Described as the "Jimi Hendrix of the harpsichord," Byron Schenkman pushes the limits in classical music. The keyboard wizard brings 300-year-old music into the 21st century with his vibrant interpretations. After only 11 years performing, the 34-year-old award-winning virtuoso has quickly risen to international prominence--rare for American harpsichordists who don't move to Europe.
As artistic director of his own orchestra, Seattle Baroque, he'll present its first summer festival this season. Offstage he's in the studio, having just recorded his 25th CD. Perhaps his "Queer Baroque" program--featuring the work of gay composers Handel, Corelli, and Lully--best achieves his aim of both entertainment and education within music's social context.
"The fact that I'm gay isn't remarkable," says Schenkman, adding that Wanda Landowska, the 20th century's premier harpsichordist, was a lesbian. "Lots of people are gay in the field--but very few are out." That surprises him. "Being Jewish and gay are integral parts of who I am. I don't think of myself as an in-your-face kind of person," says Schenkman. "But if I'm closeted, how expressive can I be?"
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|Title Annotation:||classical musician|
|Publication:||The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Aug 14, 2001|
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