Our Work and Mission
Cut Circle’s mission is to bring late-medieval and Renaissance music to life. Hailed as “masterful,” “driving,” and “expressive,” our performances are informed by deep knowledge of the music’s twists and turns as well as cutting-edge research that uses primary documents to unlock questions of performance practice. As a non-profit organization we give concerts and lecture-recitals, organize workshops, and publish recordings for students, scholars, and general audiences. The ensemble has performed at venues throughout the United States and in Europe, with recent appearances at Musica Sacra (Maastricht, The Netherlands), Laus Polyphoniae (Antwerp, Belgium), and the Tage Alter Musik (Regensburg, Germany), and upcoming performances at the Early Music Season (the Netherlands), Stanford Live, and the San Francisco Early Music Society.
Founded in 2003 by Jesse Rodin (Director), Cut Circle specializes in the music of Guillaume Du Fay, Johannes Ockeghem, Josquin des Prez, and their contemporaries. In 2010 the ensemble received the Noah Greenberg Award (American Musicological Society), which recognizes outstanding contributions to historical performing practices. Cut Circle has also received the Prix Olivier Messiaen, Editor’s Choice (Gramophone), and a Diapason d’Or. Current projects include a trio of albums that juxtapose the complete songs of Johannes Ockeghem with chansons by Antoine Busnoys and anonymous works from the newly discovered Leuven Chansonnier; a collaborative project with Professor Emily Zazulia at UC Berkeley on the concept of difficulty in fifteenth-century music; and a series of medieval feasting events. Cut Circle records for the Belgian label Musique en Wallonie.
The ensemble is named for a symbol that in the fifteenth century functioned as both a time signature and a tempo marking—and indeed we take seriously the tempo implications of signs such as “Cut Circle.”