Piffaro, the Renaissance Band
World-renowned for its highly polished performances as the pied-pipers of Early Music, Piffaro has delighted audiences throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, and South America. Founded in 1980, with its yearly Philadelphia concert series inaugurated in 1985, Piffaro recreates the rustic music of the peasantry, as well as the elegant sounds of the official, professional wind bands of the late Medieval and Renaissance periods. Its ever-expanding instrumentarium includes shawms, dulcians, sackbuts, recorders, krumhorns, bagpipes, lutes, guitars, harps, and a variety of percussion—all careful reconstructions of instruments from the period.
Under the direction of Artistic Directors Joan Kimball and Bob Wiemken, Piffaro appears internationally, having debuted at Tage Alter Musik in Regensburg, Germany, in 1993. They have returned to Europe frequently since then, performing at major festivals in Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, and the Czech Republic. In addition, they have traveled to South America, including a memorable tour in Bolivia under the auspices of that country’s bi-annual International Renaissance & Baroque Festival. Piffaro has appeared at the major Early Music festivals throughout the USA, including Boston, Berkeley, Indianapolis, and Madison, as well as on Early Music series, chamber music series, and college series, both in the USA and Canada.
Piffaro has been active in the field of education since its inception, and has been honored twice for its work by Early Music America, receiving the “Early Music Brings History Alive” award in 2003 and the Laurette Goldberg “Lifetime Achievement Award in Early Music Outreach” in 2011.
Recordings are a significant part of the ensemble’s work as well, with eighteen CDs released since 1992, including four on the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon/Archiv Produktion label. Piffaro has released two highly regarded collaborations: in 2005, with the renowned Belgian vocal group, Capilla Flamenca, and second, a work commissioned by Piffaro, Kile Smith’s Vespers, with the Philadelphia chamber choir, The Crossing. The latter CD, released on the PARMA/Navona label in 2009, was received with critical acclaim—“a masterpiece of the deepest kind,” said Audiofile Audition. The most recent project, released in 2012 by PARMA/Navona, is Los Ministriles in the New World, and it has received much celebration from critics and listeners alike.
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