Schoen Duo Amsterdam and Utrecht Research Trip
I was very fortunate to travel to the Netherlands and visit Amsterdam and Utrecht from October 17 to 29. Kathleen and I researched and collected material for a program we are developing about Jacob van Eyck and his contemporaries. Jacob van Eyck was a carillon and recorder player in Utrecht during the Dutch golden age. We were able climb the tower of the Utrecht cathedral and see one of the carillons that van Eyck played. We heard a concert by the current carillon player on this carillon and also visited the church yard where van Eyck became famous for playing his recorder on summer evenings.
We were also able to have a walking tour of Utrecht with Jacob van Eyck scholar, Thiemo Wind. We gained wonderful insights into 17th century Utrecht and the music of the Dutch Golden Age, as well as much background of life and times Jacob Van Eyck.
In addition to this research I also attended workshops and masterclasses on creating and improvising divisions and diminutions, the kind of variation technique that van Eyck is known for, and a style similar to the variation of the La Folia by Corelli in Suzuki Violin Book 6.
I attended a masterclass and concert by the Spanish recorder player and specialist in baroque improvisation Vincente Parrilla. In the masterclass he worked with pre-professional students who were improvising and writing their own divisions on songs of the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods. His concert featured his own divisions based on the treatise of Ganassi from the mid 1500s in Venice.
I also attended a teachers’ day where the topic was teaching improvisation. While some of the discussion focused on improvising in historical styles, a substantial part of the day was devoted to free improvisation on any instruments. The keynote speaker for the day was Jostien Gundersen who teachers improvisation at the Grieg Academy at the University of Bergen in Norway.
I plan to explore many of the ideas I picked up in my own practice, but will also be working with some of the ideas and materials with students in lessons and classes in the coming while.