The Waverly Consort is one of America's premiere ensembles and a pioneer in the early-music field.
Founded in 1964 by Michael and Kay Jaffee to explore the sounds and styles of early musical repertories, the ensemble has created a worldwide audience for its music through international concerts, recordings, and radio and television appearances. In addition to annual tours of North America, the ensemble has appeared throughout South America, Great Britain, Portugal, the Far East, and at international festivals including the Casals Festival, the Hong Kong Festival, the Madeira Bach Festival, and the Caramoor Festival. In its home city of New York, the group has performed 100 concerts at Lincoln Center, in addition to concert series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and The Cloisters, as well as at cultural centers throughout the country.
Featured on many national radio and television broadcasts, the ensemble has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning and National Public Radio's Performance Today. Its numerous recordings include the best-selling A Renaissance Christmas Celebration with the Waverly Consort (CBS Masterworks), and 1492: Music from the Age of Discovery (Angel-EMI), created to commemorate the Columbian Quincentenary, and listed on Billboard's classical chart of bestsellers for seventeen weeks. In 1999 The Waverly Consort launched its own record label, WAVE RECORDS, with The Christmas Story (WAV 13099), featuring selections from its most popular medieval program. Its most recent release is ¡IBERIA! Spanish and Portuguese Music of the Golden Age (WAV 14002).
Each holiday season the Waverly Consort's thirteen-member ensemble of singers and players tours The Christmas Story, a program combining solemn and festive music, processions and simple gestures to dramatize the Biblical narrative as conveyed by music manuscripts and illuminated miniatures of the Middle Ages. Since its premiere at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1980, this seasonal offering has become a favorite of audiences throughout North America. At other times during the year, the ensemble performs programs of wide breadth and variety, covering repertories from Europe and both American hemispheres.
The Waverly Consort and Michael and Kay Jaffee, in recognition of their role in furthering the development of early music and chamber music, have been awarded honors by the National Music Council, the Music Educators National Conference, Chamber Music America, Early Music America, Gotham Early Music Scene and New York University.