Project for the European Union: 2009-2010



Three Great Masters

Between the Baroque and the Classical Period

Henry Purcell (b. 1659)
Georg Friedrich Händel (†1759)
Joseph Haydn (†1809)

Exhibitions of the Vazquez Collection
of Historical String Instruments


Concerts by Orpheon Consort

Over 170 fine musical instruments: violins, violas, violoncellos, violas da gamba, violas d’amore, historical bows and wind instruments dating from 1570 to 1780, organs, harpsichords ,original paintings, engravings with musical subjects and other items of interest.



Concept for the Anniversaries of
Henry Purcell, Georg Friedrich Händel and Joseph Haydn
in 2009 – 2011

(Project for Culture-2000 of the European Union)


The Vázquez-Collection, the result of decades of search, is internationally acknowledged by the experts to be unique in the world. It encompasses more than 170 choice violins, violas, violoncellos, violas da gamba, violas d’amore and historical bows dating mostly from 1570 to 1800. All of the instruments, which have been faithfully restored to the original playing states, are made available to professional musicians and outstandingly gifted students from all over Europe for use in competitions, recordinngs, auditions and concerts. The collection thus represents a living cultural heritage for mankind.

But what’s more, their wondrous designs, their elaborate ornamentations, their finely sculptured heads, their intarsia elevate these finely crafted instruments of the Renaissance, the Baroque and the Classical Periods from their merely utilitarian role as tools in music-making to veritable works of art, worthy to stand next to the paintings and sculptures of these very same periods, and capable of delighting all those who are given the opportunity to experience them.

The proper ambiance is being sought for this, our second project for the European Community, where the innate charm and beauty of these musical instruments can unfold. Indeed the architectonic splendor of the halls in palaces and cloisters almost cry for the appropriate music to fill them, in order to create a cultural experience of the finest sort: space and sound mutually compliment each other in a most agreable way.

It would be therefore very desireable, particularly in view of the predictably positive reaction of our public, if a long-term relationship between our collection and your institution would arise as a result of this project.

Possible models for a cooperation:


– Exhibition of the instruemnts of the Vázquez Collection. Duration to be determined by mutual agreement. This should take place in 2009 – 2011 (stipulated by the European Union)

– Concert series of Orpheon Consort on the historical instrument of the collection. Concerts with variable formations of musicians, centered around the three masters and their worlds.

2. EXHIBITION – CONCERTS of limited duration

– a small exhibition of a selection of the instruments of the collection, of short duration.

– Concerts centered on the three composers: Purcell and Shakespeare; Händel in Italy, Händel in London: Haydn in Esterhaza.


Among the most endearing compositions of the master are the more than 120 trios for viola di pardone (or baryton), viola and violoncello. Orpheon will record all of these works in 2008, therefore it would be very desireable to present these works in public, too.

These models should be considered as mere suggestions. We would like to hear your thoughts on the whole project. We will certainly reach an agreement, which will please us all. This is indeed the purpose of these projects for the European Union, and this one is a particularly fine one, as you probably would agree.


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