The Tallahassee Bach Parley, now in its 33rd year, who performs music of the Baroque era using period instruments, will be in concert at the Symphony at the Museum Willson Chamber Music Series today at 4:00 in the Albany Museum of Art. This is the third and final concert of the 2013-2014 series, a collaboration between the Albany Symphony Association and the art museum.
Bach Parley recreates for their audiences the experience of hearing and seeing Baroque music as it may have been originally performed hundreds of years ago, while generating a fresh sound immediately accessible to listeners today. The group is made up of experienced musicians who are trained in historically informed performance, mainly local professional performers and teachers, and Florida State University faculty and students. Many Bach Parley musicians also perform in baroque music groups around the country, such as in Atlanta, New York, Texas and Boston.
The word "parley" in French means discussion, and a key element of Tallahassee Bach Parley concerts is the commentary offered by their music director to engage and enlighten the audience. These dialogues give the audience historical background about the composers and their world, and suggest what to listen for in the music. This entertaining and light-hearted educational commentary connects the audience with what the musicians are playing, lifts barriers between performers and listeners and creates a relaxed concert atmosphere with an informed and engaged audience.
"Having the Tallahassee Bach Parley Ensemble will be our first opportunity to feature music from the Baroque era performed by an ensemble that specializes in music and performance practices from that era in music history," commented Dr. Claire Fox Hillard, Albany Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor. The musicians are violists Brian Arsenault and Melissa Brewer, violinists Valerie Prebys Arsenault and Miriam Barfield, violincellist Marnie Kim Jones, bassist Melanie Punter and harpsichordist Iain Quinn.
Brian Arsenault studied viola with Roberto Diaz and Burton Fine and earned a bachelor's degree in music in viola performance from the New England Conservatory. He has performed with the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra and the Tallahassee Symphony, and in addition to classical music he enjoys playing Irish traditional music on fiddle and anglo concertina. He earned a master's degree in library science from FSU and works as a web programmer for the Center for Information Management and Educational Services at FSU. Ms. Arsenault has two favorite musical activities: teaching the violin and playing Baroque music. Since 2002 she has maintained a thriving private violin studio of students of all ages at Cavatina Music Studios.
As visiting assistant professor at FSU, she directs the Baroque Ensemble (on period instruments) and has taught violin and directed the Irish Ensemble. She is a member of the Tallahassee Symphony, a principal player and soloist with the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, and has performed and recorded with the Apollo Ensemble (NY) and Apollo's Fire. She studied violin at the New England Conservatory where she earned a bachelor's degree in music, studied violin pedagogy and baroque violin at the Indiana University School of Music where she earned a master's degree in early music and earned her doctorate from the FSU College of Music.
Barfield began studying the violin at age six with Ms. Brewer. She received her bachelor's degree in music from FSU, where she studied with Dr. Pamela Ryan, and recently completed a master's degree in music in viola performance at The Boston Conservatory under Patricia McCarty. She was a state winner for the American String Teachers Association National Solo Competition in 2010 (Massachusetts) and in 2008 (Florida) and has performed in master classes for Joseph Silverstein, Robert Spano, James Dunham, and Thomas Dumm.
She has been a member of many orchestras, including the Tallahassee Symphony, Sinfonia Gulf Coast, the Columbus Symphony and the Cape Ann Symphony. She has attended the Lucerne Festival Academy in Switzerland, Brevard Music Festival, Schlern International Music Festival in Italy, and the Meadowmount School of Music, where she is a teaching assistant and has performed with violinists Joseph Silverstein and James Ehnes.
Brewer began her professional studies in violin and viola at the University of Miami, studying with George Zazofsky and Victor Stern and with David Becker at the University of Wisconsin Madison. She has performed with groups as diverse as the Florida Philharmonic, Miami Chamber Orchestra, West Palm Beach Opera Company, Tallahassee Bach Parley, the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra and currently is a violist with the Albany Symphony Orchestra. The breadth of her repertoire stretches from symphonic to chamber, opera to popular, and she has performed with artists as varied as Perlman and Sinatra. On period instruments, she has performed with the FSU Baroque Ensemble, Baroque Southeast, the Apollo Ensemble, and is principal violist with the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra. She plays on a 1760 Locky Hill viola.
Jones holds a bachelor's in music degree and an artist diploma from McGill University (studio of Antonio Lysy) and a master's in music degree from the Eastman School of Music (studio of Steven Doane). While at Eastman she also studied string pedagogy with Louis Bergonzi and baroque performance practice with Paul O'Dette and Christel Thielmann. She is originally from Calgary, Alberta, where she studied with John Kadz; she has also performed in masterclasses for Anner Bylsma, Bernard Greenhouse, Franz Helmerson, Desmond Hoebig, Steven Isserlis, Laurence Lesser, Siegfried Palm, Aldo Parisot, Fred Sherry, Janos Starker and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi. Previously a tenured member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, she now serves as associate principal cellist with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra and maintains a private studio of over 20 students. Punter is associate professor of double bass at FSU.
As a member of the Juilliard Music Advancement Program faculty, she coached chamber music and bass ensembles and taught double bass. She is a member of New York's prestigious Orchestra of St. Luke's performing at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and is principal bassist of the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with the American Symphony Orchestra, the Opera Orchestra of New York, Joffrey Ballet, New York City Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre.
She performs regularly at the Caramoor International Music Festival and has participated in Festival of Two Worlds in Charleston, SC and in Spoleto, Italy. An active chamber musician, she is a member of the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra performing on period instruments. Born in Cardiff, Wales, Quinn enjoys a distinguished career as an organist, musicologist, and composer.
He has studied at The Juilliard School, The Hartt School, University of Hartford, (where he earned a bachelor's degree in music, summa cum laude), the Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University (where he earned a master's degree in music) and the University of Durham (earning a doctorate in historical musicology), during which time he was also a visiting fellow at Harvard University. He has held college, church and cathedral positions in Durham (UK), New York, Connecticut and New Mexico, respectively, and taught at the Blackheath Conservatoire, London and Western Connecticut State University.
He has given performances in London, Cambridge, Oxford, Haarlem, Berlin, Lisbon, Melbourne, Moscow, Washington, DC, New York and Hong Kong. He has also performed at many international festivals. His scholarly writings have been published in Tempo, MLA Notes, Journal of Victorian Culture, Interpreting Historical Keyboard Music (Ashgate), and in editions of Samuel Barber and Carl Czerny published by G. Schirmer and A-R Editions, respectively.
He has recorded 11 CDs that are available on the Chandos, Hyperion, and Raven labels. Dr. Quinn is assistant professor of organ at FSU. Tickets are $20 per person and $10 per student with ID. A post-concert reception follows the concert. To purchase tickets, contact the Symphony office at 229-430-8933 or go online to www.albanysymphony.org .
Tickets will be available at the door. The ASO's next season subscription concert will feature "The Orchestra SINGS" Family Concert on Mar. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the Albany Municipal Auditorium. An Instrument Petting Zoo will be offered at 6:30 p.m.
The ASO is celebrating its 50th anniversary season.
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