In the spring of 1962 Ampex engineer William Barnhart invited some of his fellow recorder players to a day of music making in the woods of Huddart Park. About one hundred and fifty people showed up. Encouraged by this turnout, Bill decided to form an ensemble in the Palo Alto area devoted to exploring the musical repertoire for recorders and other early instruments. The first meeting of this ensemble took place in the fall of 1962, and the Mid-Peninsula recorder Orchestra was born.
When Bill Barnhart left the Bay Area in 1967, Angela Owen took over as Music Director and President from 1967 until 1987. A Board of Directors was established and the orchestra developed close ties with the Palo Alto Division of Arts and Culture, giving annual performances under the city's auspices at the Palo Alto Cultural Center.
From its inception the orchestra hs had close ties with Stanford University, the City of Palo Alto and the surrounding communities, first through the pioneering effors and leadership of Bill Barnhart and his wife, Ilse, and then under the very capable direction and organization of Angela Owen. During its early years the orchestra appeared on Public Television station KQED, performed at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, gave several concerts in collaboration with the City of Palo Alto, and presented workshops directed by LaNoue Davenport, Friedrich von Huene, Hans Ulrich Staeps and George Houle. The orchestra has also commissioned or presented premiere performances of works by several local composers and has appeared regularly at local community centers.
Frederic Palmer Directs Members of the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra
Photo courtesy of Kris Lieb, 1992
In 1994, Under the leadership of then MPRO Board President Diana Fischer, the MPRO applied for and received affiliate status with the San Francisco Early Music Society (SFEMS). This move not only provided for greater exposure of the orchestra to the Early Music community of the Bay Area, but also allowed for adoption of non-profit status thru SFEMS.
The orchestra continues to have close ties both with SFEMS, and more recently the American Recorder Society (ARS). In June 1999 the orchestra was invited to perform at the Berkeley Early Music Festival, as the featured entertainment for the reception given by the American Recorder Society. In July of 1999 the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra became an official ARS Consort. The 1999 season also saw the world permiere of an original piece of music composed for the MPRO by Mari Canfield-Kermit, entitled Aboriginal Wind, at the orchestra's Spring Concert.
|October 15, 1988||Andrea Gabrieli's Missa Brevis||Frederic Palmer and
Dr. David Stein
|October 14, 1989||The Franco-Flemish Music of Josquin des Près and His Contemporaries||Marilyn Boenau|
|October 19, 1991||Exploring Bach's Art of the Fugue||Ken Johnson|
|February 1, 1992||Off the Beaten Track -- the Freedom of Rhythm in Renaissance Music||John Tyson|
|October 31, 1992||Parlamenti Musicali -- Music of the Italian Renaissance and Baroque
Also a session on recorder repair
|February 6, 1993||Playing Renaissance Double Reed or Brass Instruments||Robert Dawson|
|October 16, 1993||Exploring the Sounds of Medieval Europe||Shira Kammen|
|January 29, 1994||A Panorama of German Ensemble Music||Peter Seibert|
|October 15, 1994||Courtly Entertainments: The Jacobean Masque||Eileen Hadidian|
|January 21, 1995||The Expressive Recorder||John Tyson|
|October 28, 1995||Recorders, Krummhorns and Beyond||Joanna Bramel Young|
|January 27, 1996||Reading, Writing and Rhythm -- Reading Sixteenth-century Musical Notation||John Tyson|
|October 26, 1996||The Flowering of the English Renaissance from Parsley to Purcell||Judith Linsenberg|
|October 11, 1997||Exploring the Choral Music of J.S. Bach||Roger Morris|
|January 24, 1998||The Art of Playing Vocal Music Expressively||Martha Bixler|
|October 10, 1998||Exploring the Music of Sixteenth-Century Spain||Mark Davenport|
|January 30, 1999||Instrumental Music of the Early German Baroque,
The Suites of Posch, Peuerl and Scheidt
|November 13, 1999||Music of the French Baroque||John Tyson|
|January 22, 2000||Exploring the Sacred and Secular Music of Heinrich Isaac||Hanneke van Proosdij|
|October 28, 2000||The Music of Peter Philips and His Contemporaries||Frances Blaker|
|January 20, 2001||The Instrumental Music of Schein, Scheidt and Muffat||Kim Pineda|
|November 10, 2001||Old Wine in New Bottles||Shelley Gruskin|
|January 26, 2002||The Splendor of Venice||Letitia Berlin|
|October 26, 2002||Italians as Innovators of Musical Expressions||Frances Feldon|
|January 25, 2003||The Swing of Latin Music through the Centuries||Clea Galhano|
|October 18, 2003||The Recorder Orchestra Experience||Ken Andresen|
|January 10, 2004||Auld Lang Syne: The End of the Renaissance---Prima prattica vs. Seconda prattica---the Old and the New||Judy Linsenberg|
|October 23, 2004||Reading Between the Notes||Tom Bickley|
|January 29, 2005||Getting to the Heart of the Matter… Making the Music Come Alive||Vicki Boekman|
|October 22, 2005||The Wedding of Duke Wilhelm V of Bavaria and Renée of Lorraine||Cindy Beitmen|
|January 28, 2006||A Golden Century of Polish Music: 1530 - 1630||Tom Zajac|