(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Organist Peter Sykes and trumpeter Robinson Pyle will duet in “New Directions for Trumpet and Organ,” a Berkshire Bach program, at the First United Methodist Church on Saturday, April 9, at 6pm. The concert features Baroque and modern works by Johann Heinrich Fasch, Kent Kennan, and Johann Sebastian Bach.
The program includes Johann Heinrich Fasch’s Trumpet Concerto, Kent Kennan’s Trumpet Sonata in an evocative transcription for organ and trumpet by Peter Sykes, and organ masterworks of J.S. Bach, including Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in E Minor, BWV 548, the “Wedge.”
Johann Sebastian Bach was a brilliant and prolific composer of Baroque organ masterworks. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth. Bach’s abilities as an organist were highly respected during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognized as a great composer until a revival of interest and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.
As part of its mission to present a well-rounded season of the works of Bach and his contemporaries, the Berkshire Bach Society’s annual organ concert often includes a brass component, as the musical combination of trumpet and organ seems to be undeniably complementary. Actually, however, this pairing was not common until the 20th century. Baroque compositions for the trumpet were either for trumpet ensemble, or concerti with orchestra. Modern trumpet sonatas are usually written for trumpet and piano in a concert hall setting.
The program, “New Directions for Trumpet and Organ,” brings the trumpet and the organ together – truly a natural match in the rich acoustical setting of the church – in works transcribed or arranged from original settings.
Organist Peter Sykes serves as Associate Professor of Music and Chair of the Historical Performance Department at Boston University, where he teaches organ, harpsichord, clavichord, performance practice, and continuo realization, Music Director of First Church in Cambridge, and principal instructor of harpsichord at the Juilliard School in New York City. He performs extensively on the harpsichord, clavichord, and organ, and has made ten solo recordings of organ and harpsichord repertoire ranging from Buxtehude, Couperin and Bach to Reger and Hindemith and his acclaimed organ transcription of Holst’s “The Planets.” Newly released is a recording of the complete Bach harpsichord partitas on the Centaur label, and an all-Bach clavichord recording on the Raven label; soon to be released will be the complete Bach obbligato violin sonatas with Daniel Stepner. He also performs and records with Boston Baroque and Aston Magna. A founding board member and president of the Boston Clavichord Society as well as president of the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies, he is the recipient of the Chadwick Medal (1978) and Outstanding Alumni Award (2005) from the New England Conservatory, the Erwin Bodky Prize (1993) from the Cambridge Society for Early Music, and the Distinguished Artist Award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation (2011).
Trumpeter Robinson Pyle performs extensively in the Boston area on both modern and historic instruments. He is currently a principal with Boston Baroque. Formerly, he was a principal with Apollo’s Fire and The Lyra Concert. Mr. Pyle has appeared with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, Albany Symphony, Boston Cecelia, Handel and Haydn Society, Ensemble Caprice, Vermont Symphony, and at the Boston Early Music Festival. He has won awards at the New York Brass Conference Quintet Competition and the Notre Dame Jazz Festival. As a jazz performer, Mr. Pyle has played in bands with such legends as saxophonist Joe Henderson, trombonist J. J. Johnson, and trumpeter Donald Byrd, and has appeared at the House of Blues. He has recorded for the Linn, Telarc, Eclectra, Interscope, OJE, and A2Z labels, and has been featured in radio broadcasts on WGBH, WCRB, WCLV, WKSU, National Public Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and European Community Radio. Pyle currently teaches in the Historic Performance Department at Boston University and is a faculty member in the Wellesley Public Schools. He holds a degree in Trumpet Performance from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music.