Founded in Philadelphia in 1980, Piffaro performs 15th- through 17th-century music. Under the artistic direction of Joan Kimball and Robert Wiemken, the ensemble has released 16 CDs since 1992, including four on the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon/Archiv Produktion label, as well as on Dorian Recordings and Parma/Navano. In 2011, Piffaro produced Music in New Spain, a Center-funded project that explored the historic music resulting from Spain's encounter with indigenous civilizations in Central and South America during its 16th-century imperial expansion. In 2015, Piffaro received Center support to present The Musical World of Don Quixote, a music and movement performance offering audiences a distinctive interpretation of Miguel de Cervantes' four-century-old classic, Don Quixote.
Piffaro, the Renaissance Band, produced a two-part program recreating a royal christening that occurred in Stuttgart, Germany in 1616. Works by Leonhard Lechner, Ludwig Daser, Gregor Aichinger, Balduin Hoyoul, and Michael Praetorius made up the first half of the program, a christening mass. The secular half of the program featured music by Cristofano Malvezzi, Emilio de' Cavalieri, Giulio Caccini, Didier le Blanc, and Isaac Posch. Piffaro collaborated with two early music ensembles: Parthenia, a consort of viols, and Blue Heron, a Renaissance chamber choir. Soprano Laura Heimes, and dancers from the New York Historical Dance Company, directed by Dorothy Olsson, performed in the second half of the program. Piffaro, Parthenia, and New York Historical Dance Company also presented educational programs at John Welsh School and Settlement Music School.