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Dryden Ensemble celebrates 25th anniversary, starting with Autumn Benefit


The Dryden Ensemble will celebrate its 25th anniversary this season, beginning with its Autumn Benefit at 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6.

The special event will hosted by Brian Fix at his historic home, the first of President Woodrow Wilson’s residences in Princeton, N.J.

The evening includes theatrical entertainment, “An Eyewitness Guide to Versailles,” featuring actors Roberta Maxwell and Paul Hecht, followed by a buffet dinner and silent auction. Reservations are required. Tickets cost $150 per person and may be purchased online or by mail.

On Friday, Oct. 18, at 7:30 p.m., the ensemble will present an all-Bach organ recital on the organ in Miller Chapel at the Princeton Theological Seminary. The recital, titled “Bach and the Art of Dance,” features organist Jacob Street, the winner of several international prizes.

The main concert series opens at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, at Miller Chapel with “A Baroque Tapestry,” a program weaving together music from Lully to Bach for two oboes, bassoon, strings and harpsichord, including Bach’s “Harpsichord Concerto in D Major.” The concert will also be performed at Trinity Episcopal Church in Solebury at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9.

Lutenist Daniel Swenberg, a Dryden Ensemble regular who performed on Broadway in “Farinelli and the King” and who will be playing at the Metropolitan Opera again this season in Handel’s “Agrippina,” will perform a free concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16, at Miller Chapel. Swenberg will guide the audience through the thicket of plucked stringed instruments and national styles in a program titled “Three Centuries of Lutes.”

To cap off the season, the ensemble will present an intimate production of Bach’s “St. John Passion” with a choir of eight singers, as Bach did, and a small orchestra of period instruments led by Scott Metcalfe, a well-known early music director.

The effect of this scoring is that instead of a mass of sound one hears individual lines emerge from the texture with greater clarity, and the soloists, rather than sitting aloof from the action during the chorales and choruses, are full participants in the heart-rending and cathartic events.

There will be three performances: Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14, at 7:30 p.m. at Miller Chapel on the Princeton Theological Seminary campus, and 3 p.m. Sunday, March 15, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Solebury.

Tickets may be purchased at, by mail, or at the door, but early purchase is advised for Bach’s “St. John Passion” tickets.

Tickets for the organ recital Oct. 18 and “A Baroque Tapestry” Nov. 10 are $25 for general admission and free to students with an ID. Tickets for the St. John Passion are $45 for general admission and $10 for students. For subscription prices, visit the website.