Jeannette Sorrell transcends mere historicism in her performances of this music. Her triumph Saturday night had fresh impulses and took risks.
— The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Sorrell’s brilliance was stamped on every aspect of the performance...She must be one of the best conductors around in this repertoire.
— The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Sorrell’s contact with her players was so intimate, they seemed to breathe as one.
— The Cleveland Plain Dealer
An engaging conductor… Sorrell guided the players with a light but definitive touch, a thoroughly involved but efficient presence.
— The Grand Rapids Press
Sorrell led a revelatory performance, with impassioned singing and playing bringing Bach’s score to life with contemporary immediacy.
— Opera News
Monteverdi’s Orfeo was a triumph for Jeannette Sorrell, showing us new dimensions of her genius.
— The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Award-winning harpsichordist and conductor Jeannette Sorrell has been credited by the U.K.’s BBC Music Magazine for forgin “a vibrant, life-affirming approach to the re-making of early music… a seductive vision of musical authenticity.” She takes her inspiration from the 17th-century concept of Affek, in which the goal of the musician is to move the emotions of the listeners. Sorrell makes use of baroque dramatic devices, including rhetoric and harmonic tension and release, to bring baroque repertoire to life in a highly personal and communicative way.  

Recent and upcoming guest conducting engagements include Handel’s Messiah in her Kennedy Center debut with the National Symphony Orchestra in December 2017, as well as returns to the New World and Utah symphonies and debuts with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and at the Grand Teton Festival. She has previously led the Pittsburgh Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Opera Theatre of St. Louis with the St. Louis Symphony, Handel & Haydn Society (Boston), and the symphony orchestras of Jacksonville, Omaha, North Carolina, and Grand Rapids.

Founder and conductor of Apollo’s Fire, Jeannette Sorrell has built one of the largest audiences of any North American baroque orchestras, with performances across America and Europe including the Tanglewood, Aldeburgh, BBC Proms and Aspen Festivals, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Library of Congress, and London’s Wigmore Hall. 

Sorrell and Apollo’s Fire record for the British label AVIE RECORDS, and have released 24 commercial CDs, of which seven have been bestsellers on the Billboard Classical chart.  Her recordings include the complete Brandenburg Concert and harpsichord concert (with Sorrell as harpsichord soloist and director), which was praised by the London Times as “a swaggering version… brilliantly played by Sorrell.”  Her other bestsellers with Apollo’s fire include Sorrell’s two crossover/folk programs, “Sacrum Mysterium:  A Celtic Christmas Vesper, and “Come to the River:  An Early American Gathering.”  For the research and production of the latter disc, she received an “American Masterpieces” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, one of two she has been awarded by the NEA. 

Other awards include an honorary doctorate from Case Western University, the Bodky Award from the Cambridge Society of Early Music and the Noah Greenberg Award from the American Musicological Society.  Passionate about guiding the next generation of performers, Ms. Sorrell has led many baroque projects for Oberlin Conservatory and the Cleveland Institute of Music.  She has also developed a highly successful Young Artist Apprentice Program to provide pre-professional training for talented period-instrument students under the auspices of Apollo’s Fire.  

Born in the U.S. of Swiss and American parents, Sorrell was one of the youngest students ever accepted to the prestigious conducting courses of the Aspen and the Tanglewood music festivals, studying conducting under Robert Spano, Roger Norrington and Leonard Bernstein, and harpsichord with Gustav Leonhardt in Amsterdam.  She holds an Artist Diploma from Oberlin Conservatory, where upon graduation she was invited to join the faculty of the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute. 


(February 2018. Please discard previously dated materials and contact before making any alterations or cuts.)