Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State
Musicians wearing black pose in a large group with their instruments.

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra


Tafelmusik is German for “table music” or “music for the feast.” It’s an apt moniker for Toronto’s Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, which has produced a feast of firsts and bests in the music world. The award-winning ensemble, created in 1979, performs historically informed musical experiences on period instruments. Through extensive tours, renowned recordings, TV broadcasts, and new media initiatives, Tafelmusik is one of the most prolific orchestras on the planet. In 2012, the orchestra started an independent label, Tafelmusik Media, which includes new digital, live performance, studio CD and DVD recordings, and re-releases of previous Tafelmusik recordings from Sony Classical and CBC Records. Jeanne Lamon has guided the ensemble since 1981, but in 2014, after a remarkable thirty-three seasons at the helm, she’s stepping down as full-time music director.

Artist website: Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

1Project Events

Honors Dinner with Alison Mackay

5:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 4
The Tavern Restaurant
Not open to the public

Alison Mackay, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra bassist and creator of The Galileo Project: Music of the Spheres, engages with Penn State Schreyer Honors College students during a dinner that gives the scholars an opportunity to talk about the project and ask questions.

The Galileo Project and Astronomy

8 p.m. Tuesday, November 4
100 Life Sciences Building

The public is invited to participate in a discussion, featuring Tafelmusik bassist Alison Mackay and Penn State Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics senior lecturer Chris Palma, about Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra’s The Galileo Project: Music of the Spheres. Mackay speaks about the project’s development and imagery. She also shares musical excerpts from the project. Palma puts the project into historical context and compares the scientific achievements of Galileo’s time with today’s accomplishments. The one-hour event includes, weather permitting, an optional observation of the stars.

A Conversation with the Committee for Early Modern Studies

11 a.m. Wednesday, November 5
121 Borland Building

The public is invited to observe as Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra’s Alison Mackay engages in an informal conversation with student members of Penn State’s Committee for Early Modern Studies. Topics for the one-hour conversation include Tafelmusik’s The Galileo Project: Music of the Spheres and other works.

Oboe Master Class

11 a.m. Wednesday, November 5
128 Music Building II

The public is welcome to observe as Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra oboist John Abberger works with Penn State School of Music oboe students. Associate Professor Tim Hurtz hosts the 60-minute master class.

Music 261 Class Visit by Jeanne Lamon

11:15 a.m. Wednesday, November 5
110 Music Building I

The public is invited to hear Jeanne Lamon, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra music director, speak to students in a Survey on Music History course. Marica Tacconi, Penn State professor of musicology, hosts the 50-minute class.

Violin Master Class

1 p.m. Wednesday, November 5
Music Building I’s Esber Recital Hall

The public is invited to observe as Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra violinist Julia Wedman works with Penn State School of Music strings students. School of Music Professor James Lyon hosts the 90-minute master class.

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra Rehearsal

3 p.m. Wednesday, November 5
Schwab Auditorium
Not open to the public

Selected Penn State School of Music students are invited to observe Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra rehearse for its public performance of The Galileo Project: Music of the Spheres.

The Galileo Project:
Music of the Spheres
Jeanne Lamon, music director

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Schwab Auditorium

Explore the fusion of art, science, and culture in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in an imaginative concert commemorating Galileo’s first public demonstration of the telescope. Tafelmusik performs the timeless music by memory before a backdrop of high-definition images from the Hubble telescope and Canadian astronomers. Conceived, scripted, and programmed by Tafelmusik double bassist Alison Mackay, creator of the House of Dreams program performed at Schwab Auditorium in 2013, The Galileo Project features poetic narration, choreography, and music by Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, and others. “The program was one of the best I’ve seen in years—a celebration of reason and imagination, whether in art, science, or the world of ideas,” raves a reviewer for the Kansas City Star. “The narration incorporated texts by and about Galileo and Newton, poetry by Ovid and Shakespeare, and modern commentary; and a stream of colorful astronomical images were projected onto a round screen, as if viewed through a giant telescope,” recounts a New York Times critic. “… That the musical performance, through it all, was of the highest order hardly needs saying. … The bursts of virtuosity were too widespread and numerous to list.”

Download program notes

Adult $42  |  University Park Student $19  |  18 and Younger $32

Buy Tickets

Complimentary round-trip shuttle service is provided between the Eisenhower Parking Deck and Schwab. Board the shuttle in the area between the parking deck and the Eisenhower Auditorium rear loading dock. The first shuttle leaves Eisenhower at 6:05 p.m., followed by others every twenty minutes until 7:05 p.m. After the concert, the shuttle makes as many trips as necessary to return riders to Eisenhower.


Gay D. Dunne and James H. Dunne

media sponsor


Artistic Viewpoints

Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring Tafelmusik double bassist Alison Mackay, creator of The Galileo Project, is offered in Schwab one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders.

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