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ABOUT Ensemble Perihipsous


Ensemble Perihipsous is a professional “period” orchestra in Rochester, NY, that performs musical works composed between 1750 and 1850, on instruments similar to those used during that period, and following the precepts of “historically informed performance” (HIP).  Along with the orchestral repertoire, Ensemble Perihipsous collaborates with scholars, artists, and other performers from the area to explore the exciting and varied art and culture from the decades surrounding 1800, in an integrated, enlightening, and uplifting fashion.     


Peri hypsous (Περι yψοuς)—On the Sublime—is a first-century treatise attributed to Longinus that recognized an aesthetic principle, called “sublime” in English, whereby words could be used to induce an uplifting or transcendence beyond the self. Longinus’s treatise became influential to aesthetic philosophers such as Burke, Schiller, and Kant, during the Enlightenment and early years of the Romantic Era, who suggested that such sublime transcendence was achievable through the broader arts. “The Sublime” took its place alongside “The Beautiful” as a related but distinct artistic goal, and as a topic for discussion and discovery in the salons of Europe’s major cities.  The associations of pleasure, wonder, and bewilderment with the sublime, and achievable through the arts, influenced the great composers of the era such as Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Mendelssohn, and their contemporaries in the other arts: Goethe, Schiller, David, Friedrich, Delacroix, and Goya, to name a few.    


As Rochester’s only professional period orchestra, Ensemble Perihipsous seeks to broaden the knowledge and experience of the Rochester music and arts lover in ways other groups are not designed to fulfill. Ensemble Perihipsous offers performances, salons, and other educational events to the community that encourage the exploration of music, art, and culture from the decades surrounding 1800, when the ideal of The Sublime was emerging as a dominant artistic principle. Our programs couple works by well-known composers with related lesser-known works and composers, including pieces not performed in over 200 years. We also collaborate with experts in poetry, theatre, visual arts, and film to broaden the cultural-historical context of our music. Our attention to historical instruments and performing techniques, and the combination of the standard repertoire with lesser known works, and with other artistic expressions, provides new insight into well-known music, introduces marvelous music not heard before, and opens minds up to the wonderful ideas from the exciting times that surrounded the turn of the 19th century. Ensemble Perihipsous strives to entertain with sublime beauty, revealing its historical context, and so enlighten and uplift our audience in mind and spirit.

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