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Improvisation at Work: A Dialogue with the Instrument

About This Event

If, as we believe, musical creativity, or improvisation, is "composing at the keyboard," different keyboards lead to different experiences of creativity. The mechanics, the contact with the instrument, the sound, are integral and essential parts of "composing at the keyboard," just as the choice of a language with its characteristic inflections, sounds and vocabulary profoundly influences verbal communication. Improvisation is an art with a long history as well as a vibrant life in the present. It is a crucial tool for keyboardists, in both sacred and secular contexts and especially for organists as they encounter instruments from different historical periods and geographical traditions. In this series of workshops at multiple venues we will focus our attention on the instruments themselves and how they influence our creativity, a crucial but still little considered element in the study of improvisation.

Full Schedule

12:30pm: Box Lunch (location TBA)

1:15-2:30pm: ANABEL TAYLOR CHAPEL: GOART Organ, after Arp Schnitger 1706

  • Welcome - Introduction
  • Lead faculty: Bill Porter
  • Listen to the instrument and create a Chorale prelude

3:00-4:00 pm: ST. LUKE LUTHERAN CHURCH: Juget-Sinclair Organ, after Aristide Cavaillé-Coll

  • Lead faculty: Ivan Bosnar
  • Listen to the instrument and create a “Méditation”

4:30-6:00 pm: SAGE CHAPEL: 18th Century Neapolitan Organ, 18th French Harpsichord, Aeolian-Skinner Organ 1940

  • Lead faculty: Edoardo Bellotti with Bill Porter and Ivan Bosnar
  • a Harpsichord Prelude (harpsichord)
  • an Organ Intonation (Italian Organ)
  • a fantasy (Aeolian-Skinner)

6:15 pm: Dinner

8pm: Sage Chapel: CONCERT: “Fantasias and Dialogues”

  • Edoardo Bellotti, William Porter, Ivan Bosnar, others

Featured Guests

  • Edoardo Bellotti, professor of harpsichord, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester will be one of the performers and workshop instructors.
  • William Porter, professor of improvisation, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester will be one of the performers and workshop instructors.
  • Ivan Bosnar, instructor of organ and improvisation, Setnor School of Music, Syracuse University will be one of the performers and workshop instructors.
  • Annette Richards, professor of music, Cornell University - moderator, performer
  • Anne Laver, associate professor of organ, Syracuse University - moderator


Cornell University Center for Historical Keyboards

Ithaca, Syracuse, and Rochester Chapters of the American Guild of Organists

April 26, 2024, 12:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

various locations at Cornell University

MP18: Improvisation in Theory and Practice

Category: Workshop or Mini-Seminar

Audience: Open to the Public

Host: Cornell University

RSVP by April 10, 2024