The summer music festival season is many things: a chance to play interesting repetoire with not often enough seen colleagues; a chance to reflect; and to explore different cities and restaurants.
This week I'm in St Louis for the St Louis Early Music Festival and Baroque Academy. This is a terrific festival ably led by William Bauer. During the day 25 musicians of all ages are discovering the joys of Boismortier, Merula and Ortiz. The faculty, clearly inspired by their students are performing and recording music from the English Restoration and French Baroque.
I've had a little time to think away from daily pressures and have been reflecting on the importance of building community around those people and things we value. A special "thank you" to ChicagoClassicalMusic.org for helping do just that.
Exploring St Louis has been a delight, especially after a delicious meal at the Shaved Duck!
This coming weekend I will be teaching at the Midwest Young Artists Early Music workshop which will be held at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin followed by performing at the Madison Early Music Festival and Green Lake Festival.
I hope our paths will cross and we can share some music, conversation and maybe even a good meal. Happy summer!
Earlier today I performed Biber's Mensa Sonora composed in 1680 with Chicago's period instrument orchestra, The Baroque Band, and we recorded it with the 21st century technology of Jim Ginsburg's Cedille Records.
It was interesting to play this fascinating music in a manner, and with instruments, that Biber might recognize and record it with a dizzying array of microphones and computers that Biber probably would never have imagined.
Why shouldn't we just use modern instruments outfitted with string technology based on the latest synthetic materials research?
I think the answer lies in the important distinction between aesthetics and functionality. I believe music has its most profound affect when utilizing the instruments and performance practices from the period during which the music was composed. I also believe it makes sense to use technolgy that has the functionality to most faithfully record those sounds.
It is important that we don't confuse these two concepts: aesthetics and functionality.
You can learn more about both the aesthetics of performing Early Music during a workshop on July 12-13, as well as learn about the latest breakthroughs in Recording Technology in a workshop to be held July 26-31. Both workshops will be presented by Midwest Young Artists and are designed for students ages 12-20. For more information see mya.org/summer. I hope to see you there!
I'm really looking forward to this coming week. I will be performing concerts with Chicago's Baroque Band that will use period instruments on June 4, 5 and 11. During the same week I will be playing with an orchestra using modern instruments for Chicago Opera Theater's new production of Handel's opera "Orlando" on June 3, 6, and 8. It will be interesting to perform back to back concerts using modern instruments for one and period instruments for the other to see what the musical impact is in each situation. I invite you to attend a performance of each and let me know if you prefer the use of modern instruments or period instruments and why.
In the meantime check out the free music downloads avialable at ArsAntiguaPresents.com. This month we are featuring "Elizabethan Delites" and in June you will hear music of the Scottish Baroque.