News – Musica Matrix Renaissance Music in Southern Oregon Thu, 22 Nov 2018 05:42:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Community Ensembles Series Fundraiser Mon, 19 Nov 2018 21:26:59 +0000 Donate on GoFundMe »

Musica Matrix is trying to raise $10,000 towards next season’s first-ever ‘Community Ensembles Series’ with local musicians, creating engaging concerts that make Medieval and Renaissance music accessible, free to anyone under 21, and affordable for all. These House Concerts will be a rare opportunity for our Southern Oregon community to hear works of incredible depth and beauty.

Featuring music written before 1600, we are hoping to offer four concerts throughout next season, one concert about every three months.

Your GoFundMe Donation will help cover the cost of publicity, venue, and Artist fees for four concerts in the 2019 season, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.

Musica Matrix received five grants in our first year, but must establish our staying power before we can obtain further grants. This support will allow Musica Matrix to continue its important work.

We have worked so hard to get our organization started. Please help us to move forward on a central part of our vision: providing work for local musicians who specialize in these early styles and genres of music. Our entire community will benefit as music appreciators, budding and seasoned musicians, teachers and new audience members for years to come.

Musica Matrix is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization, #47 454 8099

Donate on GoFundMe »

You may also donate directly to Musica Matrix via our donation page »

No donation is too small. We thank you for helping “Bring History to Life Through Music” in Southern Oregon.

Musica Matrix on JPR Radio Fri, 05 Oct 2018 18:54:24 +0000 Pat O’Scannell, Shira Kammen, and Lauren Pomerantz recently joined JPR’s Geoffrey Riley to share stories, inspiration and musical selections from the upcoming Children of Exile – Medieval Songs of the Sephardim concert on Oct 6.

Listen to the interview here »

Ashland High School Residency Program Tue, 06 Feb 2018 20:31:10 +0000 First Musica Matrix Residency Program a Success!

The aim: to use the existing curriculum as a conduit into the understanding of Early Music by introducing students to a bounty of historic instruments and bridging from modern to historic instruments with the accompanying repertoire and instruction, while learning something about musical history and practice.

What had been originally envisioned as funding for two separate school programs was redefined as an eight-day residency program in which two different groups: one, the Chamber Orchestra class; the other, the Concert String Orchestra class, would alternate every other day and receive a total of four classes each. Lauren Trolley, string instructor at Ashland High, added a long list of requests for her class that included such things as reading from early notation, listening to musical examples and something about instrument construction.

My head was spinning when I exited that first planning meeting. How could I possibly accomplish everything on that list! while remaining true to Musica Matrix’s own mission to “Bring History to Life Through Music by preserving, promoting and performing Medieval and Renaissance Music in Southern Oregon”.

Four different sessions were designed; each class would receive all four of these on an every-other-day basis.

Session One – Medieval Music: A brief lecture, listening examples, and the opportunity to play a variety of period repertoire on familiar modern instruments. Concludes with my demo on a variety of medieval instruments including a tiny 14th Century style Spanish harp.

Session Two – Renaissance Music: much the same as Class One except for subject. Ended with a lecture demo by James Bishop-Edwards, colleague and early plucked string specialist.

Session Three – Introduction to the viola da gamba with basic technique imparted: My hope was to get the violinists onto the treble viol, as both the size and the clef would be familiar territory. The violists were given tenor viols, again because of the familiarity of alto clef as well as the slightly larger size. Cellists were given consort bass viols, and string bass players found themselves holding seven-string French basses. It began with a mini-concert with myself and colleague Michal Palzewicz presenting selections from our program of fantasias by Michael East and Orlando Gibbons for two bass viols.

Session Four – Learning to play some actual repertoire: This class began with a lecture demo by Steve Bacon on the construction of gambas vs. violin, viola, cello and string bass.

But with each class having at least 19 people, how could I possibly come up with enough viols? I myself own four gambas, so these were immediately donated to the cause. Good friend Steve Bacon, proprietor of Bellwood Violin and conservator of the Jack Schuman Collection, donated two gambas of his own as well. Viol whisperer Charlie Ogle in Eugene kindly donated a total of eleven viols!

Early rep on modern instruments Charlie Ogle's generous loan East Gibbons mini concert

So with my four instruments, two from Steve, and eleven from Charlie Ogle: I was thrilled to herd a total of seventeen viols from my home to Ashland High School for four consecutive days. Despite being in the same town, it felt like I was preparing to saddle up and traverse the open plains. I needed reinforcements and am grateful my friend and member of the Musica Matrix team Mariah McLaughlin who volunteered to help me wrangle such a large collection of instruments from my home to the school.

For four consecutive mornings, Mariah showed up on my door at 7am, was plied with coffee before we packed our cars. The viols nested together forming an interlocking pattern, and were very stable when being transported. We drove in tandem, parking as close to the High School Gymnasium as we possibly could by 7:30 to set up, organize materials, and round up the unfamiliar assortment of technical gadgets, including speakers that could connect to my computer, overhead projector and tables upon which to place instruments for viewing and also packets of materials.

I created music history thumbnails for both Medieval and Renaissance music using Grout as my guide, as well as a timeline placing some of the more important musicological events and trends on a par with more recognizable historic events such as the Crusades and the sinking of the Armada. I created a listening list for all of the musical examples. The students had multiple opportunities to listen to a piece of music while viewing both a modern transcription and a facsimile version. They also received scores, both in modern transcription and facsimile versions.

The students, although forewarned of my imminent arrival, looked like startled deer with their eyes caught in the headlights for that first class. By class two they began to warm up to the idea of being submerged in the ocean that is historic music, and began to timidly ask questions and to respond to questions that were posed to them. By the third and fourth classes, they were ready to have a gamba placed in their laps, gazing upon it with wonder at as if holding their own newborn for the first time. Any previous distance melted, and everyone focused on the task at hand.

Musica Matrix’s photographer was there to snap shots of the whole process, and I think these photos speak for themselves!

Learning the correct bow grip Violist turned tenor viol player Double Bass learns French Bass

Though only two classes were devoted specifically to the viol, the fledgling gambists made remarkable progress. They learned the bow hold, how to properly hold the instrument, how to pizz on the gamba, and several positions for the left hand. We played short notes with the strings ‘plucked and released’ by the bow to underline the use of the middle finger for control.

The new bow hold was practiced with the bow only, and then the path of the fingers, hand and arm were mimed without even the bow, so that they knew what to do when the bow touched the strings. They learned to play both the C major and a minor scales, which was tied back to the Plagal partner of Dorian mode. I then wrote out a simple melody in that mode, for everyone to learn to play in tandem.

Of course I wildly over-prepared and had heaps more materials than we could actually use. This however afforded me ample choices when figuring out as we went along which specific pieces to use and which things to try. It was good I had these options, because each class had totally different needs. I think that next time my outline will be simpler with fewer moving parts, but I will keep a number of options available on repertoire for the best result.

All in all, The Great Viol Round-Up of 2017 was a great success. It is my hope to offer a select group of students the option to participate in a small consort viol class.

The local string teacher has already voiced an interest in doing another collaboration. Musica Matrix will be applying for another grant to facilitate this prospect! Wish us luck on our ever-evolving project to create a conduit to Early Music using the skills youngsters already have on modern instruments.

November Concerts a Great Succcess Wed, 22 Nov 2017 01:23:14 +0000 The concerts on November 18 and 19th were an enormous success. Gothic Voices Medieval Choir and guest artist James Bishop-Edwards on lute performed before enthustiastic audiences, first at Ashland Springs Hotel, then, the next day at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Medford.

‘Gothic Voices’ performances of Missa Notre Dame Mass of Our Lady, an evocative and delicate polyphonic mass composed by Guillaume de Machaut in the forteenth century. ‘Illuminations’, the women’s component of Gothic Voices directed by O’Scannell, also presented works by Hildegard von Bingen while the men’s component, ‘All and Some’, presented a selection of medieval carols. ‘Ensemble Fontegara’, a Renaissance recorder group, offered their program, The Music of Shakespeare’s England.

The 14th century ballad, Douce Dame Jolie by Guillaume de Machaut, was performed by lutenist James Edwards and Pat O’Scannell on vielle (medieval fiddle). In addition, the two presented ballads by 14th Century French Composer Guillaume de Machaut, with James on lute and Pat singing.

Here are photos from the Ashland concert:
Please click on photo to see larger size or slideshow.

A variety of hors d-oeuvres were served in the Garden Room at the Ashland Springs Hotel before the Gothic Voices Concert. Gothic Voices singing Lady Mass the Notre Dame Mass by Guillaume de Machut Pat O’Scannell & James Bishop-Edwards perform a Ballad by 14th Centiry French Composer Guillaume de Machaut The men’s component is ‘All and Some’ presenting medieval carols 'Illuminations', the women’s component of Gothic Voices directed by O’Scannell, presenting works by Hildegard von Bingen Pat plays the vielle (medieval fiddle) with lutenist James Edwards : Douce Dame Jolie by Guillaume de Machaut.

And these are from the concert at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church:

Illuminations sings: O Tu Illustrata by Hildehard von Bingen. Pat and James presenting songs by Guillaume de Machaut at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Medford. Ensemble Fontegara at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Medford, presenting their program: The Music of Shakespeare's England. Pat O’Scannell and James Edwards playing Douce Dame Jolie by Guillaume de Machaut Illuminations with director Pat O'Scannell ]]>
Interview with Pat O’Scannell of Musica Matrix Thu, 26 Oct 2017 00:10:34 +0000 Local singer-songwriter-DJ extraordinaire Aletha Nowitsky interviews multi-instrumentalist and founder of Musica Matrix, Pat O’Scannell on Ashland’s KSKQ radio show “Tasty Topics and Tantalizing Tunes”.

O’Scannell discusses how she first got involved in Early Music, the formation of Muscia Matrix, her former group The Terra Nova Consort and her work over a 30 year period at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Upcoming Musica Matrix events and concerts are also mentioned, as well as the completion of a recent residency program at Ashland High.

The show is intersperced with a selection of pieces including a musical piece by John Dowland performed by lutist Julian Breame, a madrigal, “Fire, Fire”, performed by Voces 8, a recorder piece written by Ludwig Senfl and performed by Farallon Recorder Quartet and other examples of Early Music.


MM Receives Grant for High School Program Mon, 16 Oct 2017 21:28:02 +0000 Non- Profit organization Musica Matrix with its mission of Bringing History to Life Through Music, received a $3,000.00 grant from the Umpqua Bank to do an eight day residency program in Southern Oregon at Ashland High School. This course, which is designed in part to promote the viola da gamba for youngsters and provide a connecting path to it from orchestral strings, is only possible through the generous donation of eleven viols by Charlie Ogle.

Pat O’Scannell will lead the residency program, which culminates in hands-on learning on the viola da gamba for both the school’s Chamber Orchestra and String Orchestra students. Pat will introduce the rudiments of basic technique, and share information about a wide gamut of styles and practices.

Students will progress from playing Early repertoire on their own modern instruments to playing violas da gamba for the final classes. They will be exposed to recorded musical examples, live mini-concerts, instrument demonstrations and will have the opportunity to play a diverse cross section of musical repertoire. O’Scannell will take them through an introduction to the modes and learning to read chant notation, and will present an overview of music history, to create context and a timeline for the gamba.

Musica Matrix, a small 501.c.3 organization was founded in 2016 by Pat O’Scannell. It supports Renaissance and Medieval Music in Southern Oregon and has received grants from The Oregon Community Foundation, The Jackson County Cultural Coalition, and the Carpenter Foundation in its brief lifetime. The grant monies have been used to support a variety of concerts by Artists, both local and from outside the area, as well as to help with general operations, and in support of a variety of community ensembles.

Video – More Fools Than Wise Madrigal Singers Wed, 26 Apr 2017 01:04:43 +0000 Musica Matrix is pleased to share this video excerpt of Madrigal singers More Fools Than Wise performing at a recent concert in Ashland Oregon.

With lyrics based on poems, Madrigal music is usually performed a cappella by a small group of singers. The music features multiple melodic lines to create a rich, dynamic sound that was very popular during the Renaissance Era (1450 – 1600).

Watch for future More Fools Than Wise concert on our Events page »

Concert & Workshop February 21-22 Sun, 29 Jan 2017 02:20:28 +0000 Concert: MappaMundi, a Musical Travelogue

Join us in a melodic and rhythmic journey visiting Brittany, Galicia, Bulgaria, North America and England in the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Now, with internationally recognized multi-instrumentalist Shira Kammen and her accomplished cohort Jim Oakden, joined by Kevin Carr and Pat O’Scannell, with an opening set by the Gothic Voices medieval choir.

You will hear the sounds of voice, gaita, medieval fiddle, hurdy-gurdy, recorder, medieval harp, viola da gamba, accordion, mandolin, fiddles, and more!
Shira Kammen

When: Tuesday, February 21st, 7pm
Doors open at 6:30pm

Where: Paschal Winery
1122 Suncrest Road
Talent, Oregon 97540
(541) 535-7057


Concert only: $20;
Concert plus Workshop: $25
Workshop only: $25.

No reserved seating.

Workshop: A Most Excellent Adventure

We’ll explore how medieval chant developed into polyphony via the gorgeous compositions in the Montpellier and other French manuscripts. Musical games will illuminate the structure of these pieces from the inside out. Improvisation exercises will help us learn the styles more completely.

When: Wednesday, February 22nd, 10am-1pm

Where: Call 541-482-9757 or contact Musica Matrix to reserve a spot in the workshop and get details about the Ashland location and time.

Musica Matrix Receives Grants for Programs in 2017 Fri, 13 Jan 2017 12:41:28 +0000 Musica Matrix is pleased to report we have received 3 grants.

Thanks go to our donors whose generosity will help fund Renaissance music programs and operations in 2017.

Jackson County Cultural Coalition
  • The Oregon Community Foundation: $2,500.00 towards operations in 2017
  • The Carpenter Foundation: $1,000.00 towards two Gothic Voices concerts in 2017
  • The Jackson County Cultural Coalition: $500.00 towards our Julie Jeffrey concert in 2017
Report: Pat O’Scannell’s November Workshop Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:14:53 +0000 Full Of Sound And Fury: Music Of Shakespeare’s Plays

by Janet Loy

Fifteen participants gathered in the choir room of Trinity Cathedral on Saturday, November 12th, to greet Pat O’Scannell and learn about music that possibly flowed from the stages where plays by Shakespeare were presented during his lifetime. Pointing out the challenges of projecting music from the stage to the audience, Pat took us through ways of executing strong bows. Some of the techniques Pat had us practice included using lots of bow for slow notes and using much less bow for quicker ones; playing closer to the bridge for some sound effects; and creating wispy sounds farther from the bridge, while using lots of bow. Pat talked about using the fingers on the hair of the bow to help create a good core sound. Having control of the speed of the bow and being able to make gestures going both directions were also discussed as helpful tools for dealing with surprises one might have while supplying music for a play.

We then had the fun of applying some of this insight while playing “A la bataglia” by Heinrich Isaac. This piece also gave us good practice in playing proportions, where we moved smoothly (mostly) from a whole note to a dotted whole note and back again.

Shakespeare Timeline

Shakespeare Timeline

On the front of a packet Pat handed out was a timeline of composers whose music could have been used on a Shakesperian stage. She highlighted those composers most likely to be represented: Edwards, Holborne, Morley, Johnson, and Ravenscroft. Her packet included not only a list of theaters where Shakespeare’s plays were performed, but also colorful pictures of postage stamps illustrating Shakespearean theaters of the time. Among the theaters were The Rose, Swan, Globe, and Hope. Companies such as The King’s Men were also mentioned as playing in the Globe. A picture of a cross section of the Globe served well to see where the underlings stood (not a good angle to see the many levels of action), where the Royal Box was, where the Musicians’ Gallery was (toward the top of the theater), where other levels were, the casement windows, and the trap. Pat also shared some interesting anecdotes based on her own experiences in Shakespearian theater, both as a musician and as a cast member.

To experience being a little theatrical ourselves, some participants took on the role of actors by reading lines from a play, while the rest of us responded to the spoken cues, playing excerpts from Matthew Locke’s The Tempest. This gave us a chance to imagine the space, the time, and what it might have been like on stage.

Following lunch and a chance to examine music brought by Boulder Early Music shop, we broke into small groups to apply further what we had learned about using our bows, and how to use the bow to express what we to say. Pat helped our group examine music by Orlando Gibbons, Thomas Weelkes, and Thomas Morley, working to create some lyrical lines and also some speech-like contrasts. We ended with Andrea Gabrielli’s “Alla battaglia, o forti cavalieri” which gave us a chance to be energetic and brassy.

viola de gamba seminae

With the help of Tim Scott, my second session found us working on a Henry Purcell Fantasia. We encountered many very high and very low sounds, which gave us a chance to experiment with color. The piece also provided a chance to play slow, sustained passages contrasted with faster active, rhythmic sections which had lots of leaps and chromatic flavor. Practicing getting out of the way of the more important lines and speaking up when we had the more important lines was also a valuable exercise.

Gathering at the end as a large group to play once more the Isaac piece from earlier in the day brought closure to a delightful workshop.