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Praised for performing intricate fifteenth-century counterpoint “with the ease of jazz musicians improvising on a theme”, Ciaramella brings to life medieval and early Renaissance music from historical events and manuscripts. Its members are united by the conviction that every composition conceals a rich story waiting to be unlocked through historical research and speculative performance. In that spirit, this recording combines written polyphony with reconstructions of folk songs and arrangements based on contemporary improvisation. Founded on a core of wind instruments, shawm, sackbut, recorder, organ, and voice, Ciaramella takes its name from the Italian shawm and from a fifteenth-century song about a beautiful girl whose clothes are full of holes. When she opens her mouth, she knocks men flat.

Ciaramella’s members met as graduate students in Cleveland, Ohio. They first performed together on Christmas Day 2003 in Spoleto, Italy. There they collaborated with the musicologist Gioia Filocamo to perform music from the manuscript Panciatichi 27, much of which had not been heard for centuries. In 2004 the group performed in a staged production of the first Hebrew play, A Comedy of Betrothal by Leone de’ Sommi (c.1550) at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Ciaramella has also performed for the Bloomington Early Music Festival, Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute, the Lute Society of America, and the American Musicological Society in Seattle. Ciaramella was a finalist in the 2003 Flanders Festival International Young Artist’s Presentation and in the 2004 Medieval/Renaissance Early Music America competition in New York.

Role: Ensemble 
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