Bowing at Bowdoin, and elsewhere

by Artist Development Fellow

Keir GoGwilt ’13, a resident of Adams House concentrating in Literature, was awarded an Artist Development Fellowship to attend the Bowdoin International Music Festival. GoGwilt also plans to study abroad with professors at the Köln Hochschule and the Guildhall School of Music. Additionally, he will be working with American composer Tobias Picker on a recording. A member of the Brattle Street Chamber Players, he has performed with the Bach Society Orchestra. At Bowdoin he served as a Performing Associate Fellow and also performed with the Bowdoin International Music Festival Orchestra. He hope to purses a career as a concert violinist and be involved in the academic study of performance.

I spent the first few weeks of my summer studying with two violin teachers in Europe: David Takeno in London and Ute Hasenauer in Cologne. It was great to study with the two of them in a short period of time—they offer such unique perspectives on music making. David Takeno teaches from a house in Wimbledon called "The Artesian Well." It's a large cylindrical building, and he teaches on the top floor, which is a huge dome with a skylight and bookshelves all around the walls. As he teaches he pulls out books and scores from the shelves, constructing a virtual web of similar or related themes and ideas. In the few lessons we had, we covered as much repertoire as possible.

Ute Hasenauer's style of teaching is completely the opposite. We would spend two hours together on three or four passages of one piece. She and her husband have spent years compiling interviews, meeting with doctors and sports scientists, and studying videos of the great 20th century violinists, finding the common factors between all of them. She has formulated a science of violin technique that is incredibly precise and detailed. I learned so much from her in the three weeks I spent in Cologne.

I flew directly from Europe to the Bowdoin International Music Festival, where I performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the festival orchestra. By the time rehearsals started, I was still pretty jet-lagged and sleep deprived. However, the concert went really well, and the orchestra and conductor were really great to work with. For the first movement I played a cadenza by Alfred Schnittke, and for the last movement I played two cadenzas by Matthew Aucoin '12. I also played "Invisible Lilacs" by Tobias Picker on a contemporary music series the next week.

Currently I'm at Caroga Lake, playing chamber music in a festival that my friend started this year. I thought I might get a bit of a vacation here, but we've been working pretty hard—we've had to learn a full recital program in about three days. Yesterday we played a pre-show for Yo-Yo Ma and the Philadelphia Orchestra out on the lawn at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and we have concerts tonight and tomorrow night.

All in all it's been a great summer. I've learned so much, and I'm feeling really prepared for the upcoming year!

[Caption: Keir GoGwilt '13, violin, performs Beethoven's Violin Concerto at ARTS FIRST 2012, with Matthew Aucoin '12 (conductor) in background.]

[Caption: Keir GoGwilt (right) and pianist Menahem Pressler at Pressler's master class presented by the OFA's Learning From Performers program, spring 2012.]