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Altramar medieval music ensemble: Home


Altramar, in the Occitan language of the troubadours, was the name given to the Near Eastern lands that lay “over the sea;” the lands where Crusade and trade resulted in the rich cultural interchange of East and West.

Altramar medieval music ensemble, founded in 1991 in Bloomington, Indiana and now based in Texas, specializes in music of the Medieval Era, sharing historical repertory in the context of human experience, and evoking the vibrant tapestry of medieval culture. Altramar combines a process of collaborative partnership with a commitment to scholarship and expression. Altramar’s members arrived at their medieval meeting place by way of diverse musical paths, which included chamber music, rock and folk, jazz, and liturgical musics. They met in the late 1980’s while studying with the groundbreaking medieval music scholar and performer Thomas Binkley (1931-1995), and have presented their unique blend of song and story, drama and rhetoric, and voices and instruments to audiences nationally and internationally.

In the past few years, the members of Altramar have devoted much of their energy and attention to early music in higher education. Jann Cosart and Angela Mariani both direct university early music ensembles (Jann at Baylor and Angela at Texas Tech University), and teach a variety of early music and performance practice courses in the Musicology departments of those institutions. Chris Smith is the Chair of the Musicology department at Texas Tech University and founder and director of TTU's Vernacular Music Center; he also directs TTU's Celtic Ensemble and the Elegant Savages Orchestra. David Stattelman is the Director of the Chant Choir at Resurrection Parish in Lansing, MI.

In 2009, Altramar was invited by J. Peter Burkholder, eminent musicologist and author/editor of A History of Western Music, to contribute three new tracks to The Norton Anthology of Music. The ensemble was honored to contribute to the world’s most widely-used music history text and anthology.

Welcome to Altramar's website -- please read on!