“awesome… the instruments blended well, the duo phrased and pushed the momentum as one”
Journal of the American Recorder Society, September 2003
infiorare, 1) To adorn, scatter or cover with flowers: 2) (fig.) To render easy and pleasant: 3) (fig.) To ornament with wit and elegance: 4) (refl.) To cover oneself or become full of flowers: 5) (refl.) To become pretty or pleasing (to "bloom" or "blossom"): 6) (refl.) To nestle or muck about among flowers
Blossoming from Jim Miller's New York cornetto recital in 2002 at the Church of St. Francis, and from collaborations as members of the New York Continuo Collective, Infiorare has appeared in numerous venues in New York, the Boston Early Music Festival, Historic Brass Symposia at Yale, and at the New York Brass Conference at SUNY Purchase. Recent performances include appearances on the New York Early Music Series, The Church of Saint Luke in the Fields, Immanuel Lutheran Church, and a fringe concert at Boston Early Music Festival. The ensemble utilizes the unique colors of cornetto, harp, and voice, performing inventive arrangements of medieval and baroque repertoire.
About the Performers
Soprano Grace Check is a member of Infiorare, and the medieval trio Machicoti with Amy Bartram and Beth Cullinane. She has performed in New York and Boston with the New York Collegium under the direction of Andrew Parrott and with the New York Continuo Collective under the direction of Grant Herreid, Patrick O'Brien, Stephen Stubbs and Erin Headley. She has performed symphonic choral works with the New York Philharmonic and sacred polyphony in Anglican churches across Manhattan. She sings high holidays at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale. Grace received her BA cum laude in music from Smith College and her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Columbia University last fall.
Multi-instrumentalist Holly Mentzer received her B. Mus. and M. Mus. degrees in flute at the Juilliard School of Music, and later studied early flutes with Stephen Preston and Nancy Hadden. An interest in early harp drew her to the New York Continuo Collective and on to further studies with Maxine Eilander while participating in L’Accademia d’Amore in Bremen. Ms. Mentzer is a founding member of Infiorare, and has performed with Early Music New York, City of Ladies, Polyhymnia, and ARTEK. She has appeared on many New York and Boston-based series including SOHIP, the New York Early Music Series, Midtown Concerts, Music Before 1800, and is also a section leader at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Larchmont, NY. She recently received her M.A. degree in Music Therapy at New York University, and is currently practicing as a music therapist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
James Miller, cornetto. After a rewarding career on modern trumpet, which included nine seasons as Principal Trumpet of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, James Miller has shifted his performing interests to early music. A cornetto recital on the Music for the Spirit series at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi led to the formation of Infiorare with harpist Holly Mentzer and soprano Grace Check. They have performed extensively in the New York area and at the Boston Early Music Festival, sometimes collaborating with the Choir of St. Luke in the Fields, and Polyhymnia. As a soloist, Miller has recorded with the Washington Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble and performed with Artek, the Nieuw Amsterdam Consort, Spiritus Collective, the NY Cornett and Sackbutts Ensemble, and was a regularly featured soloist with the New York Continuo Collective. He brought the cornetto into the 21st century joining forces with the Cygnus to premiere Jonathan Dawe’s opera, Prometheus, at the Guggenheim Museum and Wendy Steiner’s opera, The Loathly Lady at the University of Pennsylvania. His performance of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 was described by the Washington Post as “a beautiful display of virtuosity”. He recently was part of the highly-acclaimed ARTEK performances of the 400th anniversary of that work in Washington DC, New York, and was featured in a performance at the Morgan Library with Parthenia - A Consort of Viols. He can be heard playing and singing nearly every week at Immanuel Lutheran Church where he is also a section leader in the choir. Upcoming performances include several more performances of Monteverdi’s Vespers in New York, Colorado, and at Duke University.
“Dolce Fortuna” (or “Doulce Memoire”)
vocal and instrumental music from the 13th-17th Century; works by Bassano, Caccini, Campion, Cicconia, Merula, Monteverdi, Rossi, Tallis
Gordon Chapel, Old South Church, Boston, Boston Early Music Festival, Friday, 13 June 2004
St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, South Nyack, NY, June 28, 2004
The Cornetto in Several Languages; works by Tallis, Ortiz, dalla Casa, Bassano, Falconieri, Sances and others
New York Early Music Series, Nour Foundation, March 13, 2004
“From the Sacred to the Profane”
Instrumental and vocal music from the 13th-17th centuries, exploring the seeming differences and not-so- apparent similarities between music of these two genres.
Church of St. Luke in the Fields, New York Early Music Celebration, October 3, 2004
Music of the Spirit, May 25, 2005
“¡Vaya a España!”
Spanish music through the ages. The journey begins in 16th century Spain with works by Cabezon, Marín, Ortiz, and others, and features the historically evocative Líricas Castellanas by Joaquin Rodrigó composed for voice and early instruments.
Music of the Spirit, May January 31, 2007
Music at Our Saviour’s Atonement, February 11, 2007
Emmanuel Church, Boston (Boston Early Music Festival Fringe Event) June 15, 2007
“Musique sacrée et profane”
Machicoti and Infiorare perform sacred and secular music from Medieval France from the 13th through 15th centuries, including works by Dufay and Machaut.
New York Early Music Celebration, The Church of Saint Luke in the Fields, October 19, 2007
“Sacred Music from Medieval France”
Contemplative sacred French medieval music, including the serene Vergene bella of Dufay, the sublime anonymous Messe de Toulouse, and their treatment of the poignant Planctus ante nescia (Mary’s Lament at the Cross) of Godefroy de St. Victoire.
Midtown Concerts, Immanuel Lutheran Church, March 31, 2010