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ASTON MAGNA AT BARD WILL CELEBRATE VIRTUOSIC ITALIAN MUSIC OF THE BAROQUE ON FRIDAY, JULY 18
Emily M. Darrow
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Aston Magna at Bard, whose concert series has been described by the New York Times as "America's preeminent summer early-music event," will present the third concert of its 2003 series on Friday evening, July 18. Under the artistic direction of Daniel Stepner, Aston Magna aims to interpret the music of the past as each composer imagined it. For three decades, Aston Magna has been internationally recognized for its contributions to the popularization of early music performed with historically accurate instruments and techniques. The concert, presented by The Bard Center, will begin at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall. A preconcert talk begins at 7:00 p.m.
Virtuosic Italian music of the baroque will be the main feature of the program, titled Italian Madrigals and Trio Sonatas. Aston Magna regulars, tenors William Hite and Frank Kelley will perform madrigals by Claudio Monteverdi, including excerpts from the Scherzi musicali and from the seventh and eighth books of madrigals. Sonatas, ricercares, and toccatas by Stradella, Frescobaldi, Cima, Banchieri, Mayone, Mazzaferrata, and Marini will also be performed. Instrumentalists include Daniel Stepner and Anthony Martin, baroque violins; Laura Jeppesen, viola da gamba; and Peter Sykes, harpsichord.
Soprano Dominique Labelle returns for La Belle France, a concert largely devoted to French music, on Friday, July 25. She will be joined by flutist Christopher Krueger, violinist Daniel Stepner, viola da gambist Laura Jeppesen, and harpsichordist John Gibbons in a program featuring music of Marais, Couperin, and Clérambault, whose cantata Léandre et Héro will be performed. Harpsichordist Gibbons also will perform a French Suite by Bach.
For its final event on Friday, August 1, Aston Magna celebrates its three decades of music making with a performance of the complete Brandenburg Concertos by J. S. Bach. Among the many soloists will be Josh Cohen, trumpet; John Gibbons, harpsichord; Stephen Hammer, oboe and recorder; Christopher Krueger, flute and recorder; and Daniel Stepner and Nancy Wilson, violins. Stepner will also lead the instrumental ensemble.
Daniel Stepner, Aston Magna's artistic director, is a distinguished violinist of great versatility. He has performed and recorded contemporary music with Boston Musica Viva; the sonatas of Charles Ives with pianist John Kirkpatrick; and solo works, chamber works, and concertos from the baroque and classical eras on period instruments. He is first violinist with the Lydian String Quartet and has served as concertmaster of the Handel & Haydn Society, Banchetto Musicale, Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic, and New Haven Symphony, and as associate concertmaster of Frans Brüggen's Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century. Stepner has taught at the Eastman School of Music, New England Conservatory, and Longy School of Music.
Aston Magna at Bard is made possible in part by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, and the generosity of the Homeland Foundation and the Leon Levy Foundation at Bard College. A subscription for any three concerts is $50; single tickets cost $20. For information on the concert series and to order tickets, call The Bard Center at 845-758-7425.
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