"Improvisation at Work" Workshop/Symposium

An evening of invention, surprise, and collaboration with two of today’s most distinguished experts on improvisation in historical styles, William Porter and Edoardo Bellotti, and the winner in 2020 of the American Guild of Organists’ National Competition in Organ Improvisation, Ivan Bosnar. 

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, or better "composing at the keyboard," 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 (church, concert hall, jazz club, movie theater), and especially for organists as they encounter, and get to know, instruments from different historical periods and geographical traditions. In this workshop/symposium 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.

Friday, April 26, 2024

1:15-2:30pm (Anabel Taylor Chapel)   

Workshop: GOART Organ, after Arp Schnitger 1706

3:00-4:00pm (St. Luke Lutheran Church) 

Workshop: Juget-Sinclair Organ, after Aristide Cavaillé-Coll

4:30-6:00pm (Sage Chapel) 

Workshop: 18th Century Neapolitan Organ, Harpsichords, Aeolian-Skinner Organ 1940

8:00pm (Sage Chapel) 

Recital: “Fantasias and Dialogues”: Composition at the Keyboard. Edoardo Bellotti, Ivan Bosnar, and William Porter create music together and separately, in the moment, on harpsichords and organs.


All events are free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the Central New York Humanities Corridor from an award by the Mellon Foundation.

This event is a collaboration between Cornell, Syracuse University, and Eastman School of Music.