For Mark Cudek's last concerts as director of the Peabody Renaissance Ensemble the group will present "The Secret Music at Tordesillas; Music for Joan the Mad." This concert is inspired by the award-winning novel by Marjorie Sandor and the author will be in attendance. Guest alumni include Grammy-winner William Simms, medieval lute, vihuela, baroque guitar; Mira Fu-En Huang, soprano and percussion; Sarah Shodja, recorders, et al. The program will include narration by alumna Mara Yaffe, and doctoral candidate Michael Manganiello will play the role of Juan de Granada. Spanish music from the court of Ferdinand and Isabella, Sephardic romances, and a bit of Arabic music will be presented.

About Peabody Renaissance Ensemble

The Peabody Renaissance Ensemble was founded in 1988 by Mark Cudek. PRE is comprised of students and staff of Peabody and the Johns Hopkins University as well as guests from the Baltimore-Washington early music community. PRE consists of a vocal ensemble and instrumental consorts of violas da gamba, recorders, lutes and guitars, and percussion. In recent years students have also performed with the ensemble on Renaissance violin, vielle, dulcian, cornetto, and sackbut. PRE alumni have performed professionally with Apollo's Fire (the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra), the Baltimore Consort, Folger Consort, Hesperus, Les Arts Florissant, Les Delices, Montreal Baroque, Musica Pacifica, New York Collegium, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Piffaro, the Waverly Consort and many other leading American early music ensembles. PRE has a loyal audience, performs regularly in Leith Symington Griswold Hall, and has recorded several CDs.

About William Simms, medieval lute, vihuela, & baroque guitar

​William Simms is an active performer of early music. Equally adept on lute, theorbo, and baroque guitar, he appears regularly with Apollo's Fire, The Bach Sinfonia, The Washington Bach Consort, Ensemble Vermillian, and Harmonious Blacksmith. He has performed numerous operas, cantatas, and oratorios with such ensembles as The Washington National Opera, The Cleveland Opera, Opera Lafayette, and American Opera Theatre. Venues include The National Cathedral, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Library of Congress, The Corcoran Gallery, The Kennedy Center and The Barns at Wolftrap. He has toured and recorded with The Baltimore Consort as well as with Apollo's Fire. His recording with Ronn McFarlane, Two Lutes, was the CD pick of the week on WETA in Washington DC in 2012. Mr. Simms received a Bachelor of Music from The College of Wooster and a Master of Music from Peabody Conservatory. He serves on the faculties of Mount St. Mary's University and Hood College, and is the founder and director of the Hood College Early Music Ensemble. He has recorded for the Dorian, Centaur, Naxos, and Eclectra labels.

About Mira Fu-En Huang, soprano & percussion