Last month, the Long Island Baroque Ensemble (LIBE) began its 50th concert season of performances of music of the 17th and 18th centuries for Long Island audiences. The next recitals will be on Dec. 7 at St. Andrews Lutheran Church in Smithtown and on Dec. 8 at Christ Church in Oyster Bay.
The group was founded in 1969 by Sonia Gezairlian Grib, a professor of music theory and history at Hofstra University as well as a harpsichordist and musicologist who was one of the pioneers of early music in the New York area. She assembled a large group of gifted professional artists, skilled performers of early music on period instruments not often seen on concert stages such as the lute, recorders, viola da gamba, chitarrone, harpsichord and various kinds of percussion, in addition to the better-known range of string instruments and reeds as well as vocalists.
While concert-goers are familiar with the works of J. S. Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi, Grib also ranged farther afield in the repertory of composers of the European medieval, renaissance and baroque eras. A grant from the Kosciuszko Foundation enabled her to explore Polish music of the 15th and 16th centuries; in addition, some LIBE programs included works by Swedish, Czech, Mexican and Middle Eastern composers. The organization has been supported by The New York State Council on the Arts, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and Suffolk County.
Grib retired in 2012 and passed away in 2018 at the age of 82. Her daughter, Margo Andrea, succeeded her as artistic director. The five programs in each season are presented in pairs: Saturday evenings in St. Andrews Lutheran Church in Smithtown (30 Brooksite Drive, No. 32) and Sunday afternoons in Christ Church in Oyster Bay (61 E. Main St.). Seasonal subscriptions or tickets to individual concerts are available online at www.libaroque.org or by mail from Long Island Baroque Ensemble, 154 W. 123rd Street, New York NY 10027.
—Submitted by the Long Island Baroque Ensemble