Young and Old

Friday, May 21, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Members of Juilliard415 performing in the WQXR studios Members of Juilliard415 performing in the WQXR studios (David Garland/WNYC)

This Sunday at 4:05 pm, you'll hear the baroque orchestra Juilliard415 join me in the WQXR Studio to perform and chat. Juilliard415 features graduate-level students from The Juilliard School's new Historical Performance program. So these are young people performing on very old-style instruments.

You might wonder, as I did: are these folks seeking refuge from the modern world? Are they Luddites who prefer old-fashioned tools to new?

Well, in fact, it seems these musicians are drawn to baroque music through their love of its sound and textures, and by a sense of adventure. The baroque instruments, which differ physically from their modern counterparts, present new challenges to the musicians, new qualities for them to explore and exploit. On air you'll hear a couple orchestra members discuss their excitement for the music and their instruments. Clearly their passion for ancient music is entirely contemporary.

I’m reminded of my own experience as a listener and musician years ago. In the late 1970s, after sating myself on experimental rock, avant garde jazz and modern classical music, I began to hunger for a new thrill, and the newest sound around to my ears was early music.

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