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Orchestra Will Present 10-Year-Old Composer’s Baroque Suite
by David Brensilver | Feb 2, 2011 6:13 am
Performances of Baroque-era music typically feature works by composers whose names are familiar even to first-time concertgoers. Orchestra New England‘s upcoming BaroqueFest 2011 concert program would be no different were the name Shafner not included alongside those of Bach, Telemann, and Vivaldi.
While those composers have been gone for more than two centuries, Noah Shafner hasn’t yet reached his teenage years. Still, the 10-year-old composer’s music has been described as “brilliant.”
Harpsichordist Linda Skernick, who’ll perform J.S. Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in A Major, BWV 1055 with Orchestra New England on Feb. 12, will also perform five movements from Shafner’s Baroque-style harpsichord suite, four movements of which she performed in December at the Charles Shackford Memorial Student Composers Concert at Connecticut College, where she’s on the faculty.
“They’re not beautiful pieces for a 10-year-old,” Skernick said of the movements that make up Shafner’s suite. “They’re beautiful pieces.”
“It’s a Baroque suite,” Shafner said, indicating that the work includes an ouverture—spelled that way “because it’s French,” he said—an allemande, corrente, sarabande, aria, two menuets with a menuet da capo, and a gigue.
Talking about Skernick’s performance in December of his suite’s ouverture, allemande, corrente, and gigue, Shafner said, “It went really well.”
Skernick, who on Feb. 12 will perform those movements as well as Shafner’s sarabande, was first introduced to the 10-year-old’s music when fellow Connecticut College faculty member Arthur Kreiger—with whom Shafner studies privately, along with Waterford-based piano teacher John Metz—asked her to perform parts of the piece in a program of works by his Connecticut College students and one other private pupil.
“It’s brilliant,” Skernick said of Shafner’s piece.
Of the young composer, Skernick said, “He’s remarkable ... he’s extremely gifted.”
Orchestra New England Music Director James Sinclair was introduced to Shafner’s music a few weeks ago when Skernick performed the suite for him at her home. After telling Skernick that she should be prepared to play an encore following her performance of the Bach concerto on February 12, Sinclair decided that Shafner’s suite ought to be part of the BaroqueFest 2011 program “because it was just that important to both of us,” Skernick said.
Sinclair said he was “completely amazed” upon hearing Shafner’s suite and knew the audience would be, too.
“The music is worthwhile,” Sinclair said. “It says something more than the Baroque, and it also says something about the Baroque.”
“I like to write music in the Baroque style,” Shafner said, pointing out that Bach is the composer he most admires.
At 10, Shafner, who lives in New London and attends Solomon Schechter Academy, seems to have found his calling.
“I want to become a composer,” he said. “And I also want to conduct and also play the piano.”
Orchestra New England presents BaroqueFest 2011 on Saturday, February 12, at 8 p.m., at the United Church on the Green in New Haven. The program includes works by C.P.E. Bach, Telemann, Vivaldi, J.S. Bach, and Shafner.
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Way to go, Noah!
Love, Grandma Denise & Grandpa Matthew
Noah, I could not be more proud of you and you are a pretty great math student as well.
Congratulations! We are so very proud of you and send you lots of love.
Grandma Emily and Grandpa Jay
Excellent news, Noah Z. S. You’re on track for greatness.
Love and hugs to you, Aunt Diane and Uncle John
Noah, what a wonderful article! Kol hakavod!
I am very proud of you! I love your music and look forward to hearing more in the future.
Noah, we are very happy that your work is being recognized, though we are not entirely surprised—you have always been remarkably talented and hard-working!!
Congratulations! We are so proud of you! You are amazing!Looking forward to hear it.