Photo courtesy of Queens Consort

The hottest new group on the local music scene gets its inspiration from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Jackson Heights-based Queens Consort, which held its inaugural concert this past October, is the borough’s first Baroque period ensemble. That means that the members play recorders, harpsichords, and string instruments which were all the rage in Europe between about 1600 and 1750 AD. The scores come from Antonio Vivaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, and other greats from the era. And of course, they use Baroque bows. (They’re generally shorter than modern day bows.)

As to be expected in the world’s most diverse county, Queens Consort members come from all over the planet. Margrét Hjaltested, the co-founder and violinist, hails from Reykjavík, Iceland. She’s a faculty member at Queens College. The other co-founder, violist Claire Smith Bermingham, has performed on “Saturday Night Live,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” and “The View.” Southern Japan native Aya Hamada rocks the harpsichord, while Interlochen Arts Academy graduate Dan McCarthy takes care of the viola and violin, and Anneke Schaul-Yoder cranks on the cello.

On Saturday, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m., Queens Consort will offer a Yuletide Concert at St. Mark’s Church, 33-50 82nd St. in Jackson Heights ($15). They will play music specifically written for the Christmas season by Arcangelo Corelli, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, and Johann Christoph Pez with two guest recorder players, Daphna Mor, the musician at residence at Manhattan’s B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue, and Lewis R. Baratz, who holds a Ph.D. in musicology.

It will be a one-hour concert with no intermission, followed by a festive reception with food, drinks and good cheer.


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