Conductor Jeannette Sorrell
GRAMMY-winning conductor Jeannette Sorrell is recognized internationally as one of today’s most compelling interpreters of Baroque and Classical repertoire. The daughter of a European immigrant father and an American mother, she grew up as a musician and dancer, and is credited by BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE for “forging a vibrant, life-affirming approach to early music.”
She studied conducting under Leonard Bernstein, Roger Norrington and Robert Spano at the Tanglewood and Aspen music festivals; and studied harpsichord with Gustav Leonhardt in Amsterdam. She won First Prize in the Spivey International Harpsichord Competition, competing against over 70 harpsichordists from Europe, Israel, the U.S., and the Soviet Union.
Sorrell is the founder and artistic director of APOLLO’S FIRE, and has led the renowned period ensemble as conductor and harpsichord soloist in sold-out concerts from Carnegie Hall and London’s BBC Proms to the Tanglewood and Ravinia festivals. With nearly 7 million views of 3 their YouTube videos, Sorrell and Apollo’s Fire have released 26 commercial CDs, including 8 bestsellers on the Billboard classical chart and a 2019 GRAMMY® winner. Her recordings include the complete Brandenburg Concerti and harpsichord concerti of Bach; Bach’s St John Passion; Handel’s Messiah; and the Monteverdi Vespers, among others.
In demand with symphony orchestras and period groups alike, Sorrell makes debuts this season with the New York Philharmonic (Handel’s Messiah) and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (Bach’s St John Passion). She has repeatedly conducted the Pittsburgh Symphony, St Paul Chamber Orchestra, Utah Symphony, and New World Symphony, and also led the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Opera St Louis with the St Louis Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (San Francisco), the Florida Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic (Canada), and the Royal Northern Sinfonia (UK), among others.
Sorrell is the subject of the 2019 documentary by Academy award-winning director Allan Miller, titled PLAYING WITH FIRE. She has also been featured on Living the Classical Life. She has attracted national awards for her creative programming and her “storytelling” approach to early music, which has attracted many new listeners through the use of contextual and dramatic elements.
She holds an honorary doctorate from Case Western University and an award from the American Musicological Society. Passionate about guiding the next generation of performers, she is the architect of Apollo’s Fire’s Young Artist Apprentice program, which has produced many of the nation’s leading young professional baroque players; and the new Artistic Leadership Fellows program.