VHRN Event: “From Beijing to Paris: Baroque Music from China and from St. Vincent de Paul’s Paris”

Ars Musica Chicago presents “From Beijing to Paris: Baroque Music from China and from St. Vincent de Paul’s Paris” at 4:00 p.m., Sunday, March 6, 2011 at the DePaul Art Museum in the Richardson Library of DePaul University, 2350 North Kenmore Avenue, Chicago.

This concert will present Baroque music with Vincentian themes: music composed in China by an Italian Vincentian priest, and music that St. Vincent de Paul might have heard in his early days in Paris.

Featured will be a modern world premier performance of a violin sonata composed by Father Teodorico Pedrini during his 35 years in China in the early 18th century.

Fr. Pedrini, a Vincentian missionary and Vatican emissary, served as music master at the courts of the Qing emperors. He taught music to the Emperor’s children, and tuned and maintained the court’s many harpsichords; he co-authored the first book on Western musical theory written in Chinese; and he founded a church, which, though rebuilt, is still in Beijing.

The sonata will be performed by renowned Baroque violinist Nancy Wilson and harpsichordist Joyce Lindorff, Professor of Keyboard Studies at Temple University, Philadelphia. They are in the process of recording all twelve of Pedrini’s Opus 3 violin sonatas for commercial release.

Interspersed throughout the program Dr. Lindorff, early music scholar and international expert on the harpsichord in China and the music and life of Pedrini, will share with the audience portions of the composer’s correspondence detailing his fascinating experiences in the Chinese court. She will also outline her research on the manuscript of Pedrini’s twelve violin sonatas, which is still preserved in archives in Beijing today.

The second half of the program moves from the courts of China to the court and streets of Paris. The audience will be able to enjoy lute songs from the early 17th century, which St. Vincent de Paul may have heard as a young priest in Paris. These lovely and evanescent airs de cour will be performed by the matchless pair of Stephanie Sheffield, soprano, and Joel Spears, lute. Also from Vincent’s Parisian years, Joyce Lindorff will perform a beautifully delicate harpsichord suite by Louis Couperin.

Tickets for the concert are $20 regular admission; $15 for seniors; free for DePaul University students; and $5 for non-DePaul students with ID. For more information, please email arsmusicachicago@aol.com or phone 312-409-7874.

Discounted parking through validation is available at DePaul University’s Sheffield parking garage, 2331 N. Sheffield, Chicago. Validation may be made at the desk at DePaul’s Richardson Library. Public transit access is available via the Fullerton stop on the Red Line and the #74 Fullerton and #11 Lincoln busses.

This concert is generously underwritten by a grant from the Vincentian Endowment Fund of DePaul University. Ars Musica Chicago is funded in part by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; a CityArts I Grant from the Chicago Department of Cultural affairs; and by generous individual contributors.

About Ars Musica Chicago
Since 1986, Ars Musica Chicago has provided concerts, workshops and educational outreach events on music from the 12th to the 18th century for audiences in the Chicago area. For more information, please visit www.arsmusicachicago.org

Additional Information
At present, there are two commercially available recordings containing violin sonatas from Pedrini’s Opus 3. Both recordings are performed by Ensemble XVIII-21 Musique des Lumières:
1) Teodorico Pedrini: Concert Baroque à la Cité Interdite – 5 solo sonatas (Astrée)
2) Amiot: Messe des Jésuites de Pékin – two movements of one sonata (Naïve)

What makes this concert possible is, according to Lindorff, an “unlikely cultural convergence during the 17th and 18th centuries that…set the stage for a nearly two century heyday of Western keyboard instruments in China.” Serving as a composer and tutor, Pedrini may even have played the harpsichord with one of the emperors himself. An unusual and unexpected crossing of East and West, she finds that at the time, and to varying degrees, “the clavichord and harpsichord were favorite instruments of the Chinese court in Beijing.”

For further details on Fr. Teodorico Pedrini, his music and life, see the article by Joyce Lindorff and Peter C. Allsop available on line: http://via.library.depaul.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1283&…