A specialist in standard classical guitar as well as various early guitars and lutes, Elizabeth C. D. Brown of Seattle, Washington is a very active performer throughout the Pacific Northwest, giving an average of 50 concerts a year. Highlights of the 2007–08 season include a recital at the US Embassy in N’Djamena, Chad for various ambassadors and dignitaries (January), a duo baroque guitar recital with Stephen Stubbs (April) and performing in the pit for operas by Monteverdi (November) and Rossini (March). Known for her musically passionate performances, she has given solo recitals and performed concertos throughout the United States and in Canada. In addition, she has been a featured soloist for the Seattle Bach Choir, Fresno Pacific University’s Musica Pacifica Baroque, the Northwest Chamber Chorus, Pacific Lutheran University’s Choral Union and St. Mark’s Cathedral Associates. Ms. Brown’s first solo recording, La Folia de Espaņa: Dances for Guitar, features works for baroque, 19th century, and modern guitars, and has been warmly welcomed by the early music and guitar communities. Also active as an ensemble musician, Ms. Brown is a member of Baroque Northwest, La Lira, the Puget Sound Consort and Ayres and Graces, and has appeared in the Seattle Early Music Guild’s three baroque opera productions and with various other ensembles. An enthusiastic advocate for the guitar and lute, Ms. Brown has given numerous outreach performances at schools, senior centers, and community centers for the Seattle Classic Guitar Society and the Seattle Early Music Guild, as well as by arrangement while on tour. She is head of the Guitar and Lute program at Pacific Lutheran University, and has taught at Seattle Pacific University, the Accademia d’Amore (baroque opera workshop, Seattle), and the Baroque Boot Camp (Seattle).
Ms. Brown’s recital, entitled Women of Good Courage, explores the lives and music of three extraordinary women. The German Princess Elisabeth von Hessen (1596–1625) was raised in a very cosmopolitan and artistic household, as directed by her father Landgraf Moritz von Hessen, also known as a composer. She received the same education as her brothers and, based on the difficulty level of the pieces in her recently published lute manuscript, she reached a high level of proficiency as a lutenist. Princess Anne (1709–1759) was the daughter of King George II of England who chose to marry the Dutch ruler William IV of Orange, and ruled with him as an equal partner. Her manuscript of solo guitar works is made up mostly of French dances in the new style galant, but also includes some remarkable examples of music with a distinctive Gaelic influence. The French composer and virtuoso harpsichordist Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre (ca. 1665–1729) wrote a variety of works, including a volume of solo harpsichord pieces, the well-received opera, Cephale et Procris and several violin sonatas, all at a time when women composers were considered an oddity, at best. Following a common practice of baroque guitarists, Ms. Brown will perform her own arrangements of works from Jacquet de la Guerre’s dramatic violin sonatas, which are remarkable for their complex harmonies and quickly shifting tonalities, as well as a daring mix of French and Italian styles.