Western welcomes Berlin Quintet, Tafelmusik

The Don Wright Faculty of Music welcomes two of the world’s best to its stages and classrooms next week as the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet and Tafelmusik pay Western a visit.

The Berlin Quintet has been called “arguably the best ensemble of its kind in the world.” The group stops by campus as part of its North American tour. During its visit, members of the group will present lectures, workshops and masterclasses, in addition to its performance.

Berlin Quintet concert is scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26 in the Paul Davenport Theatre, Talbot College. The varied program includes works by Samuel Barber, Carl Nielsen, Mozart and Aho.

“We often have masterclasses, but to have a group offer these for individual instruments from some of the best performers, who also play in the best orchestra in the world and best chamber group, is a triple-whammy,” said Sasha Gorbasew, Music student recruitment officer.

Tafelmusik, Canada’s award-winning orchestra on period instruments, has become an internationally recognized ensemble lauded by Gramophone Magazine as “one of the world’s top baroque orchestras.”

Members of Tafemusik will share their expertise during a week-long residency to explore historical context and performance with students. Members Patricia Ahern, Allen Whear and alumna Charlotte Nediger will present on a variety of topics; Ivars Taurins will conduct rehearsals with the Early Music Studio (EMS) and Western University Orchestra.

“Historical performance, by its nature, is something that must bridge scholarship and performance,” said Richard Semmens, Early Music Studio co-director. “Historically informed music performance embraces much more than 17th– and 18th-century music. It is as wide-ranging as Medieval to the late 19th century. Scholarly inquiry and performance are exactly what a university does. That is why it is beneficial to students and the teaching community.”

There are numerous opportunities to catch the group, in various forms. (See below for schedule.) Of particular note, Saturday evening’s program includes works from Western’s Whitby Collection, a remarkable and extensive collection of early published chamber music, primarily for string ensembles.

“In this celebration we have embraced music from an extraordinary archive of printed music donated to the Western Libraries by James and Margaret Whitby,” Semmens said. “That archive gives us a clearer picture of the music 18th- and 19th-century consumers of music embraced and performed with enthusiasm. It contains many unfamiliar names, not to mention ‘arrangements’ of some better-known music refitted for domestic consumption that can tell us much about music making in our collective pasts.”

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Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet concert

The varied program includes works by Samuel Barber, Carl Nielsen, Mozart and Aho.

8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26 Paul Davenport Theatre, Talbot College

Tickets are $40 adults/$25 students and available at tickets.grandtheatre.com, 519-672-8800 or 1-800-265-1593 or in person at the Grand Theatre, 471 Richmond St.


Tafemusik Festival

Thursday Feb. 27

Taurins conducts Western University Symphony Orchestra in read-through of Mozart’s Symphony No. 39 with Tafelmusik guests sitting in string sections with students.

3:30 p.m., Talbot College 104

Concert with Early Music Studio and Tafelmusik.

8 p.m., von Kuster Hall, Music Building

Friday, Feb. 28

Tafelmusik Friday concert

12:30 p.m., von Kuster Hall, Music Building

Saturday, March 1

Serenata series concert by Eybler Quartet. Semmens to give pre-concert chat. Whitbys recognized. Program includes String Quartet Op. 1 No. 2 in C minor by Eybler; Op. 54 No. 1 in G major by Haydn; and Op. 18 No. 3 in D major by Beethoven.

8 p.m. Wolf Performance Hall, Central Library, 251 Dundas St.

Tickets are $30/$25; $15 from Orchestra London Box Office or at door; $10 online at onstagedirect.com plus handling fee.



9:30-11:10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 27

Flutes, Talbot College 100

Horns, Music Building 104

Clarinets, Talbot College 131A

Double reeds, Paul Davenport Theatre

10:30-11:10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 27

Student chamber group masterclass, Paul Davenport Theatre

11:10 a.m.-12 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27

Question-and-answer session with the Quintet, Paul Davenport Theatre

Discuss the business side of being in a successful chamber group, or making the transition from playing in a large ensemble, how to adjust playing styles.