Praised as “remarkable” and “superb” by the New Yorker, Sonnambula is a historically-informed ensemble that brings to light unknown music for various combinations of early instruments with the lush sound of the viol at the core. In 2019–2020, Sonnambula will make its debut at Early Music Ann Arbor, Houston Early Music, Duke University, Troy Friends of Chamber Music, and the Indianapolis Early Music Festival. Sonnambula holds the position of Ensemble in Residence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2018–2019, where they designed a site-specific series at The Cloisters Museum; the group is the first historically-informed ensemble to hold this position, typically given to a string quartet.
Sonnambula had its début at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s MetLiveArts series in the 2016–2017 season with a landmark performance of the complete works of Leonora Duarte (1610–1678), also the subject of the ensemble’s first CD, recently released on June 7, 2019 with Centaur Records, Inc. The undertaking is a collaboration with Teju Cole, Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Harvard University and photography critic of the New York Times Magazine; recorded in 2016, it is the first complete recording of Duarte’s work.
The group has a strong commitment to education, and has presented interactive masterclasses, lecture/demonstrations, museum programs, and composer workshops at The Frick Collection, The Hispanic Society of America, and Princeton University, where they recently worked with student and faculty composers in the Princeton Sound Kitchen lab to commission new work for old instruments, an effort that culminated in a concert of new music at Princeton in April 2017 and a workshop the year before. The ensemble’s residency at The Hispanic Society of America in the 2017–2018 season included two concerts of work by little-known female composers with ties to the Spanish diaspora; previous concerts at the Hispanic Society have included premieres of 18th-century Cuban sacred works presented by the Cuban Cultural Center of New York; Zarzuela!, a program of Spanish theatrical music of the high Baroque; and a sold-out program of Spanish Golden Age works drawn from the over 450 pieces in the Cancionero Musical de Palacio, a manuscript at the Royal Palace of Madrid.
Sonnambula has also performed on historic instruments at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in previous summers has been a featured both the Amherst and Madison Early Music Festivals, the latter as an ensemble in residence. Other engagements include concerts at Strathmore, Alice Tully Hall, Columbia University, Spectrum, The Museum of Biblical Art, and in numerous other venues throughout the Northeast.