Aberdeen to host European premiere of newly-discovered Bach works

Aberdeen to host European premiere of newly-discovered Bach works

The internationally-renowned Bach Ensemble, widely regarded among the world’s most talented musicians and vocalists, will travel to Aberdeen from the US next week for a series of concerts marking the group’s only European residency this year.

The Bach Ensemble, reputed to be the best of the early music groups playing on original instruments, will bring to Aberdeen some European premieres of recently discovered or completed works by J S Bach, when they visit the University of Aberdeen for a week-long residency.

The residency, sponsored by the Craig Group, begins with the Ensemble’s first concert next Sunday (February 19) with the group’s charismatic leader Joshua Rifkin who has won international acclaim as a conductor, pianist, and harpsichordist.

The concert will feature several of Bach’s keyboard concertos to be performed on three harpsichords, which is a highly unique approach. The concert will also feature the University’s Dr David Smith, Senior Lecturer in Music, and Dr Roger Williams, Organist to the University.

Dr Williams, who is also Director of University Music, said: “It will be a great pleasure to welcome a group of the Bach Ensemble’s stature to the University of Aberdeen.

“Their visit is the most exciting venture for University Music this season and we are delighted to be hosting the residency, which will give Aberdeen audiences the unique chance to sample the Bach Ensemble’s brilliant musical talents in a series of captivating performances.

“The group’s debut performance in Aberdeen is set to be a thrilling event as it’s very unusual to hear three harpsichords at the same time and the venue of Elphinstone Hall will provide the ideal setting for such a unique concert.” The concert will be held in the Elphinstone Hall, King’s College at 7.45pm.

The second concert, featuring vocalist Susanne Ryden, will showcase recently-discovered Cantatas by Bach. It will be held on Thursday, February 23, at 7.45pm in the Mitchell Hall, Marischal College.

On Friday, February 24, Joshua Rifkin will revive the popular music made famous by Scott Joplin, the “King of Ragtime”. The revival of ragtime and Scott Joplin, in particular, was the result of Joshua’s own research and performances.

At the early age of seven, Scott Joplin had an extraordinary talent for music and was already proficient on the banjo, and was beginning to play the piano.

Although Joplin’s music was popular and he received modest royalties during his lifetime, he did not receive recognition as a serious composer for more than 50 years after his death. Then, in 1973, his music was featured in the motion picture, The Sting, which won an Academy Award for its score. Three years later, in 1976, Joplin’s opera Treemonisha won the coveted Pulitzer Prize.

Joshua Rifkin plays Scott Joplin will be held at 5.15pm in the MacRobert Lecture Theatre, Old Aberdeen. Admission to this concert is free.

Since its establishment in 1978, The Bach Ensemble has performed throughout the USA and has rapidly gained recognition both in its native America and abroad. While most of the musicians originate from the US, some will travel from across Europe including Sweden and Germany.

Dr Williams added: “The repertory of the Bach Ensemble encompasses virtually the entire range of Bach’s vocal and instrumental works and the core of the ensemble consists of the most prominent musicians from America and reinforced with some of the most talented vocalists from Europe.”

Concert tickets are available now and a copy of the Music in the University Spring 2006 programme can be obtained by contacting University Music on (01224) 272570, or by emailing: music@abdn.ac.uk.

Full details of all concerts are available in the brochure or by visiting: www.abdn.ac.uk/music

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