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About Ensemble Gaudior

Ensemble Gaudior is dedicated to performing masterpieces of chamber music from the Baroque and Classical eras, using instruments from those periods or careful modern copies. By presenting this repertoire to modern concert audiences, we hope to contribute to the process of moving our world toward greater harmony. (The name Gaudior is borrowed from the musical unicorn in Madeleine L'Engle's book A Swiftly Tilting Planet, who time-travels through the universe joyfully harmonizing with the music of the stars and planets.) Founded in 2000 and based in the Washington D.C. area, the group is built around a core instrumentation of violin and basso continuo, but frequently collaborates with guest artists in order to allow a greater variety of repertoire.


We were just getting ready to tell you about an exciting concert featuring Ensemble Gaudior’s director, Alexandra MacCracken, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, forcing cancellation or postponement of so many performances of all kinds. But we still hope and intend to give this concert at a later time, so here are some details to whet your appetite.

As many music lovers are aware, December 17, 2020, will mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven. To honor this occasion, we had planned a program of music to include his first published composition, the Piano Trio in E-flat major, Op. 1, No. 1, together with two works by Mozart. This was to have taken place in November 2020, but has now been (tentatively) rescheduled for April 2021. Assuming that circumstances permit us to present the concert then, we’ll provide more details about the date and location as the time gets closer.

However, we can tell you a little more about the performers and the rest of the program now. The keyboardist will be Alexandra’s husband, Thomas MacCracken, playing his replica of Mozart’s own fortepiano. He has been a frequent guest artist with Ensemble Gaudior over the 20 years of its existence, on several different instruments, including fortepiano in a Haydn program during that composer’s anniversary year of 2009 and more recently in music by Mozart and Vanhal in the spring of 2017. The cellist will be a new colleague, Chelsea Bernstein, who by then will have completed her doctorate in cello at the University of Maryland with a dissertation exploring the historically-informed performance practice of sonatas for keyboard and cello and three recitals featuring the music of Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven, and Brahms.

The concert will begin with Mozart’s Piano Trio in C major, K. 548, and continue with his Violin Sonata in B-flat, K. 454. For the 2017 concert mentioned above the MacCrackens performed another Mozart violin sonata (in G major, K. 379) and they are equally enthusiastic about their next venture into this repertoire. Mozart’s piano trios are less well known than most of his chamber music, and having played one of the others many years ago with a different ensemble they are also delighted to be preparing this one to share with you.

So, as they used to say on mid-20th-century radio programs (using a phrase almost equally useful in musical contexts), “Stay tuned,” and we’ll look forward to seeing you next year.


Music and Gestalt coaching, my new direction!

Dear Friends of Ensemble Gaudior,

For me, performing music is not only about expressing myself, but also about being a free, sturdy, and capacious enough “vessel” to experience the music skillfully and buoyantly. My aim is to allow music’s beauty and creativity to have free space and expression through me.

In my quest to live more fully and creatively, over the past eight years I have become interested in Gestalt theory, which offers transcendent potentials for supporting people in their personal growth and creative development. Gestalt work is interested in how the body holds and transmits information, and what the work can reveal about the blocks that may get in the way of a person realizing their dreams and goals. As I know from personal experience, Gestalt can be very effective in helping you get “unstuck” from the places inside you that may be holding you back.

I have recently completed a full course of training, and am now certified as an ACC level Coach through the International Coaching Federation, and also as a Gestalt Pastoral Care Minister. Therefore, even though we know each other primarily through music, I would like to share my new creative dimension with you and invite you to join me in this process of exploration and discovery. To learn more, please visit my other website, Gestaltleadershipcoach.com.

 Wishing you a free and creative day,
Alexandra MacCracken