Martin Bernstein and friends at the Amherst Early Music Festival
In conjunction with the Amherst Early Music Festival's city recorder workshop on October 27-28, Martin Bernstein will give a Saturday evening recital.
Young virtuoso recorder player Martin Bernstein will play a recital on Saturday, October 27 at 7:30 pm. He will be joined by John McKean on harpsichord and Salomé Gasselin on viola da gamba. The trio will play music by Marin Marais, François Couperin, Louis Marchand, Louis Couperin, Antoine Forqueray, Jacques Champion de Chambonnieres, Pierre Danican Philidor, Jacques Boyvin, and Claude-Benigne Balbastre.
“I’ve recently been thinking about the music we choose to play. For a while I always saw books, lines of notes, physical surviving pieces. But it’s becoming clearer and clearer to me how much escapes the page - the jokes and the little details that get thrown around when John and Salomé and I play together, for example. In those moments, I realize how much more must be missing, especially with music from the 17th century, music steeped in storytelling passed down from ear to ear, where invention and transmission and writing and reading were maybe less distinguishable.
“We want to imagine some of that lost music with you. We’ll take as our starting point French music for solo keyboard - some of my favorite music, where there’s somehow at the same time the unity of one player, one instrument, and the collective of multiple voices. What happens when a group of people split these pieces up to play all together, breaking that unity and then maybe looking for it again? We’ll search for lost arrangements of the harpsichord music of Louis Marchand, or the organ suites of Jacques Boyvin; we’ll play with Antoine Forqueray’s own similar experiments; we’ll see what playing in this way does to flute music of Pierre Danican Philidor. I hope you’ll join us - and that you’ll enjoy it as much as we will!”
About the musicians:
Martin Bernstein has been heard with numerous ensembles across the world, in venues ranging from 17th-century Italian palazzos to modern art museums in Reykjavik to the concert halls of New York City. Bernstein began studying recorder at age five, first with Charles Sibirsky and later with Nina Stern. At 18, he left New York City to study at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague with Reine-Marie Verhagen and Han Tol; he has also studied with Michael Form. He has won prizes at several national and international competitions, including first prize at the Mieke van Weddingen International Recorder Competition in Belgium and second prize in the International Young Talent Search hosted by Maurice Steger and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. Bernstein has been featured on NPR, and he serves on the faculty at various American early music festivals and workshops. He currently studies history and philosophy at Harvard University.
Salomé Gasselin began playing the viola da gamba at age eleven, studying first with Julien Léonard. She earned bachelors and masters degrees from the CNSMD Lyon, in the class of Marianne Muller; she has also studied with Josh Cheatham, Philippe Pierlot, and Vittorio Ghielmi. She studied literature at University Paris X as well.
Gasselin performs regularly across Europe with many renowned conductors and performers, including Skip Sempé, Patrick Ayrton, Reinoud van Mechelen, and Raphaël Pichon. Her playing has been heard at the world’s leading early music festivals: in Bruges, Paris, Utrecht, York, Oslo, Göttingen, Pavia, Lisbon, Sablé, and Ambronay. She often works with contemporary composers and playwrights, and has taught at the Nantes Conservatoire. Currently, she is particularly interested in seeking out and playing unexplored lyra viol music of the 17th century.
John McKean is a harpsichordist and musicologist based in Boston, where he serves on the faculty of the Longy School of Music. Frequently in demand as both a soloist and continuo player, he has performed extensively throughout Europe and North America, with concert engagements bringing him to venues as far afield as the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Fondazione Cini (Venice), Museu da Música (Lisbon), St. Martin-in-the-Fields (London), Norðurljós Hall (Reykjavík, Iceland), and the Philips Collection (Washington, DC). Critically acclaimed for his “intelligent” and “precise” playing (The Washington Post) as well as his “sonorous brilliance and thrilling, dance-like energy” (Allgäuer Zeitung), Dr. McKean performs with leading American and European ensembles, including Apollo’s Fire, Emmanuel Music, the Catacoustic Consort, Camerata Vocale Freiburg, Habsburger Camerata, and has appeared with the Jacksonville, Naples, Portland (Maine), and Pittsburg symphony orchestras (among others). He counts among his live radio broadcasts performances on NPR, BBC Radio 3, and Deutschlandradio Berlin.
Dr. McKean holds degrees and diplomas from Oberlin College/Conservatory and the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg. Beyond his musicological work and performing career, he also maintains an active interest in instrument building (he regularly performs on his own reconstruction of a 17th-century Flemish harpsichord), music publishing, typography, and exploring the remote corners of his home state of Maine.
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