“an energized, free-spirited group” (Early Music America Magazine, Fall 2014)
Agave Baroque is “an energized, free-spirited group” (Early Music America Magazine, Fall 2014), based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and specializing in string chamber music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Agave has received numerous awards and accolades and gained local and national attention for its “rapturous music,” “brilliant… profound playing” (EMA Magazine), and growing discography. Now in its ninth season, Agave continues its fruitful affiliations with star countertenor Reginald Mobley, San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and Marin Baroque, and continues to be a unique and innovative voice in the chamber music community nationally.
During its initial season, Agave was selected by Early Music America to perform in a showcase concert at the APAP Convention in New York. In 2009, The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles commissioned Cold Genius: The music of Henry Purcell, which Agave premiered at the MJT in 2010, and subsequently recorded. In 2011, EMA selected Agave Baroque as one of five finalists in the NAXOS/EMA Recording Competition. In 2012, the San Francisco Early Music Society chose Agave to present a main stage concert on the 2012 Berkeley Early Music Festival, about which Early Music America Magazine said, “Rapturous music and impressive playing…[Agave Baroque] kept the audience entranced.” Later in 2012, EMA selected Agave to compete in New York as one of six finalists at their Baroque Performance Competition. Agave received a generous grant from the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music to record Friends of Ferdinand, which VGo Recordings released in 2013. For the 2014-15 season, Agave became an ensemble in residence at the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music/Presidio Trust’s new concert series Presidio Sessions, collaborated with Los Angeles new music concert series Jacaranda: music at the edge, and embarked on a Southeastern US tour with Reginald Mobley.
In 2015, Agave released Queen of Heaven: music of Isabella Leonarda, their first of two CDs with Mr. Mobley, a countertenor “destined to make his mark in the early music world” (-Chicago Tribune). In 2016, Mr. Mobley and Agave collaborated on a second album, Peace in Our Time whose upcoming release will mark the 400th anniversary of the start of the Thirty Years’ War, when conflict and The Plague ravaged much of Europe. The album features sublime, heartfelt music, which brought people above the conflict and provided much needed comfort and expression of sorrow.
Agave Baroque has performed to sold-out crowds throughout the Bay Area, including Barefoot Chamber Concerts, Chamber Music Day, Chattanooga Chamber Music, Old First Concerts, Sonoma Bach, MSRI, and Trinity Chamber Concerts, as well as at Fresno City College, Fresno Pacific University, the Museum of Jurassic Technology, Jacaranda, The Arizona Early Music Society, Seattle Early Music Guild, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Appalachian State University, and the Berkeley Early Music Festival. On-air appearances include KPFK Pacifica Radio in Los Angeles, WDAV (North Carolina), New Mexico Public Radio, as well as several features on NPR’s Harmonia early music radio program. Agave Baroque has also presented two programs to groups of K-12 educators as part of the San Francisco Symphony’s “Keeping Score” program.
Agave Baroque’s core lineup features phenomenal countertenor soloist Reginald Mobley on several programs and two albums (one upcoming), along with Aaron Westman and Natalie Carducci, baroque violins; William Skeen, baroque cello and viola da gamba; Kevin Cooper, baroque guitar and theorbo; and Henry Lebedinsky, harpsichord and organ. They are joined regularly by Anna Washburn and Katherine Kyme on baroque violin and viola, and Gretchen Claassen on baroque cello.