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Yale Collection of Musical Instruments live streams Juilliard Baroque Sunday

January 28, 2014

purvis collectionNew Haven Register
By Joe Amarante

NEW HAVEN >> Tickets to the Sunday afternoon concerts at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments museum on Hillhouse Avenue are a tough get. But there is a way to be a part of this series in celebration of the skilled instrument craft and musical artistry that continues Sunday at 3 p.m. with a Juilliard Baroque ensemble concert.

The concert will be held in the acoustically strong, second-floor gallery at the Collection on Hillhouse Avenue that only seats about 100 people. You can call the Yale School of Music concert office at 203-432-4158 to see if you can get a reservation, but the other way to experience the concert is by calling up the live stream of it online at music.yale.edu/livestream/collection.

“It’s fantastic. It’s so beautiful,” the Yale Collection’s Director William Purvis said of the concert space, which this week will include the Blanchet harpsichord from the 18th century. “The space is wonderful for the harpsichord.”

Juilliard Baroque, comprised of period-instrument specialists, includes ensemble director and Yale faculty member Robert Mealy on violin; Gonzalo Ruiz on oboe and Dominic Teresi on bassoon; both of whom come in “very often to do early music master’s classes for the students”; and Jeffrey Grossman, a “young and up-and-coming harpsichordist from New York,” said Purvis.

Purvis, a professor at Yale who is also head of the wind and brass department, finds awe in what he’s learned from the collection.

“It’s really connecting to history in a way that gives you a really fantastic perspective, which I would argue helps us all to face the future.”

Juilliard Baroque’s program will include duos and trio sonatas by Quantz, J.S. Bach, C.P.E Bach, Zelenka and Telemann.

Purvis said it’s difficult to use certain instruments from the collection in concerts because they’re fragile.

“The old wind instruments, they’re quite problematic … they’re less stable, they’re more difficult to play,” he said.

And the Blanchet (pronounced “Blon-shay”)?

“It’s a fantastic instrument and has been copied many times,” Purvis said. “It’s a French instrument from 1740. It’s a lesson in how corrupt the music instrument business has always been.”


Purvis, a horn player who does classical and modern concerts of his own, said there are between 800 and 900 instruments in the collection (many in storage at any one time) “but the keyboard collection is really the treasure of the collection, in a way … the equal of any collection in the world.”

The Yale collection is open for viewing Tuesdays through Fridays, 1-4 p.m. and Sundays 1-5 p.m. and (whether you go there or access it from home) you can view the collection online and hear descriptions and samples of some of the instruments at the YCMI website. The concerts take place from time to time (two in March and one in April).

So you might continue to try and get a place inside the second-floor room for one of these concerts. (Tickets are $20, $15 for seniors and $10 for students.)

“It is really inspiring to hear,” said Purvis. “I mean, it’s great to hear the live streaming; it’s great to hear the recorded examples, but that’s like a touchstone to the real thing in person.”