David Daniels with members of the UNC voice studios. Credit Sarah Kowalski.
The last week of January saw extensive engagement events surrounding The English Concert’s performance of Theodora in Memorial Hall. Students, faculty, staff, and audience members were treated to masterclasses, panel discussions, question-and-answer sessions, and classroom visits by Harry Bicket and various members of The English Concert. Read on for a report of all engagement-related events!
Monday, January 27
Panelists from across the disciplines gathered in Gerrard Hall three days before Theodora to talk about the oratorio’s historical significance – how Handel’s audience viewed the subject matter and the music, and how 21st century audiences can deepen their understanding of Theodora through a re-imagining of the past. With 40-50 faculty and students in attendance, this Arts@TheCore event kicked off CPA’s exciting Theodora week. (Photo credit: KPO Photography)
Wednesday, January 29
When snow fell the evening of January 28, The English Concert and Harry Bicket were stuck in Dallas! With flights cancelled into the night, we could only hope that The English Concert could come first thing the morning of the 29th. This initially did not bode well for a scheduled cello masterclass, which principal cellist Joe Crouch was slated to give to Brent Wissick’s students the morning of January 29. But Brent worked with members of our staff to monitor the flight, communicate with participating students, and hope that the class could be rescheduled for later that afternoon.
Fortunately, Mr. Crouch was incredibly eager to teach as soon as he landed at RDU. Eight cello students gathered in Person Hall around 2:30 PM with Mr. Crouch, who, despite his exhaustion from the trip, was thrilled to spend 90 minutes coaching Bach’s Cello Suites before heading back to his hotel to rest.
Thursday, January 30
Harry Bicket, Joe Crouch, and two violinists from The English Concert attended a classroom session in UNC’s Kenan Music Building on the 30th – their concert day – to talk to 120 undergraduate non-music majors about performing Baroque music on period instruments. With Mr. Bicket at the piano, the string trio played excerpts from Theodora and talked about the meaning of certain passages. All 120 students (from Annegret Fauser’s “Great Musical Works” seminar) attended Theodora that night as part of their course requirement. (Photo credit: Cameron Morrison)
Later that evening, Mr. Bicket attended our Program Notes LIVE session in Gerrard Hall as featured guest speaker. Moderated by Professor of Music Anne MacNeil, the session was an informal question-and-answer about performance practice and what audience members could expect from that evening’s concert. With nearly 120 audience members in attendance, this Program Notes LIVE was one of CPA’s most successful to date. (Photo Credit: Cameron Morrison)
Friday, January 31
The day after Theodora, CPA and the music department took advantage of countertenor David Daniels’ Friday schedule, as he left significantly later in the day than the other soloists and ensemble members. Mr. Daniels held a voice masterclass in Person Hall for six undergraduate voice students, all of whom presented works from Handel operas or oratorios to a crowd of 40 faculty members and friends. The quality of these voice students was impressive, and Mr. Daniels coached them actively throughout each session. He ended the class with the statement, “you have some talent here at the University of North Carolina!” (Photo Credit: Sarah Kowalski)