Founded in Boston in 1815, the HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY (H&H) is considered America’s oldest continuously performing arts organization and will celebrate its Bicentennial in 2015. Its professional Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus are internationally recognized in the field of Historically Informed Performance, using the instruments and techniques of the composer’s time. Under Artistic Director Harry Christophers’ leadership, H&H’s mission is to perform Baroque and Classical music at the highest levels of artistic excellence and to share that music with as large and diverse an audience as possible.
H&H’s esteemed tradition of innovation and excellence began in the 19th century with the US premieres of Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s The Creation, Verdi’s Requiem, and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. For forty years, it has been under the directorship of leading period conductors Thomas Dunn, Christopher Hogwood, Grant Llewellyn, Roger Norrington (advisor), and Harry Christophers (since 2009).H&H is widely known through its concert series, tours, local and national broadcasts, and recordings. Its annual nine-program series, held at Symphony and Jordan Halls in Boston and Sanders Theatre in Cambridge, reaches audiences from throughout New England. H&H made its European debut in 1996 at the Edinburgh International Festival; recent tours have taken H&H to the Haydn Festival in Esterházy, Austria, and to the BBC Proms Festival, London, which theLondon Telegraph named one of the top musical events of 2007.
Over the past 20 years, H&H has presented interdisciplinary programs featuring dance, opera, jazz, and theater; collaborators have included the Mark Morris Dance Group, Dave Brubeck, and David McCullough. H&H won a Grammy award for its recording of Tavener’s Lamentations and Praises, co-commissioned with Chanticleer, and in 2005, its recordings All is Bright and Peace were in the Top Ten on the Billboard classical music chart together. Its first recording with Harry Christophers, Mozart Mass in C Minor, was issued in 2010 on the CORO label, followed by Mozart Requiem in 2011 and Mozart Coronation Mass in 2012. Established in 1985, H&H’s award-winning Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program reaches 10,000 students each year throughout Greater Boston, many in underserved communities. H&H also maintains partnerships with area cultural and higher education institutions, including Boston Public Library; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; MIT; New England Conservatory; and Harvard University.