Ciaramella Ensemble brings to life Medieval and early Renaissance music from historical events and manuscripts. Praised for performing intricate fifteenth-century counterpoint "with the ease of jazz musicians improvising on a theme," its members are united by the conviction that every composition conceals a rich story waiting to be unlocked through historical research and speculative performance.
Founded on a core of winds: shawm, sackbut, recorder, bagpipe, and voice, Ciaramella takes its name from the Italian shawm and from a fifteenth-century song about a beautiful girl whose clothes are full of holes. When she opens her mouth, she knocks men flat. Ciaramella's members met as graduate students at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. They first performed together on Christmas Day 2003, in Spoleto, Italy. There they collaborated with musicologist Gioia Filocamo to perform music from the manuscript Panciatichi 27, much of which had not been heard for centuries. In 2004, the group performed in a staged production of the first Hebrew play, A Comedy of Betrothal by Leone de'Sommi (c.1550) at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Ciaramella has since performed for the Bloomington Early Music Festival, Oberlin's Baroque Performance Institute, the Lute Society of America, the American Musicological Society in Seattle, and on early music series in Cleveland, San Francisco, and San Diego. They have performed for Columbus Early Music in Ohio, Seattle's Early Music Guild, and continue to perform in Los Angeles for the Da Camera Society's music series, ?hamber Music in Historic Sites." Ciaramella was a finalist in the 2003 Flanders Festival International Young Artist's Presentation and in the 2004 Medieval/ Renaissance Early Music America competition in New York. The group made its debut appearance to sold out crowds at the Tage Alter Musik Festival in Regensburg, Germany in Spring 2007.
This season the group has performed at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Early Music Society of the Islands in Victoria, BC, made its New York debut at Music Before 1800 and performed for the Connecticut and Amherst Early Music Festivals.
As first runner-up in the 2003 Early Music America competition, Ciaramella recorded its first CD for Naxos entitled "Sacred and Secular Music from Renaissance Germany," which was released in January 2006. Their second CD under the Yarlung Records label, Ciaramella Dances, has received critical acclaim.
photo: provided by Yarlung Records