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New York Collegium (Vocal & Instrumental Baroque Ensemble)

Founded: 1999 - New York City, New York, USA
Dissolved: 2010


One of the minor mysteries of New York's musical scene has been the absence of a world-class resident period-instrument ensemble. Such groups have long flourished in Boston and San Francisco, not to mention throughout Europe, and they all attract enthusiastic audiences here whenever they come to visit. New York City had, briefly, a home-based period-instrument orchestra a few years earlier - the Classical Band - but despite generous funding, much musical talent in the ranks, and a high-profile early-music specialist from Britain (Trevor Pinnock) on the podium, that whole enterprise soon collapsed. Perhaps the newly formed New York Collegium hoped for better luck -- the initial omens were certainly favorable. The orchestra's president was Michael Feldman, who steered the Orchestra of St. Luke's to prominence more than twenty years earlier; Gustav Leonhardt, a Dutch harpsichordist and conductor who was one of the movement's founding fathers, served as Musical Director; and the musicians, among the city's best freelancers, were all experts in historical performance practices


The New York Collegium was an ensemble of players and singers dedicated to the music of the Baroque era, featuring historically authentic instruments and performance techniques. The artists of The New York Collegium were some of America’s best-known historic music specialists, and were featured performers in concert halls and music festivals throughout the world. The ensemble presented a subscription concert series in Manhattan, performing to a large and enthusiastic audience.

In a few short years, The New York Collegium earned a reputation as one of North America’s very finest baroque bands. Renowned conductor, author, and historian Andrew Parrott had distinguished the work of The Collegium with performances of the highest caliber and programs that connect music making to the social, political, religious and literary milieu of its creation. The ensemble’s players and singers were all specialists in performing in the musical styles of the 17th and 18th centuries; many were pioneers in the field of historically informed performance and have regularly performed in the most prestigious festivals and ensembles in Europe.

The New York Collegium was featured on broadcasts on WNYC New York Public Radio, WGBH in Boston, Colorado Public Radio and on National Public Radio (NPR)'s Performance Today, and made guest appearances at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), The Metropolitan Museum and The Savannah Music Festival. A concert by The New York Collegium was the featured performance to open The Bach Festival of Philadelphia in March 2007.

The Collegium also maintained an innovative teaching residency in New York City public schools, providing recorder, percussion and classical guitar instruction to entire classrooms of 2nd to 8th grade children. Recorder virtuoso Nina Stern, the Director of Education for The New York Collegium, received honors for her educational work, including an Endicott Fellowship in 2003 and the “Early Music Brings History Alive” award from Early Music America in 2005.

Organizers Dissolve the New York Collegium

The New York Collegium, a period-instrument band that sometimes performed with a chorus, acknowledged in a news release signed by two of its directors on Saturday what had become apparent over several seasons: that it would no longer function as an independent entity. The Collegium, whose Web site still lists the English early-music specialist Andrew Parrott as its music director, gave its first concert in early 1999 and performed series through the 2006-2007 season. The name has since surfaced almost solely in connection with an annual workshop, the Clarion-Collegium Week, instituted in 2008 and shared with the Clarion Music Society. That society, founded in 1957 by the period-instrument pioneer Newell Jenkins, who died in 1996, has been revivified under Steven Fox, its artistic director since 2005. The Collegium “will dissolve and continue its legacy under the umbrella” of the Clarion society, the release said. The directors, evidently speaking for the full board, pointed to the Collegium’s successes, but added, “We nevertheless believe that the current economic environment will not support the sustainability of an independent Collegium.” Clarion, they said, has made clear its intention to add several Collegium directors to its board, to continue the Clarion-Collegium Week and to “maintain a relationship” with Andrew Parrott.

Music Directors

Gustav Leonhardt
Christophe Rousset
Andrew Parrott (2001-2010)


Source: Article in New York Magazine (Author: Peter G. Davis); Article in New York Times (Author: James R. Oestreich, September 19, 2010) New York Collegium Website (Version of September 15, 2008 from Internet Archive)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (January 2016)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Paul Goodwin


BWV 244 [2nd, 2001, VHS]

Links to other Sites

New York Collegium (New York Magazine)
Organizers Dissolve the New York Collegium (NY Times)

New York Collegium (Wikipedia)
New York Collegium (Official Website)

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