UC Davis conference will bring 500-year-old music to life

Il divino Cipriano: New Perspectives on the Music of Cipriano de Rore” will be presented by the UC Davis Department of Music in conjunction with the 500th anniversary of the birth of the Flemish composer Cipriano de Rore. The conference and events take place Jan. 13-15 at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

De Rore (1515-1565), one of the most important composers of the mid-16th century, spent his most productive years in Italy writing music for the courts and across Europe. His innovations in harmonic language and in texture created a dramatic and intensely expressive style that was very important for later musical developments.

The conference will gather scholars from around the world to discuss the work of this innovative composer, who was well known in his own time, but little known by most people today.

Free performances by the Orlando Consort, considered one of the world’s best vocal groups performing music composed between 1050 and 1550, and the UC Davis Early Music Ensemble, also are featured. The concerts are free to the public.

  • The Early Music Ensemble will play at noon on Jan. 14.
  • The Orlando Consort will perform at 8 p.m. Jan. 15 to a screening of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s acclaimed silent film “La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc,” kicking off the Mondavi Center’s new film series. Reservations required for Orlando Consort.

The person behind the conference is Jessie Ann Owens, UC Davis music professor and former dean of the College of Letters and Science, Division of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. Owens and the composer go back several decades — she earned her doctorate from Princeton University with a dissertation that explored a lavishly illuminated manuscript of motets by Cipriano de Rore.

“There are a good number of pieces the Orlando Consort will perform here that haven’t been heard since the 16th century,” Owens said. “It’s hard music — as difficult as Beethoven’s late string quartets.”

The performance will include three treatments of “Anchor che col partire,” including one by faculty composer Pablo Ortiz.

Media Resources

Jeffrey Day, College of Letters and Science, 530-219-8258, jaaday@ucdavis.edu

Karen Nikos-Rose, News and Media Relations, UC Davis, 530-219-5472, kmnikos@ucdavis.edu

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