Multi-instrumentalist Andrew Arceci has previously performed with the group

The Arcadia Players, the Valley-based ensemble that specializes in early baroque and classical music, have selected a former performer with the group as their new artistic director.

Andrew Arceci, an Acton-based multi-instrumentalist, teacher and songwriter, officially takes charge of the band on March 1 – and conditions permitting, he will be at the helm for live performances by the Arcadia Players this spring and summer.

He replaces harpsichordist and pianist Ian Watson, who conducted Arcadia Players for 10 years before leaving in 2018.

Arceci, who plays viola da gamba, violin and double bass, was one of three director candidates, all of whom were invited to conduct baroque music online concerts last year with members of the Arcadia Players as part of the auditions. to treat. Arceci’s program, “The Migration of Italian Music,” examined the spread of Italian styles across Europe and beyond during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Jon Solins, head of the Arcadia Players board, said the three nominees – the other two were violinists Daniel Lee and Jude Ziliak – are extremely accomplished musicians and instructors. “We had to make a pretty difficult choice among three very talented and creative people,” he said.

What tipped the scales for Arceci, he said, was his personality and varied skills.

“Andrew is just a really outgoing, outgoing person – he really engages with people,” Solins said. “And like any organization, when we look to the future and ways to grow our audience, we think they’re going to be a great person to do that, meet people.

“He’s also a multi-faceted artist,” Solins said. “He brings a lot of organizational skills to his job. And the fact that he’s played with us and knows some of our performers is definitely something in his favor.

Arceci, who currently works and studies music in Europe, said he was excited to join the Arcadia Players, as he is particularly drawn to the group’s history of so-called “historically informed performances”: music that aims to be faithful to the approach and style of the era in which a composition was written.

As Solins explains, this can take the form of instruments that vary in construction and tone from their modern counterparts, and in music – a Bach concerto, say – that is played and sung at a tempo or different volume than a modern version of the same music. With the Arcadia Players, these concerts can have up to 35 performers or as few as four or five, depending on the music being played.

In an email, Arceci said he began his college-level musical training at the Peabody Conservatory “in orchestra and jazz bass, but I quickly became interested in the history of the double bass, the early repertoire and art history Naturally, these interests led to historically informed performances.

Arceci went on to graduate from The Juilliard School and the University of Oxford, and he has since performed with a number of groups specializing in period music, including Boston Baroque and the Handel & Haydn Society (also located in Boston). He also previously conducted the Collegium Musicum at Wellesley College, an ensemble devoted to the performance of early music on original instruments.

In a podcast last month, he discussed the challenges of balancing playing and directing in early music performances, rather than leading from a stage for more modern music: “You’ve got an ear with this. that you do, and you try to get another ear with the set.

Arceci is also the founder and director of the Winchendon (Massachusetts) Music Festival, an annual event that features classical music as well as a range of other styles including world music, jazz, and folk.

“That Andrew had that kind of musical background and interest was another thing about him that I personally liked,” Solins said.

In addition to working with Arcadia players, Arceci said he will continue to oversee the Winchendon Festival, which like so many other musical events has had to be postponed for the past two years due to the pandemic. “In the arts,” he says, “it’s quite common to have multiple jobs: I play, record, teach, arrange, compose, and so on.

In fact, he has performed and recorded with a number of organizations including the BBC, in Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland.

He and Solins say they are hopeful Arcadia players, who have limited themselves to online or live performances for the past two years, can return for live performances this spring. Solins says the group plans to present “The Passion According to Saint Matthew”, an oratorio by German Baroque composer Johann Theile (not the best known “Passion According to Saint Matthew” by Bach), in April.

“We were supposed to do it in April 2020, then in April 2021, and both times we had to cancel it,” Solins said with a laugh. “We hope we can finally succeed this year. “

Ideally, the group will also offer a summer concert that features programming designed by Arceci as a way to present it to the public here, Solins said.

“And after that, he will work out the programming for 2022-2023,” Solins added. “We are all really looking forward to working with him. “

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