The Telegraph
Wednesday , October 14 , 2015

t2 enjoys a musical ride into the past

(L-R) Jennifer Heemstra, Cynthia Watson and George Pope played a musical selection that included compositions by Gioachino Rossini, Antonio Vivaldi, JJ Quantz, Madeleine Dring and William Grant Still 

The Oxford dictionary describes the word ‘baroque’ as ‘the grand and highly decorated style used in European architecture, art and music in the 17th and early 18th centuries’. On September 29, pianist Jennifer Heemstra came together with Cynthia Watson on the oboe and George Pope on the flute to present a musical evening — The Kolkata Classics Club and Swar Sangam present The Whirlwind, in association with t2 — at Kala Mandir, treating listeners to a musical selection ranging from the Baroque period to mid-20th century compositions. The sounds of piano, oboe and flute swirled in the air. 

“Having performed for 1,200 Ashok Hall students in the morning, we were properly warmed up for an amazing evening performance. This special night was made possible by Swar Sangam... and a special thanks to our guest performer Vache Tadevosyan,” smiled Jennifer.


What got you interested in the piano in the first place?

My grandpa’s honky tonk piano playing intrigued me so much that I wanted to grow up to be a piano roll. My grandpa Art Holthaus will be 100 years old this year! He’s a retired farmer and a barbershop quartet singer with a sparkle in his eye.

The music you played began with the Baroque period. What is it about that period that you like as much as the music?

Baroque is when the world saw the precursor to the modern piano, so that should be my answer. But honestly I love the predominance of wigs, make-up and high-heeled shoes in men’s fashion!

From the Baroque to the mid-20th century... what are your favourite films that have used compositions from the period?

Rhapsody in Blue, a movie about and featuring the works of George Gershwin, is one of my favourites.  I absolutely love the tangos in Scent of a Woman (above), and of course I must include anything by John Williams. He’s left his mark on almost every great movie from this generation, from Star Wars to Frozen.

You termed the oboe, the flute and the piano an unusual pairing. Is there any other pairing that you are looking to experiment with?

In January, Carrie Pierce and I will perform many great works for the cello and piano in Calcutta. Also I have been experimenting with the haunting sound of the piano and duduk.

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