Musician of the Month: Marie van Rhijn
Marie opens the series on Thursday 26 March 2015 with a French themed programme exploring works by Duphly, Couperin and Rameau.
What drew you to the harpsichord works by Duphly?
Duphly’s works are very well composed for the harpsichord, making the sound of the instrument full and rich with arpeggios and spreading chords. Moreover, it’s a music both enjoyable to listen to or to perform, thanks to his vivacity and elegant spirit, typical of 18th century French music.
Do you have an affinity to French repertoire and how do they differ from other European styles?
French music is really much connected to French language and that makes me feel very comfortable with this kind of expression as being a French native speaker. The musician, as the singer, is really an orator having the challenge to deliver a message in a convincing way. French repertoire from the 18th century is also related to the Italian style, using a lot of scales and Italian patterns. Some pieces of this programme use typical French dance settings and the ‘jeu luthé’ and others are closer to the Italian fast movements.
The harpsichord is quite a versatile instrument, allowing you to perform solo, chamber and orchestral works. Do you have a preference?
Variety is really an enjoyable aspect of my job. As a harpsichordist, I work in different fields such as chamber music with my own trio, trio Dauphine, on opera productions, vocal coaching and exploring its beautiful solo repertoire. I think each activity is inspiring and enriches all aspects of my work. It also offers a different way of playing and creating a different touch and sound on the one instrument.
What are you up to at the moment? Are you still studying?
At the moment I am a singing advisor at the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles and a harpsichord, continuo and chamber music teacher in Conservatoire in Cergy Pontoise. I am studying fortepiano with Knut Jacques to enlarge my repertoire and keyboard skills. I also auditioned for the Academie in Festival d Aix en Provence and have been selected for the Handel residency in June 2015. My forthcoming projects are two Monteverdi programmes with Les Arts Florissants: Madrigali guerrieri in April and Madrigali amorosi in June. We will perform these programmes in London at the Barbican on 23 May, which will be another opportunity for me to perform here in UK.
What have been the highlights of Handel House Talent so far?
Going through the experience of the selection process: auditioning as a solo harpsichord player is a rare opportunity and it is useful to train this aspect. I also really enjoyed meeting Laurence Cummings and my colleagues in the scheme. I am very much looking forward to the workshop with Laurence Cummings on 1 April and to final showcase concert all together next December.