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Bitterroot Baroque Inc. is hosting its first concert this Friday evening, May 22.

“The polished Seattle ensemble sound|counterpoint will play an engaging selection of lovely and virtuosic music by Vivaldi, Telemann, Fasch, Bach and Montéclair,” said Alex Shaffer, president of Bitterroot Baroque. “This is your chance to hear the astonishingly lush and satisfying sounds of instruments of the 18th century played expertly in the intimate setting of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church with its warm, resonant acoustics. The featured instruments are harpsichord, recorder, Baroque oboe and Baroque violin.”

Sound|counterpoint is comprised of four incredible musicians: Curtis Foster – baroque oboe, Miyo Aoki – recorder, Linda Melsted – violin and Jonathan Oddie – keyboard instruments.

Curtis Foster plays the baroque oboe and recorder. The Seattle Times praised his playing for its “brilliantly introverted charm.” He has performed concerts from San Francisco to Dubai. He said he met Shaffer a decade ago while an Indiana University graduate student on tour in St. Louis.

“We immediately hit it off. We were both woodwinds nerds, and he has an incredible collection of instruments, musical scores and other paraphernalia,” recalled Foster. “By a happy coincidence, we both moved west several years ago – Alex to Hamilton, and I to Seattle.”

Foster came to Hamilton to put on a concert with Shaffer, fell in love with the Bitterroot community and is excited to be returning with his fantastic group of friends and colleagues who comprise sound|counterpoint.

“We decided that this was the perfect opportunity for us to organize our first tour – we will be traveling on to Helena and Paradise after Hamilton for further shows,” said Foster. “We are excited to share our new program, Sonate aus Concertenart, with the friendly folks of Montana.”

Miyo Aoki plays recorder and performs music from medieval to modern and teaches all ages and levels. She has performed in the United States, Germany and Poland. She recently completed a KAZ Diploma (Artist Diploma) at the University of the Arts in Bremen, Germany. She has degrees in early music performance and mathematics from Indiana University.

“The program we’ll be performing in Hamilton on Friday is a really fun one,” said Aoki. “The title, “Sonate auf Concertenart” refers to a type of chamber music which combined elements of the concerto and sonata forms, resulting in exuberant music that is a joy to play and to hear. This is a chance to hear unusual music from the time of Bach and Handel played on instruments made in the style of the time.”

The group describes the May 22 program in this manner: “The Vivaldian concerto reached Germany in the first half of the 18th century and was an immediate hit. German composers adopted elements of its style, combining Vivaldian elements with typically German skills such as well-crafted counterpoint leading to the emergence of the Sonate auf Concertenart, or sonata in the concerto style. Making up the core of the program are two such pieces by Fasch and Telemann – both for recorder, oboe, violin and continuo – and works by Vivaldi, Bach, and Monteclair.”

Linda Melsted is a passionate violinist who has played across North America, Europe and Japan. In her career, she has appeared as a soloist, member and leader of outstanding ensembles, television performances and recordings. She was a member of Tafelmusik, Music Director of Nota Bene Baroque Orchestra, a regular guest leader and soloist of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra’s “Baroque and Beyond” series, and taught violin at the University of Waterloo.

The fourth member of sound|counterpoint is Jonathan Oddie, a versatile performer on early and modern keyboard instruments. He has performed in the United States, England and Germany. He has degrees in piano and harpsichord from Indiana University where he received the “Best Student Recital” award.

Oddie has been a member of the orchestras of Pacific MusicWorks, the Bloomington Early Music Festival, the Aston Magna Festival and Oxford Baroque. He is currently finishing a doctorate in musicology on the instrumental music of Orlando Gibbons at the University of Oxford.

“Sound|counterpoint” is kicking off their Montana tour with this concert in Hamilton and are donating a day of instruction in the art of baroque music on Saturday, May 23,” said Shaffer. “The visiting musicians are donating their time on Saturday to teach a workshop on playing Baroque music to area players of early instruments. The workshop is full with participants from Missoula, Victor, Corvallis and Hamilton.

“We look forward to welcoming them with a full house and a typically enthusiastic Bitterroot Valley audience.”

Tickets for the Bitterroot Baroque concert by “sound|counterpoint” are available only at the door and cost $20 for adults and $5 for students. The concert begins at 7 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 600 South Third Street, Hamilton.

Reach reporter Michelle McConnaha at 363-3300 or michelle.mcconnaha@ravallirepublic.com.

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Staff Reporter

Reporter at The Ravalli Republic