Trobár is a small band of voices and instruments dedicated to bringing medieval music to modern audiences. The word trobar comes from Occitan, the language spoken in the middle ages in what is now southern France, and encompasses numerous meanings: to find, to meet, to create, to compose, to invent. This word encapsulates the spirit of discovery and invention that we bring to musical texts of the middle ages.
Trobar was founded on the belief that music has the power to bridge cultures, despite the separation of time and place, language, ethnicity, or religion. Our mission is to explore the human experience as viewed through medieval music and the stories of medieval peoples. We strive to produce material that is rooted in historical research, imaginative in inspiration, cohesive in concept, excellent in performance, immersive through the incorporation of visual elements, interdisciplinary through its contextualization of music in art, literature, and history, and both educational and edifying in its impact. We engage with medieval scholars and performers globally; we share our work and ideas on a national stage through performances but also in workshops, masterclasses, and residencies with students; and we bring together new audiences within our local community in northeast Ohio.
The three members of Trobár – Allison Monroe (voice, vielle, rebec, psaltery), Elena Mullins (voice, harp, percussion), and Karin Weston (voice, flute, harp) – met while studying historical performance practice at Case Western Reserve University, where they learned to combine the perspectives of performers and scholars. Trobár’s 2020-21 season features a series of three programs in Cleveland and a residency at Purdue University Fort Wayne. In February 2022 Trobár will be releasing its first studio album, Il dit/Elle dit. Trobár attended the Settimana Musicale del Trecento in 2017, and completed three residencies at Avaloch Farm in 2018-21. Trobár was featured on Early Music America’s 2020 Emerging Artists Showcase and Les Délices’ 2020 SalonEra series. The group has performed on the Eliot Society’s series in the Washington D.C. area, the Catacoustic Consort series in Cincinnati, OH, the Gotham Early Music Scene concert series in NYC, and the Boston Early Music Festival Fringe Series. Individually, the members of Trobár are active in the American medieval scene and have performed with the Newberry Consort, Les Délices, Boston Camerata, Concordian Dawn, Moirai, and Alkemie. As part of its educational mission, Trobár hosts a free monthly podcast called Trobár Talks.