Feb. 5, 2009     
Contact: Karen Cardinal
Accounting, Web and Marketing Manager, Mead Art Museum

AMHERST, Mass.—The renowned early-music ensemble Fortune’s Wheel will present a medieval Tour de France, featuring chant, 12th-century dance songs, trouvère songs and the polyphonic high art of Machaut, Binchois and Dufay in the Mead Art Museum’s historic Rotherwas Room at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 22. This wide-ranging program takes its motto from the words of the 14th-century poet and composer, Guillaume de Machaut: “Music is the science that makes us sing, and dance, and laugh.” The concert is free of charge; no tickets or advance reservations are required.

Fortune’s Wheel is a spirited collaboration of three distinguished early-music performers—Lydia Heather Knutson, Aaron Sheehan, and Robert Mealy—devoted to rediscovering the riches of medieval musical traditions. Their performances combine a meticulous attention to vocal sonority and instrumental virtuosity with an engaging sense of theater and improvisation. At the Mead, the ensemble will perform in the museum’s 17th-century walnut-paneled room from Rotherwas Court in Herefordshire, England.

As museum director Elizabeth Barker notes, “This concert offers the unrivaled pleasure of hearing exquisite early music in a room whose walls must often have resounded with similar notes over the centuries.”

Between them, the members of the ensemble have recorded over 100 early-music CDs. They have performed on nearly every early music series in America and received rave reviews at international festivals in Germany and Mexico. Their deep experience and personal warmth have won them a devoted following wherever they appear. The event is co-sponsored by the department of Music, with generous support from the Adams Fund, the department of English, and the Lucius Root Eastman 1895 Lecture Fund.

The Mead Art Museum houses the art collection of Amherst College, totaling more than 16,000 works. An accredited member of the American Association of Museums, the Mead participates in Museums10, a regional cultural collaboration. During the academic term, the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to midnight and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, please visit the museum’s Web site, www.amherst/museums/mead, or call 413/542-2335.