Biography Ensemble Peregrina & Agnieszka Budzinska-Bennett

Ensemble Peregrina & Agnieszka Budzinska-BennettEnsemble Peregrina & Agnieszka Budzinska-Bennett

Ensemble Peregrina
founded in 1997 by Polish singer and musicologist Agnieszka Budzińska-Bennett in Basle, researches and performs sacred and secular music from ninth to fourteenth century Europe. The ensemble’s main interest lies in the early polyphonies and monophonic repertories of the Notre Dame school and Aquitanian nova cantica; the aim always being to look for a creative “counterpoint” to the mainstream in the less known peripheral sources. The ensemble’s programmes are characterised by a careful choice of themes and pieces, always paying close attention to their textual and musical interrelationships. ​

Peregrina’s interpretation and style is informed by the original source materials and treatises, as well as the latest musicological and historical research. The ensemble strives to approach a performance transmitted in the sources as closely as possible without having to renounce a well-balanced and beautiful vocal performance. ​

The ensemble’s continuing partnership with the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, where its members met and studied, led to the CD recordings Mel et lac (Raumklang 2005) with Marian Aquitanian songs of the 12th century and Filia praeclara (Divox 2008) with medieval music from 13th and 14th century Polish Clarisse convents. Both CDs have received critical acclaim in the European and American press including among others: twice Goldberg 5 (ES), Selection Musicora (CH), CD of the month (Muzyka 21 PL), Supersonic Pizzicato (LUX). Filia praeclara has also won the prestigious ECHO-KLASSIK Award 2009 for the best a cappella recording of the year. Between 2011-2017, six new CDs have been released: Crux with Parisian Easter music from 13th & 14th centuries (Glossa 2011), Sacer Nidus with the oldest extant music from medieval Poland (Raumklang 2011), Veiled Desires – Lives and Loves of Nuns in the Middle Ages (Raumklang 2012, International Classical Music Awards 2013 nomination), Cantrix, presenting the musical past of the Maltese Order form the Royal Convents of Sigena and Las Huelgas (Raumklang 2013), Miracula with medieval music for St. Nicholas (Tacet 2014) and Codex 457 with medieval music from Tyrol (Musikmuseum 2017). On the first volume of a four-CD project Mare Balticum with the oldest extant music from Denmark (Music in medieval Denmark, released by Tacet 2017), Peregrina was joined by the renowned performer Benjamin Bagby (Sequentia). This album has won the International Classical Music Awards ICMA 2019 in the early music category. The second Mare Balticum recording – Medieval Finland and Sweden (Tacet 2019) – has received Supersonic Pizzicato and the nomination for ICMA 2020. Volume 3 - the complete songs of Wizlav von Rügen (Tacet 2020) - got also ICMA nomination 2021. The last Mare Balticum album Pomerania with medieval music from northern Poland and Germany was released in 2021.

Peregrina has performed at numerous festivals in Switzerland (such as Lucerne Festival), Belgium (Bozar), Poland, Germany, Spain, France, Austria, Great Britain, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Iceland, Italy, Czech Republic, The Netherlands and toured three times in the USA. Peregrina’s concerts have been regularly broadcast on SFR2, Deutschlandfunk, Südwestfunk, SWR2, BR, Klaasika Radio, PR2 und BBC3. ​

The name peregrina, the wanderer, alludes to the transmission of music and ideas throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, but also reflects the personal journeys of the singers themselves. The ensemble members (coming from Poland, Switzerland, Finland, Germany, France and Great Britain) together achieve a dynamic balance through their different origins, and they unite to emulate the interaction and convergence of the cultures and histories of the music they perform. ​

At present the core of the ensemble is Agnieszka Budzińska-Bennett, Lorenza Donadini, Hanna Järveläinen, Grace Newcombe, Baptiste Romain and Marc Lewon. For the project Mare Balticum the ensemble was joined by Benjamin Bagby (Sequentia). ​

Kelly Landerkin has been most valuable ensemble member for 20 years. During over two decades of our concert activity, we've also been working with singers Ulrike Andersen, Clara Coutouly, Anita Dettwiler (the co-founder of the group), Kate Dineen, Raitis Grigalis, Eve Kopli, Els Janssens, Veronika Jensovska-Holliger, Agnieszka Kowalczyk, Sabine Lutzenberger, Hanna Marti, Tobie Miller, Kinga Misiak, Matthieu Romanens, Cristina Rosario, Csongor Szántó, Mathias Spoerry, Witte-Maria Weber and Agnieszka Tutton, and instrumentalists Jane Achtman, Susanne Ansorg, Annette Bauer, Viva Biancaluna Biffi, Isacco Colombo, Bolette Roed, Elisabeth Rumsey, Félix Verry, Mara Winter and Aliénor Wolteche.

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