About Bitterroot Baroque
Bitterroot Baroque was founded in 2015 to help foster cultural enrichment through activities involving historically informed early music in Ravalli County and the State of Montana. The non-profit organization presents exciting concerts in and around the Bitterroot and Missoula, given by dedicated and innovative professional musicians and ensembles from across the country, representing the best in period instrument performance. Recent visiting ensembles have included Diderot String Quartet, Dark Horse Consort, Les Délices, Musica Pacifica, sound|counterpoint, and Agave Baroque with Reginald Mobley. While in Montana, musicians give workshops, teach master classes and private lessons, coach ensembles, and present interactive programs to school-age students at Hamilton, Corvallis, and Missoula public schools as well as to the community in unusual places like Rocky Mountain Labs and Sapphire Lutheran Homes. Bitterroot Baroque also helps create performance opportunities for community members and facilitates early music collaborations throughout the state of Montana, including through the use of their instrument collection of harpsichords, string instruments and bows, and their newly purchased chamber organ.
To foster cultural enrichment of Ravalli County and the State of Montana through activities involving historically informed early music played mostly on period instruments.
To present exciting concerts by dedicated and innovative professional musicians and ensembles representing the best in period instrument performance.
To have visiting musicians give workshops, teach master classes, private lessons and coach ensembles.
To present interactive programs to school-age students to generate enthusiasm for playing early music.
To create performance opportunities for community members.
To facilitate early music collaborations throughout the state of Montana.
We are often asked what is meant by the term "Baroque", so a bit of explanation... Baroque simply refers to a period of musical history, roughly 1600 to 1760, which is sandwiched between the Renaissance and Classical periods. It is safe to say that everyone has some familiarity with Baroque music, if only by way of knowing Händel's Messiah, Bach's Goldberg Variations, Pachelbel's Canon, or Vivaldi's Four Seasons. But there is so much more of an astoundingly good quality and it is our purpose to bring it here for your appreciation.
And why this emphasis on period instruments and what are they anyway? Quite simply they are the instruments for which this music was written. They give it a unique, rich, exciting sound that makes hearing early music deeply satisfying and rewarding. Part of the contribution of period instruments is sound color--nothing sounds as rich and woody as a Baroque oboe; nothing can punctuate a phrase with the authority of a deep bass note plucked on a theorbo and there is no modern equivalent to the attack and crystalline tone of a recorder. But there is also the stylishness, agility, and unmatched expressive sensitivity found in instruments using gut strings and light, super-fast Baroque bows.
It all adds up to a delightful, beautiful wash of sound that can't be achieved any other way. Furthermore period instruments are a natural platform for inventive ornamentation and improvisation which makes each performance fresh and individual. And their lighter character makes them more suited for homes and smaller halls, giving audiences a welcome intimacy that is usually lost in huge venues.
For Visiting Musicians
You know you want to come to Montana! For the scenic beauty. For the recreation. For the unspoiled audiences, not jaded by a surfeit of similar performances. And the Bitterroot Valley is one great place in Montana. We are nestled up against the great Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness with hiking and fishing and backpacking in over a dozen easily accessible canyons. Floating and fishing on the Bitterroot River itself is very popular. In winter we have amazing cross country skiing with over 20 miles of groomed trails and affordable deep powder downhill skiing. We are home to one of Montana's IBAs (important bird areas) and the birdwatching is always good. And if you are a hunter, contact Montana's FWP to see about seasons and tags and maybe you'll return home with your own elk!