The ensemble Phaedrus aims to rekindle the forgotten sound of the Renaissance traverso consort for modern audiences, performing Western polyphony of the 16th and early 17th centuries.
Formed during their studies at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, the members of Phaedrus come from around the world—USA, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Italy and Switzerland—giving each performer the opportunity to lend their unique and distinguished perspective to the interpretation of the music performed on stage. During their studies at the SCB, the ensemble was guided collectively and individually by teachers such as Anne Smith, Johanna Bartz, Dominique Vellard, Peter Croton, Crawford Young, Marc Lewon and Baptiste Romain.
Originally a four-piece consort, Phaedrus is now enriched by the membership of Miriam Trevisan (voice) and John Martling (lute) to delve even further into the relationship of the Renaissance traverso to the human voice, as well as to contemporary instruments from the time period. Phaedrus performs on flutes made by the renowned maker, Giovanni Tardino, after the original consort of flutes which survive in the Accademia Filarmonica in Verona.
The ensemble was brought together by a shared fascination with the powerful yet refined beauty of Renaissance music, as well as the humanist philosophy and rhetorical practices which gave music its distinctive character in the 16th and 17th centuries. With this in mind, the name 'Phaedrus' was chosen from Plato's classic text in which Socrates claimed that the art of rhetoric flowed from madness, divine inspiration, and above all else, love.