This year sees the beautiful Wighton Harpsichord’s 40th Birthday and Friends of Wighton will stage several special events to mark the occasion.
Celebrations begin with a double treat! Tim Heilbronn will remember (Time) Travels with My Aunt Annette, the distinguished musician who commissioned the instrument. We will then have a delightful harpsichord and baroque violin recital from The Highlands Duo.
The Highlands Duo began performing together in 2009 in Freiburg, Germany, where violinist Benjamin Shute and harpsichordist Anastasia Abu Bakar were studying at the Hochschule für Musik. The duo has performed at European venues including Schlosskonzerte Bad Krozingen and Schlossfestspiele Marburg and performed at American institutions including the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, Dickinson College, Southeast Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma Baptist University, and Ouachita Baptist University.
Anastasia Abu Bakar studied at the conservatories of Freiburg (BM), Florence, and Frankfurt (MM), She has performed as soloist with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Janus Ensemble Freiburg, Tactus, Oklahoma Virtuosi, and others. Recital appearances include the Museo San Marco (Florence), “Notte Bianca” Festival Florence, Schlosskonzerte Bad Krozingen, and, most recently, Bach’s complete Goldberg Variations at Oklahoma City UniversityShe has also served as a répétiteur for theater and oratorio productions including Scarlatti’s La Colpa, il Pentimento, la Grazia for the 2013 Rheingau Musik Festival. A specialist in the various national styles of basso continuo, she has published realizations for Blavet’s Op. 2 sonatas as well as J. S. Bach’s D-major Sinfonia (BWV 1045) and youthful G-minor fugue for violin and continuo (BWV 1026) though PRB Productions.
Violinist Benjamin Shute began performing on period instruments as a teenager after attending the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute in Ohio. During subsequent studies at the New England Conservatory (DMA, BM) and the conservatories of Freiburg and Frankfurt, he studied with Rainer Kussmaul, Bernhard Forck, Masuko Ushioda, and Lucy Chapman and served as co-founder/director of the New England Conservatory Early Music Society. He has performed internationally on modern and period instruments as chamber musician, soloist with orchestras in the States and Europe in concertos from the 17th to 20th centuries, and concertmaster of ensembles including the Boston Chamber Orchestra, Oklahoma Virtuosi, TACTUS ensemble, and numerous ad hoc modern- and period-instrument ensembles on both sides of the Atlantic.
Tim Heilbronn, oldest nephew of harpsichordist Annette Heilbron (n), graduated in Crop Protection from the University of Bath in 1979, then joined the British Antarctic Survey as Terrestrial Biologist on South Georgie where there are no crops to protect. The environment, however, did prepare him well for the climate of the east coast of Scotland. Where he joined SCRI (now James Hutton Institute) in 1983. Tim joined the University of Dundee in 2007 as SIPR Business Director, retiring in 2019. He is Past President of the Rotary Club of Dundee; Past Charity Convenor of the Nine Incorporated Trades of Dundee; Past Deacon of the Dyers Craft and now spends his time making Haggis- Hunting Whistles
The Wighton Harpsichord is a French double-manual instrument after the C18 maker Nicholas Blanchet. It was commissioned by the distinguished musician Annette Heilbron, a founder member of the National Early Music Association and the Helicon Ensemble, and built by Mark Stevenson, Cambridge 1983 and purchased for the Wighton shortly after the Centre opened.
Since arriving in the Wighton Heritage Centre, the instrument has been kept in tune and good repair by FoW Members, and professional musicians, Simon Chadwick and, currently, Mark Spalding, who is curating the celebration programme.