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DAHA Recommends: Sweelinck and His Legacy: Organ Recital by Pieter Dirksen

  • The Church of the Transfiguration 1 East 29th Street New York, NY, 10016 United States (map)
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Explore the musical legacy of Jan Sweelinck at the invitation of musicologist/NYU Professor Michael Beckerman and The Sweelinck Seminar of NYU FAS Music Department:

When we hear the “New World” Symphony live we are participating in a tradition of public concerts designed for...listening...that dates back to the works of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck in the Dutch Golden Age.  In my seminar we have asked what this kind of music should mean to us today, whether Sweelinck or Dvořák. 

Internationally acclaimed organist Pieter Dirksen will present a special recital with commentary by Professor Beckerman and David Catchpole (both DAHA Board Members) and other experts.

Admission is free; no reservations required.

 The Sweelinck Seminar of the NYU FAS Music Department presents a concert by the internationally renowned keyboardist Peter Dirksen tracing the lineage of North European organ music from Sweelinck through his students Heinrich Scheidemann and Samuel Scheidt, to the later baroque masters Dieterich Buxtehude and J.S. Bach. 

Pieter Dirksen is a musicologist, organist, and author of The Keyboard Music of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck: Its Style, Significance and Influence.

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621) was a Dutch organist, pedagogue, and prolific composer of keyboard and vocal works, the best known of which is the Fantasia Cromática. His career spanned the late European Renaissance and the period of colonial expansion and wealth known as the Dutch Golden Age. When Calvinist churches renounced organ music during services after driving out the Spanish Catholics, Sweelinck and his contemporaries were called upon to play on these great organs in a secular setting. These regular performances were among the first examples of “public concerts” as we know them today and thus Sweelinck’s keyboard music represents an early example of large-scale instrumental music enjoyed for its own sake—separate from the context of ritual or any other function. Though as a result his music is sometimes associated with ideas of musical abstraction and later “absolute music,” we believe that his works are filled with dramatic moments and profound introspection. 

 The Sweelinck Seminar is a semester-long course exploring the music of Sweelinck and related issues in music and the arts and politics of the Dutch Golden Age. Michael Beckerman is Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Music at NYU.