The Chamber Orchestra To Feature All Baroque With Improvisations

A founding resident company of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia (COP) announces its fourth concert in their Improvisionaries season: Brillhart: All Baroque. For this concert, COP will present one of the world's leading improvisers on the keyboard, Philadelphia's Jeffery Brillhart, as he conducts and plays music of J.S. and C.P.E Bach, and Rameau. In addition to spotlighting the Baroque art of figured bass, embellishment and ornamentation, Brillhart will perform his own improvisations on themes heard in the concert as a centerpiece of the program.

"Long live Rameau, down with Gluck!" Debussy exclaimed after hearing some of his great French predecessor's music. One of the greatest French composers of his time, Jean-Philippe Rameau replaced Jean-Baptiste Lully as the dominant French opera composer. Rameau found great success in the area of tragédies en musique but was also known as the leading French composer for the harpsichord. Rameau's Overture to Zais and Les Indes Galantes displays the latter part of the prominent composer's career which focused primarily on operatic output. The compositional style, full and warm, was a hallmark of Rameau and stood in staunch opposition to the popular Italian Opera Buffa style. Rameau was often criticized by fellow French composers of the day for being too conservative as the competing Opera Buffa style began to win favor.

Perhaps no other composer in the history of music had as profound an effect on Western European musical tradition as J.S. Bach. Historical accounts of Bach's style of improvisation have generated schools of thought and interpretation that are perhaps more various and heavily debated than any other composer of his time. The prolific body of work numbers in the thousands ranging from solo and chamber music, to oratorios and symphonies. The Chamber Orchestra will perform one of Bach's most thrilling and beloved orchestral works, the Brandenburg Concertos, originally scored to win favor of Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg.

In music as in other spheres, fashions change. When Johann Sebastian Bach died in 1750, his close contemporary Georg Philipp Telemann wrote a sonnet to mark the occasion, and in it he paid tribute to his friend's talents as an organist. But Johann Sebastian's chief claim to fame, according to Telemann, was that he was the father of the great Bach, the Bach of Berlin. That was Carl Philipp Emanuel, J.S. Bach's second surviving son, who was serving at the time as harpsichordist to Frederick the Great in the Prussian capital. COP will feature C.P.E. Bach's Harpischord Concert in D minor, which shows elements of his father's works as it showcases the trademark freshness and originality that made C.P.E. a prominent musical figure of 18th century.

Brillhart: All Baroque

Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center

Sunday, February 25, 2018 | 2:30 PM
Monday, February 26, 2018 | 7:30 PM

Jeffrey Brillhart, Conductor and Keyboard

Jean-Philippe Rameau - Overture from Zaïs, (1748), RCT 60

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach - Harpsichord Concerto in d (1748), Wq. 23

I: Allegro
II: Poco Andante
III: Allegro assai

Johann Sebastian Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G (1717-23), BWV 1048

featuring Stephen Tavani, Violin, Meichen Liao-Barnes, Violin, and Elizabeth Kaderabek, Violin II

I: [Allegro]

II: Adagio
III: Allegro

INTERMISSION

Johann Sebastian Bach - Air from Suite No. 3 in D, (1730), BWV 1068

Jeffery Brillhart - Improvisation on themes in the program

Johann Sebastian Bach - Brandenburg Concerto in No. 5 in D (1717-23), BWV 1050

Featuring Stephen Tavani, Violin and Edward Schultz, Flute

I: Allegro
II: Affettuoso
III: Allegro

Jean-Philippe Rameau - Chaconne from Les Indes galantes (1735)

Jeffery Brillhart, Conductor and Keyboard


Jeffrey Brillhart has performed throughout the United States, Brazil, South Africa, and Europe as conductor and organist and is known for his musical versatility. He was awarded first place at the American Guild of Organists National Competition in Organ Improvisation in 1994 and joined the music faculty of Yale University in 2005, where he teaches organ improvisation to graduate level students. Mr. Brillhart is Director of Music and Fine arts at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, where he oversees music, education, and arts programs that involve more than two-hundred children, youth, and adults each week. He is also music director of Philadelphia's acclaimed Singing City Choir, one of the first integrated community choirs in the United States. At Singing City he follows a distinguished line of conductors that includes Elaine Brown and Joseph Flummerfelt. Under his direction, his choral ensembles have performed with the Kronos Quartet, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Symphony in C, Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Bobbie McFerrin, Dave Brubeck, Helmuth Rilling, and Rossen Milanov, and on tours to Cuba, Northern Ireland, Brazil, Germany, Russia, the Balkans, and South Africa. He will lead upcoming tours to Mexico (2019) and Israel and Jordan (2020). Mr. Brillhart maintains an active schedule as conductor, organist, competition adjudicator, and clinician, most recently at the Kimmel Center (with Canadian Brass and TenThing), Curtis Institute of Music, the Eastman School of Music, Westminster Choir College, Furman University, Walla Walla College, and Baylor University. His organ improvisation textbook, Breaking Free: Finding a Personal Language for Organ Improvisation through 20th-Century French Improvisation Techniques, was published by Wayne Leupold Editions in 2011. A second textbook, A World of Possibilities: Master Lessons in Improvisation will be released Summer 2018. His choral and organ compositions are published by Hope Publishing and EC Schirmer. He was recently awarded the 2016 Elaine Brown Award for Choral Excellence, presented by the Pennsylvania American Choral Directors.

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