Concert to feature unusual instrument

The pardessus de viol

The pardessus de viol

A unique instrument developed in 18th century France will be featured in a concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20 in St. Scholastica's Mitchell Auditorium.

The concert is titled Fêtes Galantes, or The Little Instrument Invented just for Women that Everyone Wanted to Play: Introducing the Pardessus de Viole.

The instrument originated in 18th century France, when music fans everywhere wanted to play composer Arcangelo Corelli's new violin sonatas. Aristocratic women amateurs were forbidden by custom to hold an instrument on their shoulder, so the pardessus was invented for them. The instrument is a hybrid violin/viola da gamba played on the lap, and its beautiful sound led to an explosion in popularity.

Musicians Tina Chancey, John Mark Rozendaal and Webb Wiggins will celebrate the small but mighty bowed string instruments of the high baroque, and the women who played them. The presentation will feature music by Corelli, Couperin, Forqueray and Leclair, played on pardessus, viol and harpsichord.

Chancey directs Hesperus, a group known for its live early music soundtracks for silent films, and plays viol, kamenj and renaissance fiddle on everything from medieval cantigas to Sephardic tunes, Irish reels and jazz standards. The group has received international acclaim. The pardessus is a particular interest of hers; she received two National Endowment for the Arts grants to perform debut recitals at Carnegie Recital Hall and the Kennedy Center and has recorded four pardessus CDs.

Tickets are $10 general, $5 students, and $5 for St. Scholastica faculty/staff. For more information, contact the Spotlight box office at or 218-723-7000.

The rest of the 2016 Music Department concert schedule includes:

  • O Holy Night with the St. Scholastica Concert Choir, Bella Voce and Women's Choir, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 and 10, St. Michael's Church, 4901 E. Superior St., Duluth
  • CSS Choirs at Home, 7:30 p.m. March 2
  • Still I Rise: Songs of Struggle and Strength with the women's choirs of St. Scholastica and four guest Minnesota colleges, 3:30 p.m. April 8
  • A Cappella Potpourri, with Vocal Revolution, 7:30 p.m. April 21;
  • Island Hopping with the Saints Percussion Ensembles, 7:30 p.m. April 22;
  • Legends and Heroes: Epic music from the St. Scholastica Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. April 25;
  • Spring Serenade with the String Orchestra and Chamber Ensembles, 7:30 p.m. April 27;
  • Equilibrium, with the St. Scholastica choirs, 7:30 p.m. April 28.