Harpsichordist plays at Assumption

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Sarah Lavin

At noon on Thursday, February 27, Jonathan Bezdegian, a talented harpsichordist, performed his last three complex pieces of his harpsichord series in the Tinsley Community Room, an event sponsored by the HumanArts series. 
Dressed completely in black, Bezdegian began his first piece called “Pavana” by Ferdinando Richardson (c. 1558-1618). The audience was silent as the piece increased in strength and complexity to the end. Bezdegian then shared that this particular piece was quite sexual and a very popular dance song in Europe. The second piece, “Toccata Prima” by Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583–1643), was very important musically, as the composer used several themes throughout the piece which allowed the audience to “hear” the sexuality in the music. 
Bezdegian’s final piece, which was upbeat and yet complex, was “Praeludium” (Manualiter) BuxWV163 by Dietrich Buxtehude (1637–1707). He revealed that it took him several years to understand this piece since there are varying compositional moods intertwined in the music. Bezdegian’s performance was well attended by professors, students, family, friends and priests. 
“His performance was outstanding. He used the instrument well and chose music that fit well. His playing transported the audience back to the 16 and 17th century, he played a virtuoso repertoire,” said Professor Michelle Graveline, the HumanArts Director. 
“I chose these pieces because they are not common pieces and are not well known by many people. I also enjoyed the challenge of playing these very complex pieces,” said Bezdegian. 
He currently is the accompanist for the Assumption College Chapel Choir, as well as the Director of Music at St. Matthews Catholic Church in Southborough, MA. He was raised in Paxton, MA, and began studying music at the age of seven. Bezdegian, at age 15, became the organist in several local churches and a substitute organist for churches in the Central Massachusetts area. 
Bezdegian first began his intensive organ instruction with Dr. Frank Corbin at Assumption College before transferring to Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 2004. He graduated from Oberlin in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in music in organ performance and a minor in music history. Post graduation, Bezdegian traveled to Montreal, where he began his master’s studies in organ at McGill University with John Grew. While attending McGill, he also studied liturgical organ improvisation with William Porter and enthusiastically pursued harpsichord performance and continuo playing. Bezdegian received two intensive years of continuo realization and harpsichord study with Hank Knox. He frequently played continuo in the McGill Early Music Ensembles, and the McGill Baroque Orchestra, where he played continuo for Jean-Baptiste Lully’s opera, “Thesee.” 
Bezdegian recently studied at the University of Washington with Dr. Carole Terry for his DMA in Organ Performance. When Bezdegian was in Seattle, he had the opportunity to study organ improvisation with the infamous Douglas Cleveland and studied harpsichord with Jillion Dupree. 


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