San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra has been dedicated to historically informed performance of Baroque, Classical and early-Romantic music on original instruments since its inception in 1981. Under Music Director Nicholas McGegan, Philharmonia was named Musical America’s 2004 Ensemble of the Year, and, according to Los Angeles Times critic Alan Rich, has become “an ensemble for early music as fine as any in the world today.” The Orchestra performs an annual subscription season in four cities in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is regularly heard on tour in United States and internationally. The Orchestra has its own professional chorus, the Philharmonia Chorale, and also welcomes eminent guest conductors to its podium. Members of the Philamonia Baroque Orchestra appeared live, playing authentic period instruments, for Alonzo King’s Irregular Pearl (2007), during the Company’s performances in San Francisco and Victoria, British Columbia.
Roy Whelden, violist da gamba and composer, is considered "a key figure in the world of new music" (Early Music America). He has received commissions for compositions in many diverse musical forms and styles: chamber music, songs cycles and choral works. Some of his compositions have been released on the New Albion label; these include Galax - music for viola da gamba (NA059) and Like a Passing River (NA072). Some recent works include Prelude and Fugue State (2004), a work commissioned by the violist, Hank Dutt, and the harpsichordist, Kathy Perl; and Ma (2005), a song written for the contralto, Karen Clark, and the Galax Quartet (two violins, viola da gamba and cello). Recent projects with the Galax Quartet include a concert with the mathematician and science fiction writer Rudy Rucker and a concert honoring the career of poet Gary Snyder with new works for contralto and string quartet commissioned from an international group of composers. Whelden composed interludes for Alonzo King LINES Ballet’s Irregular Pearl (2007) and performed live with the Company in San Francisco and Victoria, BC.