Lutenist and Countertenor
Mark Rimple appears regularly as countertenor and lutenist with his ensemble Trefoil, and has been a frequent guest of The Newberry Consort, The Folger Consort, and Piffaro, the Renaissance Band. He has also performed with many other groups including Tempesta di Mare, Ex Umbris, Melomanie, The New York Collegium, The Laughing Bird, and New York's Ensemble for Early Music, and with musicians specializing in contemporary repertoire including Melomanie, Network for New Music (PA), and Cygnus Ensemble (NYC). As a lutenist and archlute continuo player, he has accompanied some of today's top vocal artists including Julianne Baird, Drew Minter, and Ellen Hargis.
He can be heard on critcially-acclaimed recordings of the complex ars subtlior repertoire of the fourteenth century with Trefoil (Christo e Nato and Monsters, Mazes and Masters, MSR Recordings) and the Newberry Consort (Puzzles and Perfect Beauty, Noyse Productions), as well as on recordings of new music. See the Recordings bar for links to these recordings via Amazon.
Mark has championed new music, having performed and recorded new works with Network for New Music and Cygnus, with whom he recorded Jonathan Dawe's Siren for Countertenor, Guitar and Viola (Furious Artisans Records), a demanding work based on the music and poetry of Thomas Morley. In 2010, he collaborated with West Chester Colleague and composer Van Stiefel on an improvisational work for countertenor and laptop, and he has also premiered new works for countertenor by Kristen Hevner, Alba Potes, and Larry Nelson.
A lovely New York Times photo of Mark performing a solo lauda for an audience at St. Bartholomew Church in NYC can be seen here. The pic ran as the top half of the weekend arts section.
Mark (far right) with the Newberry Consort, November 2011.
Excerpts From Reviews:
Mark has garnered critical praise for his lute playing and singing from national newspapers (Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times) and early music journals (Early Music, Early Music America Magazine, The Lute Society of America Quarterly).
"Lutenist Mark Rimple brought a delightful elegance to the music with the delicate beauty of his lute."
Patrick McCoy, "Performing Arts: Holiday Music of the Trecento",
Washington Life Magazine 12-4-13
"In the evening, Mark Rimple, Shira Kammen and Mary Springfels, veterans of the American early music scene, delighted attendees with a performance inspired by images from illuminated psalters, with the Church of St. Bartholomew the Great providing the perfect setting. Voice, vielle and psaltery accompanied the citole, whose range and versatility and melodic and rhythmic potential were enchantingly displayed."
Jan Ellen Harriman, "From gittern to citole," Early Music, 39:1, Spring 2011.
"Violinist David Douglass, the director of The King’s Noyse , and Mark Rimple, of the group Trefoil, offered the evening’s most convincing music making…Rimple was confident alternating between singing countertenor and playing the lute, guitar, and the long arch-lute with over a dozen strings. The back and forth between these two musicians in Morley’s Goe from my Window was very satisfying."
- Michael Lodico, Ionarts, March 11, 2007 www.ionarts.blogspot.com
“Mark Rimple's lute solos had the interpretive specificity of a great vocal performance.”
- David Patrick Stearns: “Piffaro melds music, Bosch”, The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 13, 2006
“But the highlights were ‘Duiel Angoisseues’… and Obrecht’s ‘T’Andernaken,’ on which Rimple proved a deft lutenist… The performances were consistently shapely and energetic, and if the Frick’s concert room doesn’t provide the reverberation that recordings have made us expect in such early music, there is something to be said for hearing this repertory performed with such intimacy and clarity.”
- Allan Kozinn: “Those Wacky Medieval Tunes,” New York Times, November 15, 2005
“This recording preserves historical integrity so carefully and is so beautifully performed that it is hard to single out tracks. Surely some of the most noteworthy are Ellen Hargis, Mark Rimple, and Drew Minter’s performance of the virelai “Sus un fontayne,” complete with all the marvelous free-flowing lines and occasional dissonance… Perhaps the most delightful track is Hargis, Rimple, and David Douglass’s interpretation of the virelai “En ce gracieux temps,” with its echoing cuckoo calls.”
- Review of Puzzles and Perfect Beauty, Early Music America, Summer 2005
“But perhaps the highlight is the ‘Ave Maris Stella’ from the Faenza codex, on which Rimple demonstrates just how well-suited the lute is to this virtuosic repertoire. On this recording the lute, played with a plectrum, imparts rhythmic vitality to the songs and shines in its all-too-brief moments in the spotlight.”
- Review of Cristo è Nato: The Lute Society of America Quarterly, May 2005
“In ... the beautiful and highly complex ‘Sus une fontaine’ by Ciconia, we have a superb a capella performance with Minter, Ellen Hargis, and Mark Rimple.”
- Review of Puzzles and Perfect Beauty, Music Web International, March 2005.
“Consort regulars David Douglas, Drew Minter, and director Mary Springfels were joined by guest lutenist Mark Rimple, a superb countertenor and lutenist who has collaborated with the ensemble in previous concerts… Let’s hope his contributions can become as regular as his busy schedule will allow. His technique as a lutenist is fluid and confident, adding a kinetic lift to the ensemble. His considerable assets as a countertenor include a centered, clear tone, effortless upper notes capable of pinpoint agility and a slightly nasal quality that blends seamlessly with the bowed gut strings in the consort… ‘Un lay de consolation,’… used several combinations within the same work as it progressed. Rimple breathed life into this vivid poetry, with beautifully supple phrases and then a shrug of the shoulders with the line, ‘How shall I withstand this? I do not know.’”
- Review of Miracles & Martyrs concert by the Newberry Consort, Michael Cameron, Chicago Tribune, May 22, 2004
Cast of GEMS Play of Daniel, The Cloisters 2013 (I'm in the front row next to Marcia Young of Trefoil).
And a blast from the past:
Takemitsu's Toward the Sea, played by [flautist Ed] Schultz and guitarist Mark Rimple, was played at a level to honor the composer's memory. The guitar voice set off resonances that multiplied the colors of the two instruments.
- Daniel Webster, Philadelphia Inquirer, Apr. 15, 1997.