A note from Dan Abraham (Chamber Singers Conductor and Director of Choral Activities)

As many might know, I work as a professional early music director outside of American University. In additional to invited engagements, I have been the director of the Bach Sinfonia for the past 18 seasons. I regularly work with the very best of the best specialist in early music. Talking about double-dotting, temperament, noté inegal, continuo realization and cool continuo instruments are part of my regular everyday thinking and dialog with the other musicians with whom I regularly work. They understand the intimate details of creating just the right shape and style for this music and do so with organic ease.

Occasionally I am asked what it is like and how it is different to do this kind of more specialize performance work with my students at American University. And to this question I usually say — always a joy but always a challenge. The joy is sharing my area of specialization, knowing that the kind of insight and issues I can introduce are things that they may not have otherwise ever experienced as an undergraduate, or knowing that I have exposed my students to a highly rich repertoire that constantly provides me so much enjoyment to explore with others. The challenge: getting them to understand both the freedom and care with which this style must be approached in such a short time. Specialist take a lifetime to study the world of primary source documentation regarding what they do; undergraduate students do not! So, we prepare the basic notes, diction, rhythm, and basic shape; then we start to look at the intimate details of how to make this work. I get to be the specialist sharing what I know about performing this music so the students can quickly learn more about the details of early music performance.

Come hear what they are able to achieve in one semester’s work — April 19 and 20 at 8 PM!


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