Surrounded by Angels

Surrounded by Angels: A Christmas Celebration with Ensemble Galilei

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2 Disc Set: Audio CD and Blu-Ray Surround DVD

Captivating. Monumentally expressive. Powerful. Passionate performances.

From the opening unison strings of Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence to the last note of Silent Night, this CD courses with the extraordinary arrangements of Ensemble Galilei, created by musicians whose musical sensibilities have been shaped by their personal histories. Each renowned in their fields – two winners of the All-Ireland Senior Championship, two winners of the U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Championship, a four-time winner of the U.S. National Scottish Harp Championship, one Fulbright Scholar – they bring phenomenal talents to bear. What comes from this wealth of experience and expertise is an astonishing recording.

A set of whimsical Irish slip jigs follows Greensleeves. The uillean pipes, soulful and wild, solo on the familiar Wexford Carol. The violin, viola and viola da gamba transform I Wonder as I Wander. Each track a revelation, Ensemble Galilei has made Surrounded By Angels so rich and so deep that it transcends the genres of Irish or Scottish or Early Music. So much more than the sum of its parts, this is the recording that will stand year after year as the most beloved recording for the Christmas season.


A Change of Worlds album cover

A Change of Worlds

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All the music recorded for this CD is part of First Person: Seeing America — a collaboration between Ensemble Galilei and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. This multi-disciplinary project includes photographs from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, poetry and prose about America, and the music of Ensemble Galilei. It premiered in New York in October of 2010.

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Notes from Across the Sea: Ann Mayo Muir and Ensemble Galilei

A traveler, sailor and lifelong musician, Ann Mayo Muir has composed original music from her connection with the people and places she has known. She asked Ensemble Galilei to arrange and record the pieces, and the result is a CD which features thirteen tunes woven together with Celtic harp, fiddle, recorder, whistle, oboe, guitar, percussion and viola da gamba creating “a feast for the musical gourmet!”




From the Edge of the World

Celtic traditional music, early music, and some of our own tunes, played on harp, fiddle, viola da gamba, recorders, and percussion. The music is from our multi-media show, First Person: Stories from the Edge of the World.

Journeys take all forms. We began a journey to develop a show with the National Geographic Society’s blessing and support, called First Person: Stories From the Edge of the World. It involved readings of poetry and diaries of explorers from several centuries and around the world. This was accompanied by photographs from the NGS archives, and music to make it all come together. Here, we present the music: some Celtic, some Scandinavian, some early, and a few tunes that we wrote ourselves.

Recorded in early 2007, Hanneke Cassel has joined us as fiddler extrordinaire, and Allison Edberg plays violin and viola on the early music. Kathryn Montoya plays recorders, pennywhistle, and baroque oboe, Carolyn Anderson Surrick plays viola da gamba, and Sue Richards plays the Celtic harp. Glen Velez joined us on percussion, and Jackie Moran played the Irish bodhran.

The music includes some wild Scottish strathspeys and reels, exquisite string trios, an Irish air, a great waltz for Sue’s daughter, some killer Swedish tunes, and some tunes we wrote with specific stories in mind, but that stand alone as just great tunes. We each took a solo or lead, so each instrument can be heard on its own as well as in ensemble.



Recorded at Bias Studios in Springfield VA, Alta is the first self produced, studio recording made by Ensemble Galilei. Using award winning engineer, Bob Dawson, and mastered by Airshow’s Charlie Pilzer.

Featuring Liz Knowles on fiddle; Sue Richards on Celtic harp; Debbie Nuse on Scottish small pipes and fiddle; Kathryn Montoya on recorders, whistle, shawm and oboe; and Carolyn Anderson Surrick on viola da gamba. For this project, Ensemble Galilei enlisted percussionist, Laura Jordan, and renowned uilleann piper and whistle player Kieran O’Hare. Their work matches the brilliant virtuosity of the group.

Trademark repertoire choices abound—a medieval set of dances is followed by an Irish march, followed by an original composition. A breathtaking, deeply orchestrated lament by Turlough O’Carolan is followed by a stunning six minute fiddle solo. The strengths of these six musicians are brought to every second of these performances and the engineering of Dawson is masterful. Add to that, unorthodox and highly effective sequencing, and you may find yourself traveling an unusual and rewarding road while listening. Enjoy.


A Winter’s Night: Christmas in the Great Hall

“… a lovely blend of instrumental music on A Winter’s Night….The most charming aspect of the collection, however, is the way the Ensemble Galilei weaves all of these melodies into a 55-minute tapestry broken only by an enthusiastic audience response between each piece.”
Dirty Linen (folk/world magazine)




From the Isles to the Courts

“Medieval and Renaissance tunes, beautifully rendered…” –San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Members of the Ensemble Galilei consider the pursuit of this ancient music as a labor of love.” –The Baltimore Sun





Come Gentle Night: Music of Shakespeare’s World

The music of Shakespeare’s world: country dances from England, Irish jigs and reels, Scottish strathspeys, and original music inspired by the writings of Shakespeare.

“The blend of old and new pieces, arranges for fiddle, harp, pipes, viola da gamba, recorder and percussion, is as seamless as it is evocative, and the six women who make up Gaililei Ensemble once again perform with seemingly effortless grace and precision.” –The Washington Post




The Mystic and the Muse: Celebrating 60 Years of Women in Music

Six hundred years of music by and about women, from Hildegarde von Bingen to original material, with Turlough O’Carolan, Widmann, and some nice Irish reels. Recorded as a joint effort between National Public Radio and Dorian Discovery Records, this is a project close to our hearts.





Following the Moon

Instrumental music of Ireland, Scotland, England, and beyond.





Ancient Noels

Ancient and Favorite Christmas carols from Europe and British Isles. All instrumental.

“Ancient Noels is one of the years’ best…a mystical majesty fuels both stately medieval processionals, sprightly Dutch and Basque carols.” –The Washington Post




Music in the Great Hall: Instrumental Music from the Ancient Celtic Lands

Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and Manx traditional tunes recorded live in concerts at the Great Hall at St. John’s College in Annapolis.





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