On October 2–4, 2014, the conference and festival “Sensation and Sensibility at the Keyboard in the Late Eighteenth Century: Celebrating the Tercentenary of C. P. E. Bach” kicks off a new $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies at Cornell.
In concerts and talks over three days, guest performers and scholars, as well as Cornell faculty and graduate students, will explore late eighteenth-century theories of sentiment and feeling in Europe and America, focusing on the music of C. P. E. Bach and the holdings in Cornell’s collection of historic keyboard instruments (fortepiano, organ, harpsichord and clavichord).
Participants will include seven distinguished Department of Music alumni: Tom Beghin DMA ’97 (McGill University), Geoffrey Burgess PhD ’98 (Eastman School of Music), Emily Dolan PhD ’06 (Harvard University), Nick Mathew PhD ’06 (University of California, Berkeley), Pierpaolo Polzonetti PhD ’03(Notre Dame), Andrew Willis DMA ’94 (University of North Carolina at Greensboro), and Steven Zohn PhD ’95 (Temple University). A highlight of the event will be the Atkinson Forum concert, “America in Sentimental Europe,” featuring the celebrated and strange glass harmonica, and given by the award-winning period instrument ensemble Ars Lyrica Houston.
The event is organized by Cornell University Organist and Professor of Music Annette Richards. Richards’s talk, “Sensibility Triumphant: C. P. E. Bach and the Art of Feeling,” will also be featured as a keynote speech next November at the University of Oxford as part of a conference on “C. P. E. Bach and Eighteenth-Century Keyboard Culture.”
The Cornell music department became home to the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies in 2011 thanks to two initial grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation totaling $470,000.The new grant from the Mellon Foundation funds activities on and off campus, including the upcoming festivals “Environs Messiaen: Nature Rendered at the Keyboard” on March 5-8, 2015 and “Forte/Piano: A Festival Celebrating Pianos in History” on August 5-9, 2015, as well as “Technologies of the Keyboard,” a joint multi-year initiative exploring the keyboard arts across the centuries. For more information, see http://www.westfield.org