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Viol Consort

“One of the brightest lights in New York’s early-music scene.”
~ The New Yorker

Touring Programs
Audio & Video
About the Viol
Contact/Booking Inquiries


All in a Garden Green: the Voice of the Viol

A treasure chest of the viola da gamba’s unique repertoire featuring well-known and unknown musical masterpieces from across three centuries, from Josquin through Purcell to J.S. Bach. Download program information 

King James and his Bible: A Musical Portrait

Royal and Devotional Music from the Stuart and Tudor Courts
with Dashon Burton, bass-baritone

Parthenia and bass-baritone Dashon Burton paint a musical portrait of England around 1611 - the time when King James I authorized the beautiful and enduring translation of the Bible. This concert features a 21st-c. setting of Yale philosophy professor John Hare's poem, "Thorns," by Tawnie Olson, which traces a particular strand in the narrative tapestry of salvation history. Download program information 

Semper Dowland

with Christel Thielmann, tenor viol and Paul O’Dette, renaissance lute

The complete Lachrimae collection of 1604 for five viols and lute by John Dowland, with guest artists Christel Thielmann, tenor viol, and Paul O’Dette, renaissance lute. Download program information

William Lawes: Complete Setts for six viols and organ

with Joanna Blendulf, treble viol; and Alice Robbins, bass viol

William Lawes, courtier and composer for Charles I of England, was killed in the Civil War at age 43. Lawes himself was a dynamic viol player, and his works for six viols and organ offer up stunning harmonies and emotional journeys to the listener and performer alike. Download program information 

William Byrd: A life in music

Parthenia collaborates with an ensemble of New York's finest Renaissance vocalists to present a rich and varied selection of Elizabethan masterworks by William Byrd, Queen Elizabeth I's favorite composer. Download program information 

A Hapsburg Songbook

with Ryland Angel, countertenor; and Charles Weaver, lute

Parthenia collaborates with countertenor Ryland Angel and lutenist Charles Weaver for a century’s worth of music from the time of the Habsburg Empire, featuring works by composers employed across 15th and 16th century Europe, including Heinrich Issac, Ludwig Senfl, Nicolas Gombert, Antonio de Cabezón, Alonso Mudarra and Jacobus Vaet, along with songs from the cancioneros of 16th century Spain. Download program information

The Flaming Fire: Mary Queen of Scots and Her World

with Ryland Angel, countertenor

Hauntingly beautiful music of Scotland and England from the 1500s for viol consort and voice, music that Mary Queen of Scots and her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, and their friends, enemies and subjects might have heard. The performance includes excerpts from a new song-cycle by composer Richard Einhorn - stunning arrangements of four songs by Scottish poet and lyricist, Robert Burns. Download program information

An Elizabethan Christmas: As it fell on a Holie Eve

with Juliane Baird, soprano

Sparkling music for the entire Christmas season from Advent to Epiphany with soprano and consort of viols, featuring carols and motets by Queen Elizabeth’s favorite composer William Byrd. Download program information

Les Amour de Mai: Love songs in the age of Rosnard

with Juliane Baird, soprano; and Robert Mealy, violin

French Renaissance songs and dances marked by grace, balance and a wonderful sense of lightness, featuring song settings of the poetry of Pierre de Ronsard by such composers as Claude le Jeune, Guillaume Costeley, Claude Goudimel, Eustache du Caurroy and others. Download program information



"Parthenia, a first-rate consort of viols... illuminated Purcell's counterpoint wonderfully... [and] the group's sound combined warmth and precision."
~ The New York Times

"Their unanimity and grasp of the style are not unlike that of a great string quartet playing Mozart or Beethoven."
~ Fanfare Magazine

"Ravishingly beautiful sound.... The playing by the Parthenia was uniformly superb."
~ Boston Musical Intelligencer

"Local early-music stars."
~ The New Yorker

"[A]t the Medieval Sculpture Hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art....Parthenia, a consort of viols, performing a sequence of elegiac music by Byrd, Morley, Frescobaldi, Scheidt and others, sounded especially fine ... and brought welcome tonal variety to [the ] music..."
~ The Strad Magazine

"...Parthenia, a glowing group of viol players that is one of the brightest lights in New York's early-music scene."
~ The New Yorker

"Parthenia played with equal grace, impressive warmth and marvelous blend.... Throughout the night, Parthenia performed splendidly."
~ The Kansas City Star

""...welcome under any circumstances - the excellent viol consort Parthenia."
~ The Philadelphia Inquirer

"There was an appealing musicality in the way Parthenia players addressed the music. Phrases were finely shaped and nuanced, and textures were carefully balanced..."
~ The New York Times

"The ensemble sense between these players made for flawless musical thought."
~ Woodstock (NY) Times

"The sound produced by all the viols in Parthenia was exquisite... carried out with deft grace and impeccable taste... [Parthenia] achieved exquisite pools of color and emotion through the medium of the viols."
~ Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror

"The sound was glorious, watching the performers expressions and rapport a delight...an uplifting experience."
~ Woodstock (NY) Times

"To say these performers understood the music they played would be a great understatement. They brought it to life with vitality and insight."
~ Bernardsville News/Observer Tribune



The viol quartet PARTHENIA brings early music into the present with repertoire that animates ancient and fresh-commissioned contemporary works alike with a ravishing sound and a remarkable sense of ensemble. These "local early-music stars," hailed by The New Yorker and music critics throughout the world, are "one of the brightest lights in New York's early-music scene."

Parthenia is presented in concerts across America, and produces its own series in New York City, collaborating regularly with the world's foremost early music specialists. The quartet has been featured in prestigious festivals and series as wide-ranging as Music Before 1800, the Harriman-Jewell Series, Maverick Concerts, the Regensburg Tage Alter Musik, the Shalin Lui Performing Arts Center, the Pierpont Morgan Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Yale Center for British Art and Columbia University's Miller Theatre.

Parthenia's performances range from its popular touring program, "When Music & Sweet Poetry Agree," a celebration of Elizabethan poetry and music with actor Paul Hecht, to the complete viol fantasies of Henry Purcell, as well as the complete instrumental works of Robert Parsons, and commissions and premieres of new works annually.

Parthenia has recorded As it Fell on a Holie Eve - Music for an Elizabethan Christmas, with soprano Julianne Baird, Les Amours de Mai, with Ms. Baird and violinist Robert Mealy, A Reliquary for William Blake, and Within the Labyrinth. The ensemble's most recent release is The Flaming Fire - Mary Queen of Scots and Her World with Ryland Angel, countertenor, and Dongsok Shin, virginal.

Parthenia's musicians are Artists-in-residence at The Church of Saint Luke in the Fields in Manhattan's Greenwich Village. Parthenia is represented by GEMS Live! Artist Management and records for MSR Classics.

For more information, visit www.parthenia.org


The viol, or viola da gamba, is a family of stringed instruments celebrated in European music from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. Today on both sides of the Atlantic, soloists as well as viol groups-known as "consorts"-have rediscovered the lost repertoire and ethereal beauty of this early instrument. The viol was first known as the "bowed guitar" (vihuela da arco), a joint descendent of the medieval fiddle and the 15th-century Spanish guitar. Unlike its cousin, the arm-supported violin (viola da braccio), the viol is held upright on the leg (gamba) or between the legs; its bow is gripped underhand; and its body is made of bent or molded wood. These characteristics lend a distinctive lightness and resonance to viol sound that have inspired a wave of new works by 21st-century composers and a growing enthusiasm on the part of international audiences.


For booking inquiries, please contact Shirley Hunt, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (415) 340-2621

GEMS Live! is a unique not-for-profit booking agency representing a roster of New York's world-class early music ensembles: The Bishop's Band, East of the River, House of Time, Parthenia, and Pomerium.