Mercury Baroque Gets Hip New Name and Image

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Along with the new name of "Mercury - The Orchestra Redefined," the circa 1999 group (formerly known as Mercury Baroque) is revamping its image with an updated logo and website.

Of late, this has been the trend for classical-music organizations that have expanded the repertoire outside of their namesakes. For instance, in 2008, the Phoenix Bach Choir, which stuck heavily to performing Bach madrigals, changed its name to the Phoenix Chorale and outfitted itself with a hip new insignia and website.

Mercury artistic director Antoine Plante says a similar thinking went into its realignment.

"It fits better with what we are doing. What it does, too, is that it really allows us to think about what an orchestra can be for a community," Plante tells Art Attack. "It changes the discussion from the baroque repertoire to our role in inspiring people, which is much more important and what we should be discussing rather than the fact that we play baroque music. It also opens some doors."

Mercury is also not about to get caught in the crossfire of dissolvement or Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which has hit classical-music outfits nationwide like the Philadelphia Orchestra, Honolulu Symphony and the Bellevue (Washington) Philharmonic. That's partially why, explains Plante, why the rebranding process took about a year and a half.

"We took this seriously so we worked really really hard to try to find the best for us," says Plante. "I'm really confident that what we ended up with is good. We went in every direction and basically lifted every rock."

Plante adds that the new website, along with the announcement of the 2012-13 season schedule, should be ready to go within a few weeks.

At 8 p.m. Friday, March 30, Mercury - The Orchestra Redefined performs concertos by Vivaldi, Locatelli, Leclair and Van Wassenaer with violinist Monica Huggett at Wortham Center, Cullen Theater, 501 Texas Avenue. For more information, check out the Mercury website.

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