Harpsichordist Recreates Famous 1652 Jam Session


Staunton, Virginia (October 23, 2015) – It may have happened 350 years ago, but its implications still impact the performance of music today. At a time when many musicians never ventured outside their immediate surroundings, German composer and keyboardist Johann Jakob Froberger undertook one of the first European concert tours. Froberger was a recognized virtuoso and was invited to bring his particular style and technique to dozens of destinations across Europe in the mid 1600s.

During that trip he met and befriended French master Louis Couperin in Paris. Couperin pioneered the art of improvisation. Meeting each other—sharing musical ideas and influences—was a treasured experience for both Couperin and Froberger. As a result, Couperin could share with generations of French musicians the new sense of form he learned from Froberger. Likewise, Froberger returned home to central Germany to spread the delight of Couperin’s free improvisations.

Harpsichordist Carsten Schmidt, familiar to audiences for his recent multiyear cycle of Bach concerts, will perform works by Couperin and Froberger. In his comments from the keyboard, Schmidt will also share anecdotes and insights relating to that famous meeting in Paris in 1652. As Schmidt notes, “That meeting was incredibly important for so much in later musical developments. It is hard to think that Handel and Bach, for instance, would have composed such music without the examples of both Couperin and Froberger.” Schmidt performs on instruments constructed after historical models.

The concert takes place Sunday, November 8 at 4:00 pm in the intimate setting of Faith Lutheran Church in downtown Staunton. Tickets are available in advance at Bookworks (101 West Beverley St.) and will be on sale at the door. It is the final concert offered in 2015 by the Staunton Music Festival.

WHEN:                  Sunday, November 8 at 4:00 pm
WHERE:               Faith Lutheran Church, 17 North Lewis Street, Staunton, VA
WHAT:                  Paris 1652, presenting solo harpsichord music by Froberger and Couperin
COST:                    Adult $22; senior $20; college student $8; ages 18 and under free


Staunton Music Festival

Established in 1998, the Staunton Music Festival (SMF) aims to engage and enrich audiences with a diverse selection of chamber music, performed by an exceptional group of international and American artists. Programs are consistently innovative, spanning music from the Middle Ages to world premieres of new music commissioned specifically for the Festival. For more information, stauntonmusicfestival.org


Carsten Schmidt, Founder and Artistic Director

Carsten Schmidt enjoys a flourishing career as a pianist, harpsichordist, and conductor, and has performed widely throughout Europe, North America, and Asia. He has been heard in such venues as the Ravinia Festival, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, the Moscow Conservatory, the Kuhmo Festival in Finland, German Mozart Festival, as well as in broadcasts worldwide. His repertoire ranges from the early Baroque to new works, of which he has premiered more than 100. He studied at the Folkwang Institute in his native Germany, as well as Indiana University and Yale. Since 1998, he has been Professor of Music at Sarah Lawrence College in New York.