Ensemble Soleil




 “Arts of the Gentry

in the Shakespeare Years”



A Performance Art Event including live music of the

Renaissance and Baroque, multiple images

on large screens, and narration


March 1999

at Sawyer Arts Center

Colby-Sawyer College

with additional performances at the

Unitarian Church, Montpelier, VT


Contois Auditorium, Burlington, VT




A project of

Ensemble Soleil with Colby-Sawyer College,

New  Hampshire Humanities Council,

and New Hampshire State Council on the Arts



Music: Playford                       The Shaking of the Sheets                                     

Screen: Fete at Bermondsey



Act 1, Scene 1  Springtime


Quote:              “All the world’s a stage…”                                               As You Like It

Music:              Morley              It was a Lover and His Lass       

Quote:              “Come, more; another stanzo: call you ‘em stanzos?”       As You Like It

Music:              Dowland            Can She Excuse / Earl of Essex (for lute)

Earl of Essex Measure / Byrd, Queen’s Alman     

First Narration:   The Elizabethan era – a short introduction. 

Music:              Henry VIII          If Love Now Reigned                              

Screen:             Portrait of the Earl of Essex

Music:              short reprise      Earl of Essex      lute



Act 1, Scene 2  Sensuality


Music:              Byrd                 Passamezzo Pavanne    harpsichord, dancers

Second Narration:   Elizabeth I in her youth

Screen: Elizabeth I Before Parliament

                        Queen Elizabeth being carried in Procession

Quote:              “If music be the food of love ….”                           Twelfth Night 

Music: Lupo                 Viol Fantasia    

Screen: Couple dancing the galliard

Quote:              “What is thy excellence in a galliard, knight….”    Twelfth Night

Music:              Dowland            Frog Galliard      dance              



Act 1, Scene 3  Ballads and Folk Songs


Screen: Engraving of Robert Dudley by Robert Vaughn (ca.1625)

                        Courtier and his lady

                        Costumes from the times of James I (playing cards, eating dinner)

Music:              anon                 Robin is to the Greenwood Gone

                        Cornysh                        Ah Robin, Gentle Robin             

                        Thomas Simpson           Bonny Sweet Robin

Screen: Play in a courtyard

                        Jeremiah Clarke Cibell                comic, three legged dance

Screen: Elizabeth I playing the lute (miniature)  and lute reprise



Act 2, Scene 1  Treachery and Death


Screen:             Elizabeth I (1588) Armada portrait

                                    Armada print by Pine

Third Narration:   Politics of the Elizabethan era relative to France and Spain

Music:              Byrd     The Marche before the Battell     harpsichord

                        Tye       Crie                             

Screen:             Sir Henry Unton’s Funeral

Music:              Dowland            Sir Henry Unton’s Funeral

Fourth Narration:  Elizabethans, melancholy and Shakespeare on death

Quote:              (Desdemona)  “oh willow…”                              Othello

 Music:             J. Cutts (ed)      Willow song                  

                                                Greensleeves    violin solo



Act 2, Scene 2  Rustic England


Screen:             Musicians and actors outdoors  (Dutch)

                        An outdoor play with musicians (Italian)

Music:              Greene Sleeves and Packington’s pound

Quotes:             “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind….”         

                          “Come now; what masques, what dances shall we have…                                                                 

               Midsummer Night’s Dream

Screen:             woodcut of Will Kemp

                        Cottswold Games

Music:              Playford                        Kemp’s Jig        canario



Act 2, Scene 3  Peddling, Street Cries


Screen:             Period engravings, Globe Theatre, Visscher’s London

                        Bust of Shakespeare, Frontispiece engraving

Music:              Playford                        Jog On  

Fifth Narration:   Shakespeare’s plays, Globe Theater, London at 1600

Music               Ravenscroft       New Oysters                             

                        Byrd                 La Volta                        dance




Screen:             Visscher’s map of London (1616)

Music:              Dowland            Fine Knacks for Ladies 


Curtain Calls

Credits:    from The Triumph of Maximilian by Hans Burgkmair and others                                                                          




Biographies of Key Project Personnel


Peter Tourin, Project Director


Peter Tourin has a career that spans many areas of music and technology.  He has a B.S. from the University of Michigan, and did graduate work at Yale University in History of Music.  He studied harpsichord making with the international expert Frank Hubbard, and lute and viola da gamba making with the outstanding American builder J. Donald Warnock.


Mr. Tourin has an international reputation as a musical instrument maker and as a researcher in the acoustics and history of the viola da gamba.  As a member of the Tourin Musica, a family business in Duxbury and Jericho Center, Vermont, he made over 100 viols from 1972 to 1990.  He published "A Comprehensive Catalogue of Historical Viole da Gamba in Public and Private Collections" in 1979, which he researched with the help of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Mr. Tourin is a well-known performer on the viol, and has been a member of the Boston Viol consort and the Oberlin Consort of viols, with whom he can be heard on CD.   He is a founding member and co-director of Ensemble Soleil.  He also performs in the folk and popular genres.


On the technology side, Mr. Tourin has worked with computers since the early ‘60’s.  He is a computer software designer and programmer, working on such diverse projects as a laptop-based sheet metal estimation system, a data logging system for hydroelectric sites, and an inventory control system for ROTC schools. 

In the area of music, Mr. Tourin developed a $42,000 recording project for the Viola da Gamba Society of America for which he directed the recording and production of a 3-CD series of viol music.  He has also had experience in sound reinforcement.  He has developed several slide shows for musical instrument exhibitions.



Jean Sawyer Twombly, Artistic Director


Jean Sawyer Twombly, a Master’s graduate in Early Music Performance from the Longy School of Music, Cambridge, Massachusetts, specializes in Baroque violin and treble viol.  She is a founding member and co-director of Ensemble Soleil.  She led the ensemble on their 1996 and 1997 appearances on WGBH radio’s “Classical Performances” and 1997 appearance on "Morning Pro Musica" with Robert J. Lurtsema.  She performs regularly on period and modern instruments with several New England chamber orchestras.


An active free-lance violinist and member of Boston Musicians’ Association,

Ms. Twombly has performed with oratorio societies and community theater groups in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.  She has led performances of large choral works such as Handel's Messiah and Haydn's "Lord Nelson" Mass, as well as played principal violin for many stage shows. 


Ms. Twombly is a member of the Fine and Performing Arts faculty of Colby-Sawyer College, New London, New Hampshire, where she has taught violin and viola since 1985 and in recent semesters, a music survey elective.  A member of American String Teachers, Early Music America, and the Viola da Gamba Society of America, she is presently a board member of the Boston area early music concert organization, the Society for Historically Informed Performance. 


Ms. Twombly has lived in New London and maintained a private teaching studio there since 1983.  She is a past president of the board of Summer Music Associates, New London’s community concert series.


Donald A. Beecher, PhD., Advisor on Humanities, Narrator


Donald Beecher has had a lifelong passion for Renaissance studies.  He is a professor of English at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, where he has taught since 1967.    He has received many professional honours  including fellowships for study in Birmingham, England and Montpellier, France.  He was past President of the Canadian society for Renaissance Studies and is present Director of the Barnabe Riche Society.


Professor Beecher is the editor of 11 books on a variety of Renaissance topics.  As publisher of Dovehouse Editions, he produced 55 performing editions of Renaissance & Baroque music for viola da gamba, which are highly regarded in the early music field.  He has had many editorial responsibilities, and has edited numerous scholarly critical editions.


He has organized and directed more than a dozen conferences, many of them international, such as Parallel Lives: Spanish and English National Drama, 1580-1680 at the University of Calgary and Eros and Anteros: Eroticism and the Medical Traditions of Love in the Renaissance at Carleton University.  He is a performing musician on viola da gamba and has participated in several recordings.  He has been  the organizer and director of many music concerts and workshops and is the recipient of over 50 research grants. Professor Beecher has been involved in iconographical research and slide preparation in the development of several programs for public television.


Professor Beecher’s current research interests are Elizabethan prose fiction and scholarly editing, the literary origins of the texts of Handel’s English oratorios, and Renaissance Aesthetics.  As our humanist advisor, he has  researched and written the narrative portions of tonight’s program.


Maris Wolff (dancer) received her training in New York City at the School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre School and Harkness House for Ballet Arts.  Maris has studied many modern dance techniques as well as composition, improvisation and jazz, tap, and folk dance and has pursued special studies in Renaissance and Baroque dance.  Her professional credits include solos with Milwaukee Ballet and Ballet Repertory, and she has performed as an independent artist throughout North America, Europe, England and Africa.  She is currently Professor of Dance at Johnson State College, Johnson, Vermont, where she has received several faculty development grants as well as Distinguished Faculty of the Year award in 1988.


Bruce Roberts (dancer) began studying Renaissance and Baroque dance some 20 years ago.  He performs with the Cambridge Court Dancers, a Boston-based group devoted to the reconstruction of 15th and 16th century court dance as well as with Les Menu Plaisirs, an 18th century dance company, and with the widely-known Ken Pierce Baroque Dance Company of Cambridge, Massachusetts.  He has studied early dance with Margaret Daniels, Wendy Hilton, Charles Garth, Ingrid Brainard, and Ken Pierce.  Bruce has performed throughout the United States and in Canada, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.





Guest Artists


Peter Lehman (lute) received a Bachelor's degree from Ithaca College School of Music and a Master of Music from New England Conservatory, later studying at the Schola Cantorum in Basel, Switzerland with Hopkinson Smith and Eugen Dombois.  He has performed with Castle Hill Festival, Tafelmusik Choir, Baroque Music Beside the Grange, Ayers, and recorded on the EBS label.  Peter performs regularly with Ensemble Soleil on plucked instruments and has been featured in such diverse repertoire as the guitar music of Mauro Giuliani, the lute solos of Francesco da Milano and French and Italian music for ensemble with theorbo.


Lawrence Lipnik (countertenor and viol) is well known to audiences world-wide through his regular appearances as soloist with the Waverly Consort.  His love of chamber music has brought him numerous engagements with many ensembles including Anonymous 4, The New York Consort of Viols, ARTEK, S.E.M. Ensemble, Ex Umbris, and Parthenia.  He is a founding member of the vocal ensemble Lionheart, as well as Crystal Radio, a contemporary music trio; and is a frequent collaborator with video artist William Wegman.  Adept in many styles, he recently sang the New York premier of Arvo Part’s Stabat Mater with the Virgin Consort and the world premier of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Angel Voices of Men.  He has recorded on EMI/Angel, Musical Heritage Society, Classic Masters, Sony, Newport Classics, Lyrichord, and Discobi. 


Kevin Bushee, (violin) a well-known Vermont violinist performing with period and modern instrument ensembles, was a founding member and artistic director of The Governor’s Musick ensemble in residence at Colonial Williamsburg.  He has been heard on NPR and on APR’s “Performance Today” and has recorded for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and Gasparo labels.  Currently a free-lance artist living in Montpelier, he studied at Bennington College, Boston University, New England Conservatory, the Tanglewood Institute, and Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute.  Kevin has worked with leading violinists, including Jaap Schroeder, Marilyn MacDonald, Jerome Rosen, and Lilo Glick. 


Lynnette Combs (harpsichord) performs with a number of diverse Vermont ensembles,  theater groups and choruses.  She is accompanist for Onion River Chorus, VSO Chorus, Barre Choraleers, Northeast Kingdom Chorus, Unadilla Theatre and Adamant Music School.   As a member of the Bayley-Hazen singers and Anima, she regularly performs Early Music, and as a post-graduate student, she performed with the Center for Old Music in the New World.  She received her music degree in organ performance from Swathmore College.


Jill Levis (soprano) is among the best known of Vermont’s vocalists and has appeared in local festivals for over 20 years.  She has appeared as soloist and on recordings with the Vermont Mozart Festival, Musica Propria, The Oriana Singers, and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.  She is a core member of the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble.  In 1993 she was awarded a Musical Artists Fellowship from the Vermont Council on the Arts and in 1994 released a recording of her favorite music by women composers called Music of Her Own.  Jill maintains a teaching studio in Burlington, Vermont and has helped launch numerous singers on their careers.


A special note of thanks to Don Coonley whose encouragement and sound advice helped us launch this project; to Diane Parsons, Ted Jerome and Skip Tannen for their technical expertise and support; to Assistant Curator Emmy Norris of Harvard's Busch-Reisinger Museum for art research assistance; to John Denny and Norman Leger for advice on staging, and to Patricia Denny and Steve Zind for their excellent public announcements.