Founded in Boston in 1815, the Handel and Haydn Society is the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the United States. The Society is a renowned period orchestra and professional chorus, performing music of the baroque and classical periods on the instruments and with the techniques of the time in which it was composed. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Harry Christophers, the Society'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."
The Handel and Haydn Society has an esteemed tradition of innovation and excellence, which began in the 19th century with the American premieres of Handel's Messiah (1818), Haydn's The Creation (1819), Verdi's Requiem (1878), and Bach's Mass in B-Minor (1887) and St. Matthew Passion (1889). More recently, the Society premiered Randall Thompson's Passion According to St. Luke (1965)—commissioned for the Society's 150th anniversary—Daniel Pinkham's Garden Party (1977), Daniel Welcher's Oratorio for Peace (1999), Sir John Tavener's Lamentations and Praises (2002), and Thomas Vignieri's Fanfare of Voices (2009), commissioned by the Society in honor of the 250th anniversary of Handel's death. In the last 20 years, Handel and Haydn has given important historical performances of core repertoire, and has intro¬duced such innovative programs as jazz/baroque crossover concerts, staged opera with dance, and narrative set to music, to great critical and audience acclaim.
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