Friday, June 25, 2021

Joseph Hodge Named Music Director of Wilmington Community Orchestra

Joseph Hodge is the new Music Director of
the Wilmington Community Orchestra.
The Music School of Delaware's Wilmington Community Orchestra – an accomplished amateur ensemble for ages 18+ that performs standard symphonic and concerto repertoire –has announced that Joseph Hodge will be taking over the role of Music Director for the 2021-2022 season.

"We're very excited to have him on board," said Music School Dean Cheri Astolfi. "We reviewed almost 12 resumes and CVs, and we were delighted when he was interested in auditioning for the position."

Winds and brass players – with WCO members Mindy Bowman observing for the woodwinds and Steve Getty observing for the brass 
 also felt that he was an excellent choice and selection for the winds and for the ensemble.

Praised for his “musicianship and energy on stage” (Manchester Journal Inquirer), Joseph Hodge has previously served as the Music Director of the Manchester Symphony Orchestra & Chorale, Connecticut Valley Symphony Orchestra, and Hartford Opera Theater. Guest conducting engagements have brought him across the country to work with opera companies and orchestras alike, including the Jackson Symphony, Charlottesville Symphony, Wintergreen Chamber Orchestra, Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestra, Hartford All-City Youth Orchestra, Charlottesville Opera, Abilene Opera Association, Houghton Lyric Theater, and Oberlin Winter Opera. 

A champion of new music, Mr. Hodge has conducted many World Premieres, including Rachel Peters’ Wild Beasts of the Bungalow with Oberlin Winter Opera in 2020. Mr. Hodge holds degrees from the University of Virginia and the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford, and is currently finishing his Doctorate in Orchestral Conducting at Michigan State University. He has previously studied conducting with Kevin Noe, Edward Cumming, Christopher Zimmerman, and Kate Tamarkin.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Piffaro Artistic Directors Announce Retirement

Content of this post comes from a press release from Piffaro...

(L-R): Joan Kimball, Priscilla Herreid, Bob Wiemken in performance.
Joan Kimball and Bob Wiemken – Artistic Co-Directors of the Philadelphia-based period music ensemble Piffaro, the Renaissance Band – will retire from directing and performing with the ensemble. Kimball and Wiemken will step down at the end of the ensemble’s 2021-2022 season and turn over leadership to Priscilla Herreid, a longtime member of the ensemble.

In 1980, the ensemble began as a local effort to explore the then largely unknown world of Renaissance double-reed instruments and to create performing opportunities for early wind players in the Philadelphia region. In the ensuing 40 years of Kimball and Wiemken’s leadership, Piffaro has become a highly regarded ensemble in the expanding field of early music, both in this country and abroad. In addition to its annual concert series in Philadelphia and Wilmington, Piffaro has toured throughout North America and performed at major early music festivals in Europe and South America.

In addition to extensive concertizing, Kimball and Wiemken worked closely with instrument makers to build an unsurpassed collection of over 60 instruments modeled on their historical antecedents. They have unearthed long-overlooked instrumental works from the late 15th to early 17th Centuries and added them to the canon through Piffaro’s 20 recordings.

Kimball and Wiemken approached retirement thoughtfully, beginning with the question, “Should Piffaro continue?” The answer, especially from the ensemble’s musicians, was a resounding “yes!” Erik Schmalz, one of the group’s two historical brass specialists, noted: “It would be a shame to let everything that you’ve built just go away...Almost nobody else is doing the music that Piffaro does or playing those instruments.”

After a two-year selection process and transition strategy, Piffaro’s board of directors announced the appointment of Priscilla Herreid as artistic director designate. 

"The best choice for the ensemble would be...Someone who could maintain the distinctive Piffaro sound and continue to pursue its mission, yet also guide it into new ventures." said Kimball and Wiemken. "Priscilla was the clear choice. She has our full support, as well as that of the band and the board of directors."

Herreid has been a member of the ensemble since 2007. A graduate of Temple University and Juilliard, she enjoys a thriving career performing with top early music ensembles in the United States, but Piffaro has always been at the center of her professional life. Herreid will assume her new role at the beginning of the 2022-2023 concert season.

About Piffaro
Piffaro, now “widely regarded as North America's masters of music for Renaissance wind band” (St. Paul Pioneer Press), was founded in 1980 to recreate the rustic music of the peasantry and the elegant sounds of the professional wind bands of the late Medieval and Renaissance periods. Piffaro inaugurated its Delaware Valley concert series in 1985.