Husband and wife team Jonathan Salzedo and Marion Rubinstein started The Albany Consort in 1974, straight out of college and university in London. Startup groups like ours fill a need for artistic expression. When you find the status quo unacceptable, the only thing to do is to line up a group of like-minded musicians and find your own way. Most of these groups fade out after a couple of years, because they are inherently unsustainable. But somehow we found a formula that works, and even after forty years we are not ready to stop! This is our experimental platform, where we can shun recording because we don’t like the idea, where we can try out ideas because they just come to us, and where we can avoid the perils of perfectionism which are so endemic in our culture. We run on a shoestring, so only other enthusiasts will work with us.
We started out with a short series at Christ Church, Albany Street, London – hence the group’s name, which seems to have stuck, despite the (delightful) confusion it can cause. When Jonathan moved to California in 1981, the name just wanted to come too. We are firmly rooted in the 17th and 18th centuries, and have tackled repertoire from the smallest to the largest groupings, duos to opera. Somehow the 19th century escaped our notice, but excursions into music written quite recently have been a lot of fun and provide a very different and equally valuable challenge.
Jonathan Salzedo (harpsichord), Marion Rubinstein (recorder and harpsichord) and Laura Rubinstein-Salzedo (violin) run the group. Other musicians are invited to join them, depending on the needs of the music.
The Albany Consort is holds non-profit 501(c)3 status as an affiliate of the San Francisco Early Music Society.