Shumei hosts a concert of Baroque music

CRESTONE — Samuel Breene (baroque violin) and Jeffrey Noonan (theorbo, baroque guitar) make up Musicke’s Cordes, who will perform “Looking South: Italian Music in the Chapels and Courts of Germany” in Crestone at Shumei International Institute on Sunday, October 1st at 3 p.m. There is a $10 suggested donation at the door.

Musicke’s Cordes presents an intimate concert of early Baroque music for violin by composer/performers working in Germany in the 17thcentury. Fascinated by the musical revolution taking place in Italy, German nobles and musicians imported books, instruments and players in an attempt to stay up-to-date. The program features examples of Italian musical experiments including improvisatory sonatas and toe-tapping dances as well as German imitations of the Italian style. The duo performs on reproductions of historical instruments and the program will include solos for the baroque guitar and theorbo (a six-foot-long lute) as well as music for the baroque violin. 

Using the violin and its early repertoire as a gateway, the duo Musicke’s Cordes embraces a wide swath of 17th-century instrumental music including fantastic Italian sonatas, elegant French suites and rustic English variations on popular tunes. Comprised of baroque violinist Samuel Breene and lutenist Jeffrey Noonan, Musicke’s Cordes offers programs that illustrate the common elements of the experimental instrumental music of the 17th century while also pointing up the characteristics of the various national styles. 

Violinist Samuel Breene and lutenist Jeffrey Noonan met in 2013 at the Newberry Library in Chicago as participants in a colloquium sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Informal reading sessions evolved into a performance plan and the duo has performed and taught in the Midwest and on the East Coast. The current season features concerts and presentations in Colorado, Kentucky and Missouri as well as concerts and presentations in New England.

Samuel Breene (baroque violin) is a scholar and performer whose activities and interests span the range of his instrument’s history and repertoire. Following his conservatory degree, Sam pursued advanced violin studies in Mainz, Germany.In graduate school at Duke University, he specialized in baroque violin and led the Duke Collegium Musicum. Since that time, Sam has maintained a performing career that balances work on both early and modern violins. He has performed across this country with international appearances in Germany, Canada, Israel and Haiti. Sam maintains an especially active schedule as a chamber musician with the Proteus String Quartet, an ensemble based in Providence, Rhode Island. He also performs with numerous modern orchestras and has appeared with the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Berkshire Symphony Orchestra, Albany Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Opera Company of North Carolina. 

 In addition to his performing work, Sam is a musicologist who specializes in Mozart’s chamber music and performance practices of the Baroque and Classical eras. He has also researched and written about American fiddling. Over the years, Sam has received a number of prestigious research awards including a Javits Fellowship and two Mellon Fellowships. He has delivered conference papers to the American Musicological Society and the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies as well as international conferences in England and France. Sam’s most recent publication on Mozart, science and aesthetics in the eighteenth century appeared recently in the journal Early Music.

Sam holds a BM in violin performance from the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music and two degrees from Duke University, a Masters in Performance Practice and the PhD in Musicology. He has taught at New York University and the University of Pennsylvania. Sam currently serves as Associate Professor of Music at Rhode Island College where he directs the Music History Program and leads the Early Music Ensemble.

Trained as a classical guitarist, Jeffrey Noonan (theorbo, baroque guitar) has played lute, theorbo and early guitars for over thirty years across the Midwest. Based in St. Louis, he has performed throughout the region with various ensembles including Shakespear’s Bande, Early Music St. Louis, Passione ed Armonia, Kansas City Baroque Consortium, Bourbon Baroque (Louisville), Ars Antigua (Chicago), and Musik Ekklesia (Indianapolis.) In addition, Jeff has created and directed a number of Early Music ensembles including The Ellenwood Consort and, most recently, Such Sweete Melodie. An in-demand accompanist and continuo player, Jeff performs a varied repertoire ranging from sixteenth-century chanson with solo voice to Handel’s Messiah with the St. Louis Symphony. A recognized expert on the early guitar, Jeff has produced two books and several articles for Oxford Music Online on the subject as well as an edition of eighteenth-century Italian violin sonatas for A-R Editions. His current research project is an edition of two 17th-century Italian song manuscripts he uncovered at the Newberry Library. Jeff has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and in 2015 the Newberry Library named him a Cullen Fellow to research and edit music manuscripts in its collection. In 2016, the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission awarded Jeff an Artist Fellowship recognizing his accomplishments in scholarship, pedagogy and performance.

Jeff holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame (A.B.), the Hartt School of Music (B.Mus.) and Washington University in St. Louis (M.Mus., Ph.D.) He has served as adjunct faculty at St. Mary’s College, Indiana/Purdue Universities in Fort Wayne, Andrews University and Washington University in St. Louis. In 1999, Jeff joined the full-time faculty of Southeast Missouri State University where he taught upper-level music literature and history courses and directed the classical guitar program. He retired from Southeast as a Professor of Music in 2015.

Please contact Shumei with questions at 719-256-5284 or visit