Harpsichordist Jory Vinikour leads complete Brandenburg Concertos in two-night Aspen Music Festival event | AspenTimes.com

Harpsichordist Jory Vinikour leads complete Brandenburg Concertos in two-night Aspen Music Festival event

Harpsichordist Jory Vinikour , photographed in his Lincoln Park apartment, in Chicago, on Saturday Mar. 1, 2015.
Chicago Tribune | Chicago Tribune


What: The Complete Brandenburg Concertos, presented by the Aspen Music Festival and School

Where: Harris Concert Hall

When: Wednesday, July 10, 8:30 p.m. & Thursday, July 11, 8 p.m.

How much: $50-$85

Tickets: Aspen Music Festival box offices and aspenmusicfestival.com

What: Frank Martin’s ‘Petite symphonie concertante’ with soloist Jory Vinikour

Where: Benedict Music Tent

When: Friday, July 19, 6 p.m.

How much: $82

Tickets: Aspen Music Festival box offices and aspenmusicfestival.com

In a two-night concert event, harpsichordist Jory Vinikour will lead a chamber orchestra through Bach’s complete Brandenburg Concertos this week at Harris Concert Hall.

The Chicago-bred Vinikour is among the world’s leading harpsichordists. A Grammy nominee — the first harpsichordist nominated for the best solo classical record — his repertoire from the Baroque period of the Brandenburgs to contemporary works, like Frank Martin’s “Petite symphonie concertante,” for which he’s the featured soloist in a concert next week with the Aspen Chamber Symphony.

Vinikour is filling in as a conductor of the Aspen Music Festival and School’s much-anticipated Brandenburg recitals for his friend Nicholas McGegan, who dropped out last month.

Vinikour will lead the concerts from his keyboard.

“It’s different from the conductor on his or her podium telling everybody how this will sound,” he said. “I express it through the keyboard as much as through gesture.

“I see myself as a sort of first among equals, I feel certain that we’ll have a general consensus about how these pieces will go.”

The series is aimed at classical neophytes as much as Aspen’s Bach buffs, with Vinikour’s simple intention “to make the music as fresh as when it was written” with Bach’s groundbreaking combinations of instruments.

Virtually no piece of contemporary music can escape the Brandenburgs’ influence, he argues: “The influence of Bach’s novel orchestral colors is just about everywhere.”

So Vinikour isn’t stretching to impose a new reading on these well-known, well-loved and definitive Baroque compositions. He’s eschewing the novelty of using period instruments or historical techniques, instead aiming to lead a world-class chamber orchestra through some of the world’s greatest music more than three centuries after Bach wrote it.

“I’m not trying to impose a stamp of my own at the cost of the music’s integrity,” he said. “I do see performances of Baroque music where I feel the conductor and performers are so eager to be seen that the music is no longer heard as it is intended. I’m looking for great quality playing and I’m convinced my colleagues want to do the same.”

Wednesday night’s program will include Brandenburg Concerto Nos. 1, 3 and 4 along with Bach’s Concerto for Three Violins in D major; Thursday’s will feature 5, 6 and 2, closing with Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins in B minor.

Although he has a busy summer season ahead — including Bach’s complete Goldberg Variations at Ravinia — Vinikour’s preparation for the Brandenburg recitals has been all-consuming.

“I have the Brandenburgs in my head and fingers day and night,” he said.


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