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Tucson Baroque Festival postponed due to spike in COVID cases

Tucson Baroque Festival postponed due to spike in COVID cases

Arizona Early Music has postponed its Tucson Baroque Music Festival that was set to be part of the Tucson Desert Song Festival Jan. 28-30.

AEM Executive Director Dominic Giardino said the move was in response to the state’s rising COVID-19 cases and the threat of the highly contagious omicron variant.

“The big factor at play here is that we have 11 musicians coming from all over the country, predominantly from New York, and we have three programs, and every player is indispensable,” Giardino said Tuesday, not long after the AEM board had officially hit pause on its January programs.

It is the second Song Festival event that has been postponed because of the pandemic.

True Concord Voices & Orchestra hit pause on its January programs on Jan. 6 and postponed three concerts and a recital with soprano Susanna Phillips that were supposed to take place the same weekend as the AEM festival.

Phillips, who was to sing the world premiere of Jocelyn Hagen‘s “Here I Am” that was commissioned by True Concord, is set to make up those dates Jan. 28-30, 2023, according to True Concord Music Director Eric Holtan.

The Tucson Baroque Music Festival is Arizona Early Music’s most ambitious program in its 40-year history. Normally, the organization specializes in presenting concerts by early music — think 15th and 16th centuries — artists often performing on period instruments.

Baritone Tyler Duncan was among the artists expected to perform at Arizona Early Music’s Tucson Baroque Music Festival Jan. 28-30. The event was postponed because of the rising COVID numbers.

“It’s an exciting, ambitious project that will happen,” said Giardino, who was hired in August — the first time in its history that AEM has had a paid employee.

Arizona Early Music will resume live events in February, when it brings in the viola da gamba quartet Parthenia on Feb. 27. In March, the lute duo of Paul O’Dette and Ronn McFarlane will perform virtuoso works from Italy and England.

In April, AEM is hosting the four-time Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble Tallis Scholars from the United Kingdom. For tickets and more information, visit

Giardino said the Tucson Baroque Music Festival could be rescheduled for early next season, possibly in October.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at On Twitter @Starburch

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