Spring 2022

Keyboard Identities in Flux

The breadth, depth, and diversity of the CCHK’s collections give unique insights into the intersecting and perpetually changing identities of keyboard instruments over time. In a series of snapshots, this semester’s programs present the many kaleidoscopic guises keyboard instruments and their exponents can assume beyond their immediate geographical and cultural origins – from fantasies about Greek antiquity to African American compositional practices, from the music culture of modern Europe to the rich and varied soundscape of Ithaca’s own organs.

Piano Recitals
Evening piano recitals this semester begin with an impromptu visit from guest artist Tomasz Ritter – the first to have won the prestigious Chopin Piano Competition on historical instruments – followed by a varied slate of programs featuring Cornell pianists.
Evening Organ Recitals
Evening organ recitals feature Cornell faculty and graduate students along with guest artist Kola Owalabi, in programs spanning four centuries heard on five different instruments including the newly renovated Aeolian-Skinner organ at Sage Chapel.
Keyboard Salons
Co-sponsored by the Society for the Humanities, the Keyboard Salon series brings together music, instruments, research and conversation in a compact, hour-length format at the historic A. D. White House.
Midday Music for Organ
Midday Music for Organ offers informal 40-minute programs on alternate Wednesdays at 12:30pm, giving busy Cornellians and guests musical respite at the center of the week; events will take place throughout campus and in local Ithaca churches.
Week
Feb 7-13
Evening Organ Recital
Trios And Duos of the 17th and 18th Century
_______________________
Nathan Mondry
with guests Nuova Pratica
Music by Corelli, St. Colombe, LeClair and members of the group.
Description
Nuova Pratica, a historically informed ensemble specializing in original compositions, joins Nathan Mondry for two unconventional nights of music. On February 11th, they explore various sides of the 17th-century Baroque, accompanied by Sage Chapel’s historic Italian organ and a cembalino. February 12th sojourns in 18th-century France and Germany with the Barnes Hall chamber organ and a Goermans harpsichord. Held together by threads of improvisation throughout the concerts, the audience will be left guessing as to what is old versus freshly made music. Includes music by Corelli and St. Colombe on the 11th.
Feb 11, 8pm   |   Sage Chapel
Feb 12, 7pm  |   Barnes Hall
Feb 14-20
Piano Recital
Piano Recital
__________
Tomasz Ritter
Instruments: Graf (1823); Pleyel (1843)
Description
Tomasz Ritter, winner of the first Chopin competition on period instruments, will present a short recital with music by Chopin and Beethoven.
Feb 15, 7pm   |   Barnes Hall
Keyboard Salon
Chopin’s Temperament
_______________________
Mike Cheng-Yu Lee with guest Jonathan Bellman
Instruments: Broadwood and Sons (1849)
Description
CCHK artist-in-residence Mike Lee collaborates with renowned Chopin scholar, Jonathan Bellman, to explore Chopin’s predilections for unequal tuning systems and the expressive implications that historical temperaments hold for his music – and conversely what’s lost when the music is heard with modern equal temperament. For this Salon, our 1849 Broadwood (Chopin famously called Broadwood “a real London Pleyel”) will be tuned to Bellman’s reconstructed temperament recipe – the BELLMAN1 – and the A. D. White House’s resident New York Steinway to equal temperament. A selection of excerpts will be explored with the audience on both instruments and tunings.
Feb 18, 5pm   |   AD White House
Reservation is required
Feb 21-27
Midday Music for Organ
Singing her own Song
_______________________
Anna Steppler
Music by Judith Bingham, Elfrida Andree and Florence Price.
Description
Midday Music opens with doctoral student Anna Steppler performing on the eclectic Stephen J. Russell organ (2006) at Ithaca’s First Presbyterian Church. The program presents some of the rich repertoire of music for the organ by women composers, exploring the idea of finding one’s own voice. It juxtaposes “singing” through the organ by Elfrida Andrée, Florence Price, Judith Bingham and Sofia Gubaidulina with spoken responses from Ithaca-based writers Taylor Daynes and Kate Blackwood.
Feb 23, 12:30pm   |   First Presbyterian Church
Feb 28 – Mar 6
Evening Organ Recital
Environs Franck
_______________________
David Yearsley and Annette Richards
Music by Bach, Widor, and Franck.
Description
In the year of César Franck’s 200th birthday, Cornell’s University Organists Annette Richards and David Yearsley perform a joint recital exploring the musical worlds of one of the central figures of the 19th-century organ repertoire. The Cavaillé-Coll style instrument, completed by Juget-Sinclair in 2016 at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Collegetown, faithfully reproduces the sounds (and feel) of the organs that thrilled Franck, and provides a gorgeous vehicle for Franck’s Trois Pièces and the Chorale no. 3 in A minor. Also on the program is the ravishing “Andante Sostenuto” from the Symphonie Gothique by Franck’s successor at the Paris Conservatoire, Charles Marie Widor, and the music of the composer who stood as model, inspiration, and authority for them both, J. S. Bach.
March 4, 7pm   |   St. Luke Lutheran Church
Mar 7-13
Midday Music for Organ
A Baroque Pot-Pourri
_______________________
Annette Richards
Music by Pablo Bruna, John Stanley, and C.P.E. Bach.
Description
On the early 18th-century-style North German organ in Anabel Taylor Chapel (2011), modelled after a 1706 instrument by Arp Schnitger, University Organist Annette Richards offers a taste of music from beyond the borders of German-speaking Europe. The program takes listeners to the Iberian peninsula, with the tientos of Pablo Bruna, and to the British Isles, with the brilliant organ voluntaries of the blind virtuoso John Stanley, juxtaposing their mid-century charm with the sonatas of C. P. E. Bach, composed in 1750s Berlin for a Prussian princess.
March 9, 12:30pm   |   Anabel Taylor Chapel
Mar 14-20
Midday Music for Organ
The Chamber Organist
_______________________
Nathan Mondry
Music by Buxtehude, Pachelbel, and Kuhnau.
Description
This week’s program takes us to the chamber organ in Barnes Hall, created by Munetaka Yokota and colleagues at the Göteborg Organ Art Center (Sweden) in 2003 on models from central Germany c. 1700. Doctoral student Nathan Mondry offers a selection of pieces by three of the most celebrated German organist-composers in the years around 1700, including Dietrich Buxtehude (d. 1707) from the northern city of Lübeck, Johann Pachelbel (d. 1706) from the southern city of Nuremberg, and Johann Kuhnau (d. 1722), J. S. Bach’s predecessor at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig.
March 16, 12:30pm   |   Barnes Hall
Mar 21-27
Keyboard Salon
The Viennese Piano and the Stein-Streicher Dynasty
_______________________
Mike Cheng-Yu Lee
Instruments: McCobb-Stein (1784); J. B. Streicher (1857)
Description
A core focus of the CCHK collection is the so-called Viennese piano, a lineage defined first and foremost by its mechanism. Invented by Johann Andreas Stein in the 1770s in Augsburg, Germany, the Viennese piano thrived for roughly 100 years before being superseded by French, English, and American designs. The CCHK collection holds a Stein copy as well as one of the last representatives of the lineage, an 1857 instrument by Stein’s grandson, Johann Baptist Streicher. In this Salon, CCHK artist-in-residence Mike Lee explores why the Viennese piano shot to prominence but fell out of fashion as it grew in size like all other 19th-century pianos. The Salon also traces the storied legacy of three generations of a piano-making dynasty and the pivotal role Nanette Streicher (née Stein) – perhaps the best-known female piano maker ever – holds in the history of music. Excerpts from Mozart and Brahms will be performed on both instruments.
March 25, 5pm   |   AD White House
Reservation is required
Evening Organ Recital
Bach and the later 18th Century
_______________________
Annette Richards
Music by J.S. Bach, C.P.E. Bach, J.L. Krebs.
Description
What happened to German organ music in the decades after the death of J. S. Bach? Despite Bach’s legacy as a teacher, and the remarkable repertoire of his works transmitted in manuscript by his students, relatively few substantial compositions for the organ appear to have been written by the later generation of organists. Yet C. P. E. Bach, J. L. Krebs, and others, did leave a body of organ music that charms, thrills, and amply repays close listening. This program presents some of that music, along with J. S. Bach’s magisterial set of variations on “Sei gegrüsset, Jesu gütig,” BWV 768, a work that, though written right at the beginning of the 18th century has never gone out of fashion or favor.
March 24, 7pm   |   Anabel Taylor Chapel
Mar 28 – Apr 3
Keyboard Salon
The Piano Trios of Robert Schumann _______________________
Taliesin Trio – Xak Bjerken (piano), Ellen Jewett (violin), Elizabeth Simkin (cello)
Instrument: Pleyel (1865)
Description
By the mid-19th century, pianos in different national styles proliferated freely in continental Europe. Clara Schumann, one of the most renowned virtuoso pianists of her day, regularly performed on French, English and German pianos. In their first CCHK Salon appearance, Xak Bjerken, Ellen Jewett and Elizabeth Simkin will give a preview of their project to record all three piano trios by Robert Schumann. The performance will feature our 1865 Pleyel, a representative French piano that was purchased and owned by the composer Eugène Ketterer.
April 1, 5pm   |   AD White House
Reservation is required
Apr 4-10
Apr 11-17
Piano Recital
Historical Fantasies: Works by Debussy, Ravel and Price
_______________________
Andrew Zhou
Instrument: Blüthner (1878)
Description
Andrew Zhou (DMA ’19) takes the idea of intersecting identities still further with a program of rarely heard works that brings to life various fantasies of the past: Greek antiquity for Debussy and Ravel and an imagined past of African American “ancestral” repertoires in the music of Florence Price. The program will be heard through our 1878 Blüthner (Leipzig), the favored instrument of Debussy for the extra resonance afforded by the patented Aliquot system – an extra set of “floating” strings in the upper register that lends the piano a translucent halo effect.
April 15, 6pm and 8pm   |   Barnes Hall
Evening Organ Recital
Reflections for Lent and Passiontide (CANCELED)
_______________________
Anna Steppler
Music by J.S. Bach and predecessors.
Description
Music of chromaticism and poignant dissonance on the Baroque organ. A program built around the Lenten and Passiontide chorales of J.S. Bach, interweaving works by composers that inspired him, including Georg Böhm and Nicolaus Bruhns, and concluding with Bach’s own elegiac Prelude and Fugue in E minor, BWV 548.
April 12, 7pm   |   Anabel Taylor Chapel
Apr 18-24
Midday Music for Organ
In Company, at the King of Instruments  _______________________
David Yearsley and Annette Richards
Music by the Bach family, Antonio Soler, and others.
Description
Annette Richards and David Yearsley join forces to combine hands and feet in a program of solos and duos from the long 18th century. While we wait for the Aeolian-Skinner organ in Sage Chapel, now to be unveiled in guest Kola Owolabi’s recital on April 29th, this concert explores the charm and grace of the Anabel Taylor organ for a final time this semester, with music by members of the Bach family, Antonio Soler, and others.
April 20, 12:30pm   |   Anabel Taylor Chapel
Apr 25 – May 1
Piano Recital
Chopin: The Four Scherzi
_______________________
Mike Cheng-Yu Lee
Instrument: Pleyel (1843)
Description
With spoken commentary and accompanying visuals, CCHK artist-in-residence Mike Lee offers four tableaux of Chopin’s life anchored by the composer’s four Scherzi, a form which Chopin personalized into epic narratives and which span the length of his compositional career. Intersecting identities abound in these works: the first Scherzo, written shortly after Chopin made Paris his new home, paraphrases the Polish Christmas Carol “Lulajże Jezuniu” as the emotional center of the work; the third Scherzo was composed during his fraught winter stay on the Spanish island of Majorca at what we now believe to be a locally made “Spanish” upright piano that he sourced on the island. The event will feature our newly restored 1843 Pleyel in a full-length concert for the first time.
April 26, 8pm   |   Barnes Hall
Evening Organ Recital
Guest Artist Recital (CANCELED)
_______________________
Kola Owolabi
Music by Gerald Near, Adolphus Hailstork, William Farley Smith and Thomas Kerr.
Description
Guest artist Kola Owalabi (Professor of Organ, University of Notre Dame) presents a full-length evening recital to celebrate the return of the Aeolian-Skinner organ. A specialist in both early music and romantic/contemporary repertoire and a thrilling recitalist, Professor Owolabi will play a program of music by 20th-century American composers, including Thomas Kerr’s “Anguished American Easter,” written in 1968 in response to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
April 29, 7pm   |   Sage Chapel
May 2-8
Piano Recital
The French Connection
______________
Nathan Mondry
Instruments: McNulty-Silbermann (1749); Wolf-Jacques Germain harpsichord (1785)
Description
Our Silbermann (1749) piano returns in a double-header this spring. Nathan Mondry (DMA student) will present a snapshot from the mid-18th century, when the keyboard soundscape was one of uncertainty and experimentation and the piano was at the cusp of “triumphing” over the harpsichord. The program juxtaposes this earliest of pianos with the harpsichord, heard through the works of three composers working in different parts of Europe and operating under this fluctuating soundscape: Balbastre (Paris), J. C. Bach (London) and Haydn (at Esterháza in modern-day Fertőd).
May 4, 8pm   |   AD White House
Piano Recital
J. S. Bach “Art of the Fugue”
______________
Thomas Reeves
Instruments: McNulty-Silbermann (1749)
Description
Thomas Reeves (PhD in Applied Mathematics, ’22) gives a complete performance of J. S. Bach’s monumental Art of the Fugue on the Silbermann, an instrument that embodies European hybridity: though having the just reputation as the first German piano, its mechanism is a near-exact copy of Cristofori’s highly sophisticated Florentine design.
May 5, 8pm | AD White House
Midday Music for Organ
Circa 1940
______________
Annette Richards
Music by Jehan Alain, Herbert Howells, and Charles Ives. Performed on the Aeolian-Skinner Organ
Description
Exploring the conception of Cornell’s Aeolian-Skinner organ as a microcosm of diverse musical worlds that look towards Europe even while expressing a uniquely American organ aesthetic, this program brings together music composed in a roughly 10-year period around the organ’s completion in 1940. From England, we will hear Herbert Howells’ poignant Master Tallis’s Testament (1940), from France the music of Jehan Alain (killed in 1940 in the trenches of the second world war at the age of 29), and finally, from the U.S. but with a wry glance across the Atlantic, the ever-popular Variations on America by Charles Ives, arranged by the composer for the organ at the encouragement of the legendary E. Power Biggs, in 1949.
May 4, 12:30pm   |   Sage Chapel
May 8
Piano Recital
Afternoon of Schumann at Waldorf School Ithaca
______________
Taliesin Trio – Xak Bjerken (piano), Ellen Jewett (violin), Elizabeth Simkin (cello)
Instrument: Pleyel (1865)
Description
The Taliesin trio was formed in the late 1990s and spent summers together in residence at the Tanglewood Music Center and the Spoleto festival in Italy.

They have been reunited for the last few months and have very much enjoyed exploring this stunning repertoire on the beautiful Pleyel piano.

Mother’s Day, May 8th, 2022:
2 pm Trio in d minor
2:45 pm Trio in F major
3:30 pm Trio in g minor
Ithaca Waldorf School 20 Nelson Road, Ithaca, NY

Please contact Emily at ebutler@ithacawaldorf.org by Friday May 6th at 3 pm to secure a seat at your preferred time. We have a seating capacity of 60 in the beautiful Great Room.

Masks are still mandatory inside the school. Listeners needs to sign in as they enter.
May 8, 2pm | Ithaca Waldorf School
Reservation is required by email. See description.
Locations