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The Orpheus of Amsterdam: The Musical Worlds of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck

*All in-person events will follow current Cornell COVID-19 protocols*

To mark the 400th anniversary of the Dutch composer and keyboardist Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck’s death, this festival offers an opportunity to revisit a remarkable body of inventive and pioneering music. Sweelinck’s erudition and imagination, his virtuosity as a composer and keyboardist, and his excellence as a teacher, inspired contemporaries to compare him to the mythical Orpheus whose musical powers could charm all things. Young musicians were sent to Amsterdam from across northern Europe to study with the great master, and his legacy stretched across the 17th century.

The four concerts of this festival present the music of Sweelinck alongside that of his Italian and German contemporaries and his students, for organ and harpsichord alone, and in the company of voice and violin. Please see our full schedule of events below, as well as the festival’s concert programs and performer bios.

One of the choice instruments in the festival will be Cornell’s internationally admired baroque organ, housed in our campus’s Anabel Taylor Chapel. More information about the instrument can be found here.

~Schedule ~

Wednesday, October 20, 12:30 pm

Anabel Taylor Chapel 

Jeffrey Snedeker, “Sweelinck Groot en Klein: Works for Large and Small Organ.”

Friday, October 22, 8:00 pm

Sage Chapel

Jonathan Schakel (Italian organ and harpsichord) with guest Megan Sharp (soprano),“Sweelinck in Italy.”

Saturday, October 23, 1:00 pm

Anabel Taylor Chapel

Annette Richards, Nathan Mondry, and Anna Steppler, “Sweelinck and the Germans.”

Saturday, October 23, 8:00 pm

Anabel Taylor Chapel

David Yearsley and guest Martin Davids (baroque violin), “Melancholy Flee! Schop and Scheidemann in the Organ Loft.” RSVP recommended for this final event; register here.