Best Early Music Ensemble
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
One of the late Laurette Goldberg's many gifts to the Bay Area was finding the redoubtable Nicholas McGegan to lead the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. For 23 years, Berkeley Hills resident McGegan has been responsible for some of the most enlivening, colorful, and transcendentally beautiful music in the Bay Area. His band of gifted authentic-instrument musicians, many of whom are superb soloists in their own right, regularly performs in Berkeley, San Francisco, Contra Costa County, and Palo Alto, as well as at Carnegie Hall and international festivals. Curiously, PBO is especially known in Europe for its delightful collaborations with choreographer Mark Morris. (They reprise Morris' rendition of Handel's L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato with Cal Performances next May). McGegan's irrepressible verve and impeccable taste in vocal soloists and guest conductors will soon bring us no less than sopranos Sophie Daneman, Marnie Breckenridge, and Dominique Labelle; countertenor Robin Blaze; and conductor Rinaldo Alessandrini. If you think baroque music is as dull as it sounds on KDFC-FM, check out PBO.