty and string students, rehearsals reinforce Baroque performance techniques and stylistic interpretation. The ensemble is regularly coached and directed by leading early music groups and performers from Europe and America, such as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the King's Consort, Florilegium, and Modern Musik. The Baroque Ensemble performs two concerts a semester both on and off campus. It is open to all students, regardless of major, by audition.
The Penn State Cello Choir was founded in 1992 by Penn State cello professor Kim Cook. The members of the Penn State Cello Choir have included students from Croatia, Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria, Germany, Lithuania, Israel, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, China, Taiwan, Guam, and US states of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois, Georgia, Texas, and California. The ensemble has performed for the annual Penn State Mosaic Concerts, the Eisenhower Chapel Bach's Lunch Series and for the Pennsylvania Music Educators Convention in Harrisburg. The ensemble performs a variety of music, including arrangements of works by major composers from Gabrielli to Joplin, original compositions by Villa-Lobos, and works by commissioned contemporary composers. The Cello Choir has sponsored two Penn State Cello Festivals.
DOUBLE BASS ENSEMBLE
Now in its twelfth year, the Penn State Double Bass Ensemble consists of all Bass majors (graduate and undergraduate), minors, and occasionally non-music majors by auditions. The ensemble meets weekly and performs one full program both on and off-campus per semester, covering a wide range of repertoire including new compositions written for the group, arrangements by its members, and other works from the rapidly expanding bass ensemble repertoire of the past century. In particular we have worked often with the music of composers like Christan Gentet (from "L'orchestre de contrebasse"), Teppo Hauto-Aho, Tony Osborne, Stephan Shafer, Andreas Bennetzen, and Bertold Hummel. The music varies from large-scale symphonic compositions to contemporary pieces involving percussive and extended techniques as well as improvisation. Working with a larger group of bass players, we have the chance to hone both chamber music skills and bass section techniques (matching bow speeds and placement, vibrato, blending, etc.) and end up having alot of fun in the process.
The Penn State Viola Ensemble was formed in 1999 and has since appeared regularly in recitals, including performances at Bach's Lunch, Musica Nova, and at ViolaFest. The ensemble performs a wide range of repertoire. Programs include original works and transcriptions, and the ensemble has performed the the world premieres of numerous compositions. Repertoire ranges from small chamber works for two or three violists to large conducted works for two or three violists to large conducted works for a dozen or more players. The Penn State Viola Ensemble is directed by Tim Deighton.