2023 Concerts

The French Connection*

Josie Ryan, (soprano), Joshua Keller (USA), (bass viol – guest artist), Reidun Turner, (bass viol – guest artist), Brooke Green, (artistic director) and Pippa Macmillan, viols

Bathe yourself in the beautiful and rarely heard French courtly music from the renaissance and baroque. Travel to the courts of Henry VIII, Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I, Henry IV, Louis III, the Sun King Louis XIV and his successor Louis XV.

French courtly music for soprano and viols is an unusual genre in Australia and we hope you will be as charmed and thrilled by this music as we are. Our program includes Australian premieres of some beautiful chansons by Etienne Moulinié and Pierre Guedron, alongside music by Phillip van Wilder, Josquin des Prez, Eustache du Caurroy, Pierre Sandrin and Claude de Sermisy. In the second half we move to the high French baroque with virtuosic works by Marin Marais, Saint Colombe and selections from Jean-Philippe Rameau’s ever-popular Les Indes Galantes. We culminate with a visit to the imaginary court of Aphra Behn, with Brooke Green’s setting of her riské poem The Dream.
This is a rare opportunity to hear brilliant young bass viol player Joshua Keller (USA), performing solo pièces and duos with Reidun Turner.


You might like to arrive with a touch of French courtly attire – perhaps a glittering jewel, a lacy jabot (necktie) or a craftily placed mouche (beauty patch/small pox concealer). Prix for the most elegant!

more about the program

The early French chanson with its charming nonchalance and tinge of melancholy was also performed outside of France, at the cosmopolitan courts of Mary Queen of Scots, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. French music was highly valued, not merely as entertainment but also for its diplomatic influence. For Charles I and Henrietta a new trend arose, where French “ditties” such as those by Guedron were ‘Englished’ (performed with English texts). 

Throughout the 18th century, Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes was performed hundreds of times, as an opera-ballet and in arrangements for other musical ensembles. Its enormous success could be partly attributed to its sophisticated, catchy melodies but also to the public’s fascination with its themes of ‘savages’ and slavery. A generation earlier, the English feminist writer Aphra Behn also achieved much success with her novel and play about an African slave leader: Oroonoko or The Royal Slave. Behn was criticised in her time but later celebrated for writing about sexuality from a woman’s point of view, such as in her poem The Dream. We perform Brooke Green’s setting for her imaginary court, in celebration of this abolitionist and humanitarian pioneer.

Performing with a complete consort of Jane Julier viols has been a dream of Brooke’s for the last 10 years and now, for the first time, this is possible. We thank Laura Moore for the generous loan of her Jane Julier bass viol to Josh for his visit to Australia. 

Joshua Keller, bass viol (Guest Artist from USA)

Joshua Keller is an avid performer and teacher of viol, lirone, and cello. After studying viola da gamba with Wendy Gillespie and Hille Perl, Josh embarked on an international performance career. He has performed in the early music festivals of Bruges, Bremen, Bloomington, Regensburg, Thüringen, and in the opening ceremonies of the Utrecht Early Music Festival. Early and modern orchestras alike continue to invite him to play the viol solos of Bach’s Passions. He has worked with Opera Theater St. Louis, Opera Studio Netherlands, Opera NEO San Diego, and Scherzi Musicali (BE) playing lirone. He maintains a private teaching studio, teaches viol at the University of Memphis, and cello at the Memphis Music Academy. Joshua also maintains an active local music life playing in chamber ensembles, and recording at local studios. He has recorded with Josh Lee, Masaaki Suzuki, and Música Ficta. Beyond music, Josh loves rollerskating, practicing Pilates and his two boxers, Margot and Hiram.

*Joshua Keller’s visit to Australia is generously supported by The Australian Viola da Gamba Society

1.Thursday 20 April, 5pm – 7pm
Arts in the Valley, Kangaroo Valley Hall, Moss Vale Rd, Kangaroo Valley


2. Saturday 22 April, 3pm – 5pm
Glebe Town Hall, Glebe

Avec un thé l’après-midi. (with a French afternoon tea.)


Watch for updates for more concerts in the year but meanwhile, mark this in your diary:

St Cecilia 2023
Sunday 26 November, 3pm
Glebe Music Festival
Glebe Town Hall, Glebe

Last year, we had enormous fun with our semi-theatrical show about Lucy Countess of Bedford, For this year’s St Cecilia’s Day concert, expect the unexpected!