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Blue Heron Celebrates the Culmination of Okeghem@600 With a Festive Okeghem Weekend

Blue Heron has brought a monumental project to fruition: the ensemble has now performed every single surviving piece of music by the great Franco-Flemish Renaissance composer Johannes Okeghem—and will release Volume II of the two-disc set Johannes Ockeghem: Complete Songs in April! Join us April 12-14 to celebrate with a three-day weekend of music, talks, and Belgian delights.

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Blue Heron presents Okeghem Weekend, a three-day celebration April 12-14 of the great Franco-Flemish composer Johannes Okeghem. In 2015, Blue Heron inaugurated Okeghem@600, a multi-season project to commemorate the circa-600th birthday of the composer by performing his complete works, finishing up in 2024 with their second disc of his songs.

Johannes Okeghem (c. 1420-1497) is one of the most celebrated musicians of the fifteenth century and one of the greatest composers of all time, every bit the equal of J.S. Bach in contrapuntal technique and profound expressivity, and like Bach able to combine the most rigorous intellectual structure with a beguiling sensuality. His two dozen songs set French lyric poetry to exquisitely crafted polyphony in which all voices are granted equally beautiful and compelling melodies.

Blue Heron’s project to record all of Okeghem’s songs bore its first fruits in 2019 with the release of Johannes Ockeghem: Complete Songs, Volume I, which was named to the Bestenliste of the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik and selected as a Notable Recording of 2019 by The New Yorker. The New York Times hailed Blue Heron as an “outstanding early-music ensemble,” while Gramophone complimented the performances of “absolute clarity, beautifully in tune, beautifully balanced and beautifully recorded.” The release of the recording of Volume 2 will follow this April.

Building on this unique expertise, the ensemble presents a selection of the master’s very best in the context of music by his contemporaries and colleagues in a weekend filled with music and merriment. The Saturday afternoon concert emerges as the jewel in the crown of this weekend-long festivities, which feature enlightening public talks, immersive master classes, and a lively pub concert where Belgian beers and cuisine set the stage for an unforgettable blend of tunes and tastes.

“A dream that formed itself in my mind in the middle of a concert nearly a decade ago has now been realized: Blue Heron is now almost certainly the only ensemble in the world to have sung every piece written by Johannes Okeghem—one of the greatest composers of all time,” said Blue Heron’s artistic director, Scott Metcalfe. ”Blue Heron’s Okeghem Weekend not only celebrates that accomplishment, but also offers an opportunity to learn more about this most complex music. And we will welcome all to sing some Okeghem with us at the end of the Saturday evening masterclass—not to be missed!”

Okeghem Weekend Opening Festivities
Friday, April 12, 7:30 pm
Margaret Jewett Hall, First Church in Cambridge (11 Garden Street, Cambridge)
Tickets: $10-$50

Keynote address by Sean Gallagher from the New England Conservatory, with performances by Blue Heron, and an opening reception.

Okeghem Talks & Conversation
Saturday, April 13, 11:00 am
Margaret Jewett Hall, First Church in Cambridge (11 Garden Street, Cambridge)
Tickets: Free with RSVP

Expert speakers join Blue Heron for the weekend festivities: Jane Alden (Wesleyan University): “A Vault for the Treasurer’s Gems: Okeghem’s Place in the Loire Valley Chansonniers” and Fabrice Fitch (Royal Conservatoire, Glasgow, Scotland): “Three Endings from Okeghem: Mort tu as navré, Intemerata dei mater, and Alma redemptoris mater.”

Concert: The World of Johannes Okeghem
Saturday, April 13, 3:00 pm
Sanctuary, First Church in Cambridge (11 Garden Street, Cambridge)
Tickets $10-$87

Having sung every piece written by the great Johannes Okeghem, Blue Heron presents a selection of the master’s very best in the context of music by his contemporaries & colleagues.

Okeghem Masterclass & Sing-In
Saturday, April 13, 7:30 pm
Margaret Jewett Hall, First Church in Cambridge (11 Garden Street, Cambridge)
Tickets: Free with RSVP

Featuring the UMass Lowell Chamber Singers (dir. Jonathan Richter), Carduus (dir. Holly Druckman), Blue Heron, and YOU!

Okeghem Talks & Lecture-Demonstrations
Sunday, April 14, 4:00 pm
Arts at the Armory (191 Highland Ave, Somerville)
Tickets: Free with RSVP

Talks and lecture-demonstrations by Blue Heron Artistic Director, Scott Metcalfe & Sean Gallagher from New England Conservatory.

Pub Concert
Sunday, April 14, 6:00 pm
Arts at the Armory (191 Highland Ave, Somerville)
Tickets: $10-$50

Pub Concert by Blue Heron, featuring songs by Okeghem, Busnoys, Du Fay, Binchois & others. Food and beer with a Belgian theme available for purchase.

About Blue Heron
BLUE HERON has been acclaimed by The Boston Globe as “one of the Boston music community’s indispensables” and hailed by Alex Ross in The New Yorker for its “expressive intensity.” The ensemble ranges over a wide repertoire from plainchant to new music, with particular specialties in 15th-century Franco-Flemish polyphony and early 16th-century English sacred music, and is committed to vivid live performance informed by the study of original source materials and historical performance practices. Blue Heron offers a catalog of twelve recordings and is the only group outside of Europe to receive the Gramophone Classical Music Award for Early Music (2018). Blue Heron’s CD Johannes Ockeghem: Complete Songs, Volume I was named to the first Bestenliste (Quarterly Critics’ Choice) of 2020 by the prestigious Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics’ Award). Its multi-season project to perform the complete works of the great 15th-century composer Johannes Ockeghem, Ockeghem@600, wound up in March 2023, making Blue Heron the only ensemble in North America, quite possibly anywhere in the world, to have accomplished this feat.

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Media Contact: Stephanie Janes PR, (617) 419-0445,

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