Press Release: Feast of the Peasant

Feb 6, 2014 | Press Release


Famously extravagant 15thcentury feast re-created through music, texts, and imagery with The Feast of the Pheasant

CHICAGO (January 6, 2014) — The Newberry Consort will present a multi-media concert of the music performed at the famous party thrown by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy in 1454, which promoted a crusade against the Turks. Known for its extravagant entertainments including such exoticisms such as elephants and singing stags, as well a multitude of musicians, the Consort will present written accounts of the feast, contemporary images, and will play music performed at the occasion. Among the Consort’s roster of world-class artists will be renowned violinist Rachel Barton Pine, playing the medieval rebec. This concert series begins Friday, February 7 at 8pm in Ruggles Hall at the Newberry Library. Two more performances will follow on February 8th at Northwestern University’s Lutkin Hall and on February 9th at University of Chicago’s Bond Chapel.

“The Duke, Philip the Good, arranged quite a spectacle for his guests,” says David Douglass, co-director of the consort. Among the entertainments were dragons flying through the hall, backwards-marching horses and an enormous pastry with 24 musicians inside. The inspiration for the program came from the memoirs of people who attended the feast, in particular Olivier de la Marche. “Our presentation will place the music in its social and political context, which will enhance your understanding of the music and what it felt like to be there in that moment,” Douglass says. Audience members will get to see and hear a variety of instruments including viol (David Douglass), rebec (Rachel Barton Pine) vielle, harp (Shira Kammen) lute, psaltery, citole (Mark Rimple) winds, bagpipe, percussion (Tom Zajac) and vocals by soprano Ellen Hargis.

In theme with the concert, Chicago’s Gold Coast French restaurant, Bistrot Zinc is teaming up with the Newberry Consort, offering all concert-goers a special prix fixe menu in the spirit of the Burgundian feast. Audience members are also encouraged to take advantage of the insightful pre-concert lectures, offering an intimate look into the history and context of the works. To purchase tickets to “The Feast of the Pheasant” visit Tickets are $45 Preferred Seating, $35 General in advance, $38 at the door and a special student price of $5 (cash only) at the door with valid student ID.

Performance Details

  • Friday, February 7th, 2014 8pm – Ruggles Hall, Newberry Library , 60 West Walton St. Chicago
  • Saturday, February 8th, 2014 8pm – Lutkin Hall, Northwestern University, 700 University Place, Evanston
  • Sunday, February 9th, 2014 3pm – Bond Chapel, University of Chicago, 1010 East 59th Street, Chicago

Pre-concert lectures start one hour before each performance.

About the Newberry Consort:
Directed by David Douglass, Newberry Musician-in-Residence, and early music diva Ellen Hargis, the Newberry Consort plumbs the Newberry Library’s vast music collection and assembles a star-studded roster of local and international artists to bring you world-class performances of music from the 13th to the 18th centuries…and occasionally beyond! Affiliated with the Newberry Library Center for Renaissance Studies, the Consort also serves as an ensemble-in-residence at both the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. In addition to an annual concert series in Chicago, the Consort has an active touring schedule.

Related Articles