Madrigal Madness

A Masterclass in Vocal Diminution

Wednesday, May 15 at 7:30 pm
Saint Ignatius of Antioch Episcopal Church
552 West End Avenue
New York, NY 10024

ARTEK presents a workshop/masterclass in 16th-century vocal ornamentation. One of the more recent developments in historically informed performance practice is the awareness of vocal improvisation in music (both secular and sacred) of the second half of the 16th century and beginning of the 17th century. Improvisation in this time was focused on the addition of embellishments such as passaggi, or diminutions (turning long notes into many small notes). Many written out examples exist, and workshop leader Christina Kay of ARTEK has mastered the vocal difficulties of this florid style. ARTEK’s workshop will allow singers to try out a piece and receive technical and musical help with negotiating the diminutions. The evening will conclude with audience and participants singing together a historical example of a 4-part embellished madrigal.

Four singers can perform for the class; they will be provided with links to suggested scores and Gwendolyn Toth will accompany (there will be a chance to rehearse before the class starts). Apply to Gwendolyn Toth at to be considered; send a resume and a link to a recording of a pre-1650 vocal piece (solo or ensemble).

Suggested donation is $20 (pay as you are able) to sing or attend as an audience member (at the door on the evening of the workshop). Please register in advance at; both participants and audience will receive materials ahead of the class on vocal ornamentation. Join us for a fun evening!


NYC Cultural Affairs
New York Council on the Arts

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