Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Event Slides Per Node 1415

  • Members of an orchestra—some sitting on a chaise lounge or chairs and all wearing monochrome formal clothing—hold their instruments and smile for the camera.
  • An orchestra arranged sporadically on a stage play their stringed, wind and percussion instruments.
  • A woman wearing a floor-length flowing gown sings while a musician and a man holding a booklet look on from the shadows.
  • An orchestra performs while a man sitting on the stage floor in front of them watches.

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
and Trio Arabica
Tales of Two Cities:
The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House

Elisa Citterio, music director

7:30 pm Thursday, February 28, 2019

“Toronto audiences have become so accustomed to the spectacular and varied multimedia extravaganzas cooked up by the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra’s resident storyteller, Alison Mackay, that we sometimes forget how unique they are,” writes a critic for The Globe and Mail of Toronto. “Here are members of a great baroque orchestra, playing at the peak of their form for two hours, having memorized the entire concert, prowling around the stage in seemingly carefree abandon, supported by text, images, and a clever storyline. It’s no wonder so many of Mackay’s creations have been performed for audiences around the world—there’s really nothing like them. Mackay’s latest effort … Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House … may be the most profound of them all.”

It’s 1740, and coffee houses are the places to listen to music and share stories—in both the famous trading centers of Leipzig and in one of the oldest cities in the world, Damascus. Experience the visual splendor, music, and contemporary stories of these historic locations in Tales of Two Cities. Tafelmusik performs Baroque selections by J. S. Bach, George Frideric Handel, and Georg Philipp Telemann, while Trio Arabica—an ensemble featuring vocals, percussion, and oud (a lute-like instrument)—intersperses Middle Eastern music.

“Despite the distance, in the eighteenth century the two places evidently had much in common. Both lay at the crossroads of ancient trade routes. Both were hubs of intellectual activity. And both relished the ‘stimulating properties and restorative powers’ of coffee and music in their coffee houses, where the finest musicians of each city performed,” writes a reviewer for The Huffington Post Canada. “… If one feared a stylistic clash between the Baroque selections played by Tafelmusik and traditional Arabic music played by the Trio Arabica, such a fear proved unfounded: these elements were knitted together in a fluid presentation.”

Tafelmusik previously appeared at Schwab in performances of its multimedia productions House of Dreams, The Galileo Project: Music of the Spheres, and J. S. Bach: The Circle of Creation.

Artistic Viewpoints will not be offered before this performance, but artists will engage in conversation with audience members after the concert.

ticketmaster.com is a resale marketplace. Ticket prices may be above or below face value.

Adult $44
University Park Student $15
18 and Younger $34

Gay and James Dunne

support provided by
Nina C. Brown Endowment


Artist Websites: