Classical Music Magazine, UK
“The U.S.A.’s hottest baroque band”
The New Yorker
“Apollo’s Fire under the direction of Sorrell has put Cleveland firmly on the period-performance map.”
The Boston Globe
“The Apollo’s Fire sound… early-music straight-tone point-polished to a ravishing, satiny gloss.”
The Daily Telegraph (Best 5 Classical Concerts of the Year)
“Superlative music-making…. combining European stylishness and American can-do entrepreneurialism.”
“Led by a brilliant harpsichordist, Jeannette Sorrell, the ensemble exudes stylish energy – a blend of scholarship and visceral intensity.”
“Never again even think that ‘classical music’ is boring. Never if it’s done as well as Apollo’s Fire does it.”
The New York Times
“A resplendent performance… The production belonged entirely to Ms. Sorrell, who devised the concept, which she called ‘a dramatic presentation…’ Jesse Blumberg sang the role [of Jesus] handsomely and acted vividly. Nicholas Phan sang the Evangelist beautifully, with unusual animation and dramatic vehemence. Jeffrey Strauss turned Pilate into a living, breathing figure for a change. The other vocal soloists — Amanda Forsythe, soprano; Terry Wey, countertenor; and Christian Immler, baritone — were outstanding. The orchestra was also excellent… The chorus, equally fine, allowed Ms. Sorrell some exquisite moments. In the two-verse chorale early on, Ms. Sorrell silenced the orchestra for the second verse, letting the magnificent chorus sing a cappella to breathtaking effect…”
The Chautauquan Daily
“Apollo’s Fire doesn’t just play, you see. It inhabits the music. In the hands of this award-winning chamber orchestra, and especially in “Love in Venice,” scores become veritable pieces of theater, animated scenes replete with drama impossible to absorb passively. When these players utter their creative tagline, “Passion. Period,” they mean it.”
Named for the classical god of music, healing and the sun, Apollo’s Fire is a GRAMMY®-winning ensemble. The period-instrument orchestra was founded by award-winning harpsichordist and conductor Jeannette Sorrell, and is dedicated to the baroque ideal that music should evoke the various Affekts or passions in the listeners. Apollo’s Fire is a collection of creative artists who share Sorrell’s passion for drama and rhetoric.
Hailed as “one of the pre-eminent period-instrument ensembles” (THE INDEPENDENT, London), Apollo’s Fire has performed five European tours, with sold-out concerts at the BBC Proms in London (with live broadcast across Europe), the Aldeburgh Festival (UK), Madrid’s Royal Theatre, Bordeaux’s Grand Théàtre de l’Opéra, and major venues in Lisbon, Metz (France), and Bregenz (Austria); as well as concerts at the Irish National Concert Hall (Dublin), the Irish National Opera House (Wexford), the Birmingham International Series (UK), the Tuscan Landscapes Festival (Italy), and Belfast Castle with a live broadcast carried by the Associated Press of Europe.
AF’s London 2014 concert was praised as “an evening of superlative music-making… the group combines European stylishness with American entrepreneurialism” (THE TELEGRAPH, UK). This concert was chosen by the TELEGRAPH as one of the “Best 5 Classical Concerts of 2014.”
North American tour engagements include sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall (2018), the Tanglewood Festival (2015 and 2017), the Ravinia Festival (2017 and 2018), the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY (2013, 2014, and 2015), the Boston Early Music Festival series, and the Library of Congress, as well as concerts at the Aspen Music Festival, Caramoor Festival, and major venues in Toronto, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The ensemble has performed two major U.S. tours of the Monteverdi Vespers (2010 and 2014) and a 9-concert tour of the Brandenburg Concertos in 2013.
At home in Cleveland, Apollo’s Fire frequently enjoys sold-out performances at its subscription series, which has drawn national attention for creative programming.
Apollo’s Fire has released 26 commercial CDs and won a GRAMMY® award in 2019 for the album Songs of Orpheus with tenor Karim Sulayman. AF’s recordings have won rave reviews in the London press: “a swaggering version, brilliantly played” (THE TIMES) and “the Midwest’s best-kept musical secret is finally reaching British ears” (THE INDEPENDENT). Eight of the ensemble’s CD releases have become best-sellers on the classical Billboard chart: the Monteverdi Vespers, Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos & Harpsichord Concertos, a disc of Handel arias with soprano Amanda Forsythe titled “The Power of Love” (Billboard Classical #3, 2015), and Jeannette Sorrell’s four crossover programs – Come to the River – An Early American Gathering (Billboard Classical #9, 2011); Sacrum Mysterium- A Celtic Christmas Vespers (Billboard Classical #11, 2012); Sugarloaf Mountain – An Appalachian Gathering (Billboard Classical #5, 2015); and Sephardic Journey – Wanderings of the Spanish Jews (Billboard World Music Chart #2 and Billboard Classical #5, Feb. 2016); and Songs of Orpheus (Billboard Classical #5, 2018).
GRAMMY®-winning conductor and harpsichordist Jeannette Sorrell is recognized internationally as one of today’s most compelling interpreters of Baroque and Classical repertoire.
She studied conducting under Leonard Bernstein and Roger Norrington at the Tanglewood and Aspen music festivals; and studied harpsichord with Gustav Leonhardt in Amsterdam. She won both First Prize and the Audience Choice Award in the Spivey International Harpsichord Competition, competing against over 70 harpsichordists from Europe, Israel, the U.S., and the Soviet Union.
She is the founder and artistic director of APOLLO’S FIRE, and has led the renowned period ensemble in sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall, London’s BBC Proms, Madrid’s Royal Theatre, the Tanglewood and Ravinia festivals, Boston’s Early Music Festival, the Library of Congress, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), among others. She and her ensemble have built one of the largest audiences of any baroque orchestra in North America. Sorrell and Apollo’s Fire have released 26 commercial CDs, including 8 bestsellers on the Billboard classical chart and a 2019 GRAMMY®-winner. Her recordings include the complete Brandenburg Concerti and harpsichord concerti of Bach; Bach’s St John Passion; Handel’s Messiah; and the Monteverdi Vespers, among others.
As one of America’s leading baroque and classical guest conductors, Sorrell has repeatedly conducted the Pittsburgh Symphony, St Paul Chamber Orchestra, Utah Symphony, and New World Symphony, and has also led the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Opera St Louis with the St Louis Symphony, the Florida Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, and Handel & Haydn Society, among others.
Sorrell has attracted national attention and awards for her creative programming, which has brought many new listeners to early music through the use of contextual and dramatic elements. She received an honorary doctorate from Case Western University and an award from the American Musicological Society.