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Release: Oct. 11, 2002


Jory Vinikour, an American harpsichordist based in Paris, will bring his “magisterial new account” of J.S. Bach’s “Goldberg” Variations to the Lasansky Room of the University of Iowa Museum of Art at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27.

The performance, sponsored by the museum and the Iowa City Early Keyboard Society, will be free and open to the public.

The “Goldberg” Variations -- originally titled “Aria with 30 different variations” -- was published in 1741. Bach presented a copy of the Variations to the Russian Ambassador to Dresden, probably for the use of the count’s young resident harpsichord player, Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, who had been Bach’s student. A later legend has it that Goldberg played the variations to entertain the count when he had insomnia, but there is no authentic evidence to support this attractive story.

Although the “Goldberg” Variations is one of the best known and most widely recorded pieces in the early keyboard repertoire, Vinikour’s recent 2-CD release for Delos has attracted wide attention and considerable critical acclaim. An extensive review in Early Music America hailed the recording as a “magisterial new account, which convincingly dispels the listener’s fears that this is ‘just another’ version.”

The review concludes, “By turns ruminative, lyrical, brilliant and regal, this new CD warrants the following recommendation : Even if you already own several outstanding recordings of the ‘Goldberg’ Variations, do not fail to check out this one.”

“Jory Vinikour, an American harpsichordist based in Paris, makes his debut on Delos International with an invigorating performance of the ‘Goldberg’ Variations,” wrote the critic for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Vinikour makes the journey through the varied variations with the spirit of an explorer coming upon surprise after surprise. His artistry is vibrant, flexible, clear and keenly attuned to the musical demands.”

A native of Chicago, Vinikour studied piano in the United States, then traveled to Paris on grants from the Fulbright and Beebe Foundations to study early keyboard instruments. After winning first prizes at the International Harpsichord Competition of Warsaw in 1993 and the International Harpsichord Competition of the Prague Spring Festival in 1994, he has given solo performances in Europe, the United States, South America, Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

Vinikour has performed as a soloist with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra in Spain, Moscow and Dresden, the South Bohemian Chamber Orchestra and the Rotterdam Philharmonic. He has presented recitals and concertos at the Prague Spring Festival, Baroque Music Week of Monaco, Janacek May Festival and the Deauville Festival; for Radio France; and at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

He performs and records regularly with prominent early-music ensembles in Europe, including Les Musiciens du Louvre, Les Arts Florissants and L’Ensemble Orchestral de Paris. He has made several solo recordings and can also be heard in the Merchant/Ivory film “Jefferson in Paris.”

The Oct. 27 concert will be Vinikour’s third appearance in Iowa City. The concert will be performed on a harpsichord built by Kevin Fryer, very similar to the one used in Vinikour’s recording of the “Goldberg” Variations.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots west and north of the museum.

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