Les Délices’ vision is to be a valued asset in the Northeast Ohio arts and cultural landscape for our unique, entertaining, and relevant programming; to be admired in the North American early music scene for our combination of high-quality performances, adventurous programming, and commitment to DEI; to be a trailblazer in getting new audiences to appreciate cultural connections across music and history; to be a supportive home for creative historical performers by highlighting others’ interesting work and creating opportunities for career and leadership development; and, to inspire young people to learn about, appreciate, and experiment with historical music, culture, and instruments.
Les Délices (pronounced Lay day-lease) delights, inspires, educates, and expands audiences for music on period instruments through innovative programming and world class performances. With deep roots in our Northeast Ohio community, Les Délices is building a national reputation as a leader in the field of early music, advancing its relevance and sustainability by welcoming collaboration, embracing digital media, and proactively working to support diversity and inclusion among our peers and repertoire.
Founded by baroque oboist Debra Nagy in 2009, Les Délices has established a reputation for unique programs that “can’t help but get one listening and thinking in fresh ways” (San Francisco Classical Voice). The New York Times observed that “Concerts and recordings by Les Délices are journeys of discovery” while UK Classical Source added, “The centuries roll away when the members of Les Délices bring this long-existing music to communicative and sparkling life.”
Les Délices made its New York debut before a sold-out audience at the Frick Collection in May 2010. Recent and upcoming performances for the ensemble include Music Before 1800 (New York City), the Boston Early Music Festival, Da Camera Society (Los Angeles), Houston Early Music Society, Early Music Hawaii, Morrison Chamber Music Center at San Francisco State University, Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, San Francisco Early Music Society, the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, and Columbia University’s Miller Theatre. In addition to touring engagements, Les Délices presents its own annual four-concert series in Northeast Ohio. Les Délices has been featured on WCPN, WCLV and WKSU in Ohio, WQXR in New York, and NPR’s syndicated Harmonia and Sunday Baroque, Their debut CD was featured as part of the Audio guide for a special exhibit at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (Watteau, Music, and Theater).
The global pandemic marked an important evolutionary period for the ensemble. Les Délices was a leader in conceiving concerts for the virtual space and created SalonEra, a webseries and podcast for early music that opened a world of music to audiences at home. Highlights of Les Délices 2021-22 season included a global streaming partnership with Marquee.TV, two newly commissioned works by composers Jonathan Woody and Sydney Guillaume, and the premiere of their fairytale-based chamber opera, The White Cat. While music of the French Baroque remains a core specialty, recent projects have seen Les Délices bring their “outstanding artistry and verve” (American Record Guide) to folksongs from Baroque-era Scotland, Classical chamber music from the Age of Revolutions, late-Medieval music, and more. Les Délices eagerly anticipates the release of two new CDs (The Highland Lassie and Noel, Noel) in November 2023 and will launch a multi-year commissioning project exploring myth and its impact on our lives in 2025.
While responding to the global pandemic with a deft pivot to virtual programming, Les Délices has also embraced the national racial reckoning with a commitment to openly facing and actively working to dismantle racial and cultural inequities in our sector. Read our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policy.