Jeannette Sorrell, critically acclaimed for her fresh and lively approach to baroque music, brings to the stage an unusual background as both orchestral conductor and early music performer. As a harpsichordist, she studied with Lisa Crawford and Gustav Leonhardt, and took the First Prize in the Baroque Music Competition in 1989 (a North American Competition for early music performers.) She went on to win both the First Prize and the Audience Choice Award in the Spivey International Harpsichord Competition in 1991 (competing against over 70 contestants from Europe, Japan, North America, and the Soviet Union.) Upon receiving an Artist Diploma in harpsichord from Oberlin Conservatory in 1990, she was immediately invited to join the faculty of the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute, where she taught from 1990 to 1994. As a recitalist she has performed throughout the USA as well as France and the Netherlands. Most recently she appeared as concerto soloist with the Ohio Chamber Orchestra at Severance Hall.
As a conductor, Jeannette Sorrell studied at the Tanglewood Music Festival and the Aspen Music Festival, where she was a conducting fellow in 1990. At Tanglewood she studied under Roger Norrington and Leonard Bernstein. Her performance of Schubert's Unfinished Symphony with the Oberlin Conservatory Orchestra in 1990 was selected and broadcast by National Public Radio as one of the "outstanding performances of the year." Her 1997 benefit performance of the Mozart Requiem with members of the Cleveland Orchestra was met with a standing ovation and critical acclaim. Guest conducting engagements this season include the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston.
Jeannette Sorrell is Music Director of Apollo's Fire, The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, which she founded in 1992. With Apollo's Fire she tours throughout North America, records for Eclectra records, and has been featured on numerous national and international broadcasts by National Public Radio, European Community Radio, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Jeannette Sorrell's recordings include George Frideric Handel's Messiah, Monteverdi's Vespers, Noels and Carols from the Olde World, J.S. Bach's St. John Passion (BWV 245) (sung in English), the complete Brandenburg concerti, and Monteverdi's L'Orfeo (sung in English). Her 1999 recording of Monteverdi's Vespers with Apollo's Fire was hailed as "a stunning achievement; far superior to William Christie's version and other recent versions" by Fanfare magazine.
Jeannette Sorrell is the winner of the 1994 Erin Body Award, given annually to the outstanding young performer in early music. Together with Apollo's Fire, she is the recipient of the 1995 Noah Greenberg Award from the American Musicological Society, given for the outstanding scholarly and artistic projet. She was also the recipient of a prestigious National Merit Scholarship in 1982.