This Master Class aims to deepen pianists’ technical and musical understanding of Bach’s keyboard compositions, thereby facilitating their interpretations of Bach on the piano. Bach’s keyboard compositions were written for the musical and technical capacities of the harpsichord, clavichord and organ, not the piano (pianoforte) which was invented only late in Bach’s life. The touch, tone, limited dynamic range but prolonged sustain, and plucking mechanism of the harpsichord thus directly informed Bach’s compositions and performances of those works during his lifetime. An ongoing question for devotees of Bach is the extent to which pianists should draw on harpsichord practices and techniques when interpreting and performing Bach on the piano.
Adam Pearl, who is both a harpsichordist and pianist, will explore this issue in depth during this Master Class. He will open the Class by performing a piece by J.S. Bach on the harpsichord, then give a short talk, illustrating his points using both the harpsichord and the piano. He will then mentor up to three Master Class Student Performers on interpretive and technical aspects of their J.S. Bach pieces using both instruments. Ample time will be provided following the Student Performer sessions for all participants to ask questions and explore issues. At the close of the Class Adam will perform another J.S. Bach piece.
Award-winning early keyboard specialist and director Adam Pearl is in demand as a performer of both solo and ensemble music. He has performed throughout the United States as well as in Europe, South America and Asia. He has been principal harpsichordist for Philadelphia’s baroque orchestra Tempesta di Mare since 2005, and also performs with ensembles such as Chatham Baroque, the Folger Consort, the Catacoustic Consort, the American Bach Soloists, the Bach Sinfonia, Modern Musick and various modern symphony orchestras. He has recorded on the Chandos, Dorian and Plectra labels. A lover of Baroque opera, Pearl has directed numerous productions with American Opera Theater and Peabody Chamber Opera. From the keyboard, he has led performances of Blow’s Venus and Adonis, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Cavballi’s La Calisto and La Didone, Montedverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Charpentier’s David et Jonathas and La descente d’Orphée aux enfers, and Handel’s Acis and Galatea, Giulio Cesare and fully staged productions of Messiah and Jephtha. Adam is a member of the Early Music faculty at the Peabody Conservatory and has taught at various early music workshops, including the Amherst Early Music Festival, the Madison Early Music Festival and the Rocky Ridge Music Festival. He holds the degrees of BM in piano performance and both MM and DMA in harpsichord performance, all from the Peabody Conservatory. He is a laureate of the 2001 Jurow and 2004 Bruges international harpsichord competitions.
The Master Class will run from 10:00am until 1:30pm, including time for lunch. The schedule will be as follows:
- Welcome & Introductions
- Bach on the Harpsichord – Opening Performance by Adam Pearl
- Talk by Adam Pearl supported by practical illustrations on the harpsichord & piano
- Student Performer A
- Tea/Coffee Break with Q&A and discussion period
- Student Performer B
- Student Performer C
- Q&A and discussion period
- Bach on the Harpsichord – Closing Performance by Adam Pearl.
- Complementary Buffet Lunch
The fees for participating in the Master Class are as follows:
- Auditors (maximum of 23): $50
- Student Performers (maximum of 3): $65