Begun in 2003 with concerts in Massachusetts and the U.S. Virgin Islands, The Shakespeare Concerts presents recitals of music inspired by the immortal bard: from original English text settings to settings in translation by composers from the classical period to the 21st century. The mainstay of the series is the music of Joseph Summer, with premieres of two dozen of his four score Oxford Songs; settings, primarily, of text by William Shakespeare. In addition to concert performances, The Shakespeare Concerts (www.shakespeareconcerts.org) records Shakespearean music as well as the chamber music and operas of Joseph Summer.


  • The Tempest (“has something unique to say…(Summer’s) musical language is comfortably tonal but sophisticated, ceaselessly inventive, and often gripping; he’s a vivid musical storyteller. It’s an embarrassment of riches – the marvelous group numbers keep coming, culminating in the penultimate scene which builds to a blazingly celebratory climax… It’s gorgeous.”) – Opera News
  • The Fair Ophelia (nominated for a Grammy; “A remarkable recording that contributes to the literary praise of William Shakespeare.”) – Sonograma Magazine 
  • Full Fathom Five (“I’ll go so far as to say, mindful that one must never declare ‘genius’ too easily, that the more I experience Joseph Summer’s art, the more I am inclined to apply the term.”) – Fanfare Magazine
  • Orpheus With His Lute Made Trees (“glowing performances… radiant…”) – American Record Guide
  • Shakespeare’s Memory (“21st-century world of kaleidoscopic influences like a beautifully transformed Schubert.”) – Gramaphone
  • The Garden of Forking Paths (“This passionate music invites you to dance and makes you feel you cannot refuse. It propels all who hear it into Summer’s and Borges’s fantastic world.”) – Fanfare Magazine
  • So Many Journeys (“nothing short of spectacular”) – American Record Guide
  • Goddesses (“amazing virtuoso performances.”) – Fanfare Magazine
  • Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day (“beautifully expressive and deeply emotional”) – American Record Guide
  • Fleeting Realms (“One never tires of hearing his (Summer’s) subtle, language-sensitive, and deeply expressive settings.”) – Fanfare Magazine
  • Much Ado about Nothing (featuring the world premiere of a string quartet by Erich Korngold, and Summer’s string quintet: Dance of the Mechanics.
  • What a Piece of Work Is Man (showcasing eleven of Summer’s Oxford Songs, including three Hamlet soliloquies; the first release of The Shakespeare Concerts in 2004
  • No Enemy but Winter and Rough Weather (“a circular and well-thought cyclic concept behind the project. After listening to the entire album a few times, top to bottom, I had the sensation of a certain peaceful resignation: expressive and deeply emotional.”) – (G. Griglio)
  • Summer’s Distillation (music for voices, harp, and horns; release date: January 24, 2020)
  • Music to Hear (featuring the Ulysses Quartet; release date: May, 2020)
  • Who is Sylvia (featuring the Ulysses Quartet; release date: May, 2020)


  • Operas: The Tenor’s Suite; Hippolytus; And The Dead Shall Walk The Earth; Courting Disaster; Their Fate In The Hands Of The Friar; Gianetta; Hamlet.
  • Chamber Operas and Cantatas: The Tempest; Enough is as Good as a Feast; The Mousetrap; Pericles in Antioch; and Ten Sonnets; Not White, Nor Black, Nor Red, Nor Green.
  • Vocal music with chamber accompaniment: The Oxford Songs (about 100 settings of Shakespeare and other English language poets for sundry ensembles)
  • Other music of note: string quartets The Garden of Forking Paths, the Sea Change Quartets (two quartets depicting littoral scenes), Invisible Women, and Variations on L; Dance of the Mechanics (string quintet); The Tempest Sonata for violin and piano; Sonata for cello and piano; The Silver Swan (horn concerto, winner of the 1980 National Association of Music Teacher’s Orchestral Composition Contest); and The Dumb Show (piano sonata).