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British Early Music Vocal Ensemble to Perform at Church of The Ascension and Saint Agnes

Wed., Feb. 25 7:30pm): In anticipation of its upcoming performance at the Boston Early Music Festival, Stile Antico, one of Britain’s pre-eminent early music vocal ensembles, will make a rare special appearance in the candlelit nave of the 1845 Gothic Revival Church of the Ascension and Saint Agnes (1217 Mass. Ave., NW), one of the city’s acoustical and architectural gems.

photo—courtesy Church of the Ascension and Saint Agnes.

photo—courtesy Church of the Ascension and Saint Agnes.

At its peak, the Hapsburg dynasty ruled much of Europe and established the first truly global empire. With “From the Imperial Court: Music for the House of Hapsburg,” Stile Antico’s program will present a fascinating and sumptuous journey through two centuries of Continental repertoire — music closely associated with the Renaissance Hapsburg monarchs Maximilian I, Charles V and Philip II, who gathered around them some of the finest composers of their day. Through the music, the ensemble will have the audience encounter coronations, celebrations and funerals, and meet the Hapsburgs at play and prayer, in music ranging from the simplest of Josquin chansons to the intricacies of Isaac, and from Lobo’s exquisite expression of grief to the exuberance of Morales and Gombert.

Based in London, Stile Antico has performed at many of the world’s most prestigious venues and festivals. The group enjoys a particularly close association with the Wigmore Hall, and has appeared at the BBC Proms, Buckingham Palace, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Cité de la Musique, the Palais des Beaux-Arts and the Luxembourg Philharmonie. Stile Antico is frequently invited to perform at Europe’s leading festivals: highlights include the Lucerne Easter Festival, the Rheingau, Schleswig-Holstein and Wrocław Festivals, and the Antwerp, Barcelona, Bruges, Granada, Utrecht and York Early Music Festivals.

Since making its critically acclaimed North American debut at the Boston Early Music Festival in 2009, Stile Antico has returned frequently to the US and Canada, performing regularly in Boston and in New York’s Music Before 1800 and Miller Theatre series. Further appearances include Washington’s Library of Congress. The ensemble records exclusively for the Harmonia Mundi label and has received numerous accolades, including the Gramophone Award for Early Music.

“There is simply no finer venue for Stile Antico in all of the DC area,” Dr. Douglas Major, former Organist and Master of the Choristers at Washington National Cathedral, recently remarked. “The Library of Congress is good for certain kinds of music, but when it comes to Renaissance choral music, Ascension and Saint Agnes has the finest acoustic in the city; it’s one of DC’s best-kept secrets!”

Admission, $50 preferred seating; $35 general seating. Tickets may be ordered and charged by phone by calling (800) 838-3006 or on-line at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1069075. For more information call (202) 347-8186 or visit www.asa-dc.org.