Third Coast Baroque Announces Closure

By Adela Skowronski |

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11 musicians of Third Coast Baroque in a sunlit red brick hallway; some with their instruments including violins, cello, theorbo, and charango.

Third Coast Baroque (Photo: Elliot Mandel)

Third Coast Baroque announced the end of its run as an ensemble on January 17, 2024. The Chicago based group was a leader in the field of Baroque music, presenting engaging, educational concerts over the last seven years.

In a letter posted online, executive director Angela Young Smucker cited financial concerns as a contributor to the group’s disbanding. Like many groups across the nation, Third Coast Baroque faced diminishing audience sizes and reduced grant funding possibilities after years of concert disruptions by COVID-19.

Over the years, Third Coast Baroque Concerts ranged from Handel rarities and romantic madrigals, to undiscovered operas and sacred poetry. In 2019, the group gave a Chicago premiere of Handel’s first oratorio Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno, HWV 46a, and continued to host live streamed productions throughout the pandemic.

Education and accessibility were parts of Third Coast Baroque’s mission as they introduced a “pay what you can” model for tickets. Artistic director Rubén Dubrovsky strived to redefine modern day assumptions about Baroque Music, using his knowledge of classical and folk music to shed light on the African and Latin roots of the artform.

Third Coast Baroque was established in 2016 by conductor Rubén Dubrovsky, mezzo-soprano Angela Young Smucker, and soprano Nathalie Colas. Daniel Pyne was the group’s first board president. During its seven years, Third Coast Baroque welcomed a variety of musical guests, with a core group including Nathalie Colas and Kaitlin Foley (sopranos), Paul Max Tipton (bass-baritone), Martin Davids (concertmaster, violin), Emi Tanabe and Wendy Benner (violins), Liz Hagen (viola), Anna Steinhoff (cello, viola da gamba), Jerry Fuller (violone), and Brandon Acker (lute, theorbo).

Check out a WFMT livestream of a Third Coast Baroque rehearsal here, or listen to the ensemble's interpretation of Vivaldi's Concerto for Strings in G Minor at this link. We thank the members of Third Coast Baroque for a wonderful run of concerts and wish them luck in future endeavors.