Widely considered to be America’s foremost early music ensemble, the Boston Camerata was founded in 1954. Joel Cohen was the Camerata’s Artistic Director from 1968 to 2008, succeeded in 2008 by Anne Azéma. While maintaining its base in Boston, the Camerata began touring overseas in 1974, and has been heard on four continents and in nineteen countries. In the US, the ensemble has performed at the Tanglewood Festival; New York’s Lincoln Center; The Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. Camerata’s most recent European tours in 2011 brought the ensemble to venues in Finland, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Belgium, as well as a much discussed appearance at the 2011 Boston Early Music Festival. Media appearances by The Boston Camerata have included a nationally syndicated radio series in the US and numerous broadcasts on French, English, Canadian, Dutch, Spanish, Swiss, Norwegian, Swedish and Australian radios. The Boston Camerata’s numerous recordings appear on the Erato, Harmonia Mundi, Nonesuch, Telefunken, and Warner Classics labels. Its recording of Shaker spirituals and chants, Simple Gifts, topped Billboard’s classical charts in 1995 and 1996. The Camerata’s most recent original CD recording, A Mediterranean Christmas (Warner Classics) became an international bestseller in 2005, and the historic 1989 recording of the Tristan and Iseult legend, a recipient of the coveted Grand Prix du Disque, was re-released in 2008. A coordinated series of Americana re-releases by Camerata also appeared on Warner Classics in early 2009.
French-born soprano and scholar Anne Azéma directs The Boston Camerata (2008) and the French ensemble, Aziman (2005). Her appointment as director of the Boston Camerata has been described as “an inspired choice” by Musicalcritiscism.com (UK), and l’Union-Reims (France) praises her “charismatic leadership.” Her current discography of 35 recordings (Grand Prix du Disque) includes five widely acclaimed solo CD recitals. Anne Azéma is a co-founder of the Camerata Mediterranea. She was an artist in residence at the Arsenal of Metz in 2004-7, where she created and directed a major music-and-theatre work, The Night’s Tale. Since assuming the directorship of The Boston Camerata in 2008, she has created a series of new productions acclaimed by press and public alike, including a suite of five new medieval programs presented in celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Reims Cathedral, France this past June. Ms. Azéma tours internationally as a vocal soloist and is in demand as a solo recitalist, presenting her original programs of medieval song to audiences in North America, Europe and Asia. In 2010, Ms. Azéma was named Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government.