Dead or Alive?: Improvisation in High Baroque Chamber Music
David Morris, viola da gamba and baroque cello;
Katherine Heater, harpsichord
Improvisation is at the heart of baroque music, even when composers give the performers fully fleshed-out melodies and information about the harmonic underpinnings of the music. Even with all of this black-and-white material facing modern performers, there’s still an expectation that the performer is supposed to give something of herself/ himself to every performance- something new, varied and unexpected. David Morris and Katherine Heater perform the music of Abel, Bach, Cirri, Marais, Telemann and others in a program that challenges listeners to figure out where the composer’s notes leave off and the performer’s new ideas begin.
David Morris is a member of The King’s Noyse, the Galax Quartet, Quicksilver and the New York State Baroque Ensemble. He has performed with Musica Pacifica, the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Tragicomedia, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Tafelmusik, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Musica Angelica, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, the Mark Morris Dance Company and Seattle’s Pacific Musicworks. Mr. Morris received his B.A. and M.A. in Music from U.C. Berkeley, and has been a guest instructor in early music performance-practice at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Mills College, Oberlin College, the Madison Early Music Festival and Cornell University. He has recorded for Harmonia Mundi, New Albion, Dorian, New World Records, Drag City Records, CBC/ Radio-Canada and New Line Cinema.
Katherine Heater, harpsichord, frequently plays with early music groups such as Musica Pacifica and Voices of Music. She has performed throughout the United States, including with Catacoustic Consort in Ohio, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho and at the Berkeley Early Music Festival, the Bloomington Early Music Festival, and the Tropical Baroque Festival of Miami. She received an Arts Bachelor from the University of California, Berkeley in music and a Masters of Music in historical performance from Oberlin Conservatory. At the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam Ms. Heater studied harpsichord with Bob van Asperen and fortepiano with Stanley Hoogland. Also an active teacher, Ms. Heater teaches harpsichord at UC Berkeley and privately. She has been director of the San Francisco Early Music Society’s Music Discovery Workshop and co-director of the SFEMS recorder and baroque workshops.