American lute song duo Ron Andrico & Donna Stewart specialize in thoughtful programming illuminating the vibrant mingling of renaissance music & poetry.
One of the few professional lute song duos in the United States, their unique and immediate sound blends respect for authenticity with solid musicianship and a flair for improvisation. Their fresh and engaging approach imparts the immediacy of folk music to renaissance music.
The duo's 6 CDs are winning critical acclaim. Reviewers have described their music as "radiant", "bewitching". and "laden with elegance". The Lute Society (UK) has called Rota Fortuna "essential listening". Divine Amarillis, their recording of French music from the early 17th century, was selected from a pool of 42,000 recordings for the award of first place for Best Album in the 2009 Just Plain Folks awards. Both Divine Amarillis and My Lord of Oxenford's Maske, their third release, have been selected as Choice CDs by Cleveland, Ohio's mainstream classical radio station WCLV. All three are included among CDBaby's top 40 best-selling classical CDs. Read more reviews here.
Mignarda - Donna Stewart and Ron Andrico - perform historical music that transcends history. Ron Andrico is a lute specialist with publication of several important music editions and scholarly articles to his credit. Mezzo soprano Donna Stewart has a long background in research and interpretation of Gregorian chant and the renaissance choral repertory. Together, the duo specialize in performing music that resides in the grey zone between folk and art music, with interpretations that follow the renaissance ideal of 'moving the passions' of the listener.
The couple met in Cleveland, Ohio while singing Gregorian chant and renaissance polyphony in a five-voice choir for a weekly Latin Mass. They have recently relocated to New York after an idyllic year living in a log cabin off the grid in the Siskiyou Mountains, where they produced their own electricity, cut their own firewood, and enjoyed the welcome opportunity to refine their music with only the songs of birds to compete with the soft sound of the lute. They now live in a handmade house in the woods in West Danby, New York, just south of Ithaca.
The Mignarda duo is unique in that their musical background mirrors that of the typical musician of the Renaissance: They bring the music to life because they live the music. Capturing the nuance and intricacy of early music with warmth and flair, Mignarda’s performances remind 21st century audiences that at one time this WAS pop music.