Dreamstime recorder

Meet the Team - Early Music

Do you know our Early Music tutors? We continue our meet and greet of new and returning tutors in the Music department, this time learning about the talented Early Music team.

Katarzyna Kowalik, Peter Wendland and Ibrahim Aziz

Can you tell us a little about your background in music and what attracted you to Morley?

Katarzyna Kowalik: I completed a master degree in Historical Performance at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London (MMus 2011, MPerf 2012). I also graduated from the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw with Masters in both Piano and Harpsichord Performance. I perform regularly as a soloist and continuo player with many chamber groups and orchestras, combining work as a freelance performer with teaching.

I have had an opportunity to work with the harpsichord students at Morley College for last five years and had worked closely with the previous harpsichord teacher. Harpsichord class at Morley has had a long tradition and many great harpsichordists have been involved in creating its’ history - it is an honor for me to be part of it.

Peter Wendland: I love early music and explored the different styles and periods on early wind instruments, recorders and viols throughout my studies and as a member of different groups. My aim is to teach the understanding and recognition of the beauty of the past compositions.   

The well-established college gives a perfect opportunity for teachers and adult learners to explore and create an ideal learning environment, where all parties can benefit from each other’s experience and talents.  Every time you enter the building you feel welcomed and know that you will have a great time. 

Ibrahim Aziz: I was recommended to apply for the post at Morley by a colleague. It was unusual for a viol consort course to be offered outside a music college or university and I wanted the experience so I applied. I found the variety in Morley in all levels of learning a key feature of the institution. I started music at seven or eight and Iater became interested in baroque music and period instruments. I went to Music College to study the viola da gamba and I now play with several professional ensembles.

Can you give us some insight into what we can look forward to from your courses this year?

KK: The well tested format of the harpsichord class is to focus on one or two composers for the duration of the whole term, to explore particular style and go in depth into its historically informed practice. The repertoire list is designed accordingly to give the students an opportunity to choose from selection of easier/shorter and more elaborate/longer pieces.

This term the main focus will be on the works by Handel and Purcell. The students will be working towards the end of term informal concert, as well as some extra performances planned for the next year: the lunchtime concert at Morley in January, as well as the showcase of the Morley harpsichord students in the Handel House during the spring term.

Regarding the brand new continuo class starting this year - the course will cover the basic rules for realising the figured bass, as well as improvising upon ground basses, all in form of theoretical and practical exercises. Considering the fact, that some of the students are multi-instrumentalists, there might be an opportunity to practise continuo playing by accompanying other instruments.

PW: In the Recorder consorts Beginners/ Intermediate course students will explore different ways to interpret early music and help each individual to reach their potential.

For the Morley Recorder Consort course we will explore different periods and styles and focus on improving ensemble playing.  Every member will become more confident on their instrument and will be part of a well-balanced recorder consort.  

IA: The baroque course features a wide range of instruments and we explore music and performance practice from the 17th and 18th centuries. Students play at A=415 and I try and encourage them to research their repertoire and suggest interesting and less known music for the group. Students are taught to adapt and arrange the music to suit the instruments in the class and use online resources such Partifi and IMSLP. 

The viol course explores standard consort music from Europe by composes such as Byrd and Gibbons and also includes less common repertory for viols such as Venetian polychoral music and Renaissance vocal repertory. 

What advice would you give someone interested in joining one of your courses?

KK: Everyone with basic keyboard skills is welcome (at least two years’ experience on a keyboard instrument is recommended). Class is taught in a master class format, with one student playing and receiving instructions in front of other students observing and following the music. Students have individual tuition, when they can play pieces selected from the repertoire list and discuss them individually with the tutor with the possibility to have a feedback from the class as well. The class is run in a supportive atmosphere, where everyone can learn a lot from playing, but also listening to each other.

PW: Anyone who is interested in improving their recorder skills, should come and join one of these very friendly groups.  If you feel you need to learn more basic techniques and reading skills to improve, come to the first group. Others with some experience and confidence should join the second group. Both groups are very welcoming, inclusive and supportive. 

For the viol course students should be able to hold an independent line in a consort. For the baroque course you need an instrument that plays at A=415. Sight reading should be good. If you're not sure of your suitability please contact Ibi Aziz.

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