Tuning up antique ivories

Music student Andrew Burn is helping music professors James Wright and Alexis Luko, organize a benefit concert to raise $10,000 to restore the university’s 240 year old fortepiano to its original glory. (James Park Photo)

Students and faculty of the School for Studies in Art and Culture’s music program are hosting a fundraiser to dust off an instrument tucked away since the ‘70s. The fortepiano which traces its lineage back to the 1770s, is in dire need of a tune-up.

Music professors James Wright and Alexis Luko, and Andrew Burn, a music student who specializes in baroque bassoon, are organizing a benefit concert, For Heaven’s Sake! Let’s fix this fortepiano, to raise $10,000 to restore the 240-year-old piano to its former glory.

“This is a hugely exciting initiative, but it might not have been kick-started had it not been for the interest and efforts of Andrew,” saysWright. “He is an outstanding student in our program.”

Ottawa-area musicians and faculty and students of the School for Studies in Art and Culture will perform 18th century English music on Oct. 22, at 7:30 p.m. at the Church of St. Bartholomew, beside Rideau Hall.

Burn is enthusiastic about the specially-designed program, which “will feature the music of both home-grown English composers such as Arne, Avison, and Burney, and composers who settled in England such as Handel and Herschel.”

“We have reason to believe that our Beck/Barwick instrument is an extremely rare gem,” adds Luko. “Very few of these instruments are still in existence.”

In the 1980s, the estate of Jack and Francis Barwick bequeathed a collection of paintings by David Milne to Carleton University. The Carleton University Art Gallery (CUAG) was built to house the collection. Francis Barwick was among the first harpsichordists in Canada in the 20th century. Among the possessions she willed to Carleton, was the historic Beck Fortepiano.

The instrument will be sent to a restoration expert in Napanee in the spring of 2011. Once restored, the fortepiano will be returned to campus and heard once again in concerts celebrating early music.

Tickets are $40 for adults and $20 for students.

For additional information visit: http://www2.carleton.ca/music/events/for-heavens-sakelets-fix-this-fortepiano/

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