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Polyhymnia’s Artistic Director John Bradley

Polyhymnia’s Artistic Director John Bradley has played many roles in the world of historically informed performance. In addition to conducting and musicology, he has studied historical costuming, stage direction, and Baroque gesture. He was involved with fully staged productions of Carl Heinrich Graun’s Montezuma with the Arcadia Players, Purcell’s King Arthur with the Boston Early Music Festival, G.F. Handel’s Alcina with Ex-Machina Baroque Opera Company in Minneapolis, and Handel’s Dueling Sopranos with Julianne Baird, Beverly Hoch, and the Philadelphia Classical Orchestra. As a singer, John’s credits have included Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers and J. S. Bach’s Johannes Passion with ARTEK and the New Jersey Bach Festival, and numerous concerts of early choral music in small vocal ensembles. One of John’s favorite gigs was as a baroque “chorus boy” in a tour of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Amherst Early Music, in which he was a singer and a featured dancer. Over the years, John has sung with some of the finest church choirs in NYC.

John’s first and last love is small ensemble singing combined with interdisciplinary research in music, historical liturgy, and music history. He has assembled several early-modern liturgical reconstructions, including Masses and Vespers from Pre-Reformation England, Ireland, 16th Century Spain, and Imperial Germany. Well-versed in the reading and interpretation of Medieval and Renaissance notation of both chant and polyphony, John has created numerous original editions of Renaissance choral masterworks for Polyhymnia. In 2004 John’s edition of Jacob Vaet’s Missa Ego flos campi was performed in Boston as a Boston Early Music Festival fringe event. The mass was performed by Polyhymnia again in 2014, ten years after it was first completed. He has also made editions of Nicholas Gombert’s Missa Quam pulchra es and lavish 12-voice Regina Caeli, both of which were performed in New York, Boston, and Providence in June 2007. Other editorial projects include Cristóbal de Morales’ Missa pro defunctis, Palestrina’s Missa Assumpta est Maria, Francisco Guerrero’s Missa Surge propera, and John Taverner’s Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas, with which he has also edited the liturgical chant from Irish sources for A Mass for Patrick of Ireland in March of 2011. In 2014 he completed extensive revisions on Thomas Tallis’ hymn Quod chorus vatum and a new edition of John Sheppard’s Media vita. Most recently, John edited Robert Fayrfax’s Missa Tecum principium for Polyhymnia’s 2017 -2018 season. 

Over the years, John has provided musicological notes and performing editions for the Church and Choir of St. Luke in the Fields. These include their premiere concert and recording of Pierre de Manchicourt’s Missa Reges terrae and motets edited from Renaissance music publisher Pierre Attaingnant’s 1539 motet collection. The mass and motets were released on the critically acclaimed CD by MSR Classics in 2016. In 2019, he again provided the musicological notes for St. Luke’s well-received CD of the music of Palestrina. 

John holds degrees from Kalamazoo College, Western Michigan University, and Case Western Reserve University. He lives with Charles Keenan, his husband of nearly twenty-two years, and their overindulged and overfed cats Benjamin and Bartholomew in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Jersey City, NJ.  

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