Gwendolyn Toth

Gwendolyn Toth is the director of the New York City-based early music ensemble, ARTEK, and a soloist on early keyboards (organ, harpsichord, fortepiano). She is married to harpsichordist Dongsok Shin, and they have three children.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

ARTEK at Corpus Christi Church, April 29, 2012

Following our performance at Middlebury College on April 28 (not to mention a lovely reception following the concert), we had a good night's sleep at Middlebury's Swift House Inn (highly recommended). And a fabulous breakfast. Then we piled into the cars and drove back to New York City where we arrived at Corpus Christi Church just in time to set up quickly and prepare for our Madrigals Book 4 concert.

Although a bit road-weary, the magic of Monteverdi lifted our spirits and carried the day, and we had a very well-received performance of the complete book of madrigals. Read the review from Allan Kozinn at the New York Times below. (Click to make the annoying ad - sorry! - go away.)

ARTEK Plays Book 4 of Monteverdi's Madrigals 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

ARTEK visits Middlebury College

ARTEK performed Monteverdi at the Middlebury College Second Annual Bachfest. Yes, that's right - Monteverdi and Bach.

A bit of a strange pairing, you say? Well, not so strange actually. Both composers really had a way with setting texts.

But logistically a challenge. Dan Swenberg brought two instruments; I brought two harpsichords, my lovely new folding harpsichord and the ever-practical small "Mersenne" harpsichord that I own - so we could have the appropriate temperament for each repertoire. The singers, some of them, brought two voices...Sarah Chalfy, a soprano, stepped in for mezzo-soprano Barbara Hollinshead, who was unable to participate because of a serious family illness. New-to-ARTEK tenor Owen McIntosh brought his ever-so-high Bach tenor (at 440 no less!) and his Monteverdi sometimes-quite-low voice. Peter Becker brought his Bach baritone and his Monteverdi bass voice. So goes it...

The first half of the concert was an ARTEK performance of Monteverdi madrigals; the second half, a collaboration with students and local community members in Bach's Easter Oratorio. I had visited Middlebury earlier in the winter to do some pre-coaching of the students, who were remarkably talented and adept at their instruments.

The best part playing side-by-side with my college organ professor (now retired), Emory Fanning, who played chamber organ with us for the Bach. Still a great player!

The Bach Festival in Mead Chapel at Middlebury College.

Emory Fanning, organist par excellence!