Preseason – Guy Whatley, Melodious Byrd

Preseason – Guy Whatley, Melodious Byrd

Sunday, September 24, 2023, at 3:00 p.m.
Preseason – “Pay What You Will”

St. Alban’s Episcopal Church | 3738 N. Old Sabino Canyon Rd., Tucson, AZ 85750
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Read the full program here.

This performance is generously sponsored by Barbara Cone and Scott Mason.

“Whatley is a rock star on the harpsichord. He makes a convincing argument for featuring it as often as possible.” —Arizona Daily Star

About the Program
Melodious Byrd: 400 Years of William Byrd

William Byrd’s beautiful music for keyboards was revolutionary. More complex and advanced than anything by his contemporaries, it would be studied and copied by future generations, and would deeply influence the future development of keyboard art.

John Baldwin ends a poem celebrating William Byrd with the words “With fingers and with penne he hathe not now his peere… Fare well melodious Birde, farewell sweet musickes frende.” Four hundred years after Byrd’s death, Byrd scholar and performer Guy Whatley presents Melodious Byrd, a diverse concert of Byrd’s celebrated keyboard music on organ, harpsichords, and virginal.

About Guy Whatley

Dr. Guy Whatley is the organist for Camelback Bible Church in Paradise Valley, Arizona, where he is currently supervising the installation of a new pipe organ by C. B. Fisk. He performs as the harpsichordist/organist for the GRAMMY- nominated True Concord Voices and Orchestra, and plays as a duo with trumpeter Jean Christophe Dobrzelewski.

Full Bio

Recently acclaimed by the Arizona Daily Star as “a rock star on the harpsichord,” GUY WHATLEY enjoys a diverse international career as a harpsichordist and organist, performing as a soloist, collaborative artist, and ensemble director. Dr. Whatley has played in several of the world’s most prestigious venues with many notable musicians of our time. Recent engagements have included concerts in Japan, China, Argentina, Brazil, Central America, and Europe, and have included festivals such as The Connecticut Early Music Festival, The Arizona Bach Festival, the Costa Rica International Festival, and Piccolo Spoleto, as well as performances with the Bach Society of Houston and MusicSources. Originally from Wales, Dr. Whatley held organ scholarships at Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral and at Clifton Cathedral. While completing an honors degree in musicology at the University of Bristol, he studied privately with early music pioneers Maria Boxall and Ton Koopman. A generous grant from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust allowed him to move to Stuttgart, where he studied organ with Ludger Lohmann and harpsichord with Jon Laukvik. Dr. Whatley pursued further training in France with Jean Boyer and Marie-Claire Alain, as well as Christopher Stembridge in Italy while he travelled across Europe studying national styles of organs and organ music. In 2005, Dr. Whatley completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Arizona State University under Kimberly Marshall. He also holds diplomas from The Royal College of Music and The Royal Schools of Music.

Dr. Whatley regularly performs repertoire spanning the Middle Ages to the present day. An abiding interest in this rich variety of keyboard music from various centuries has inspired his extensive academic research into historical keyboard performance practice, which he has presented at universities across Europe and North America, including the prestigious Organ Art Center in Gothenburg, Sweden. Of great interest to Dr. Whatley is Tudor and Elizabethan keyboard music, about which his research has revealed forgotten repertoires and performance styles, new critical editions, and writings on performance practice. Dr. Whatley has performed the complete keyboard works of Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, John Bull, Orlando Gibbons, and Thomas Tomkins on historic instruments and has broadcast this music for the BBC and NPR. More recently, Dr. Whatley has performed the complete keyboard music of Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frederick Handel, as well as the complete organ music of Francisco Correa de Arauxo, Franz Liszt, Herbert Howells and Olivier Messiaen.

The organs of Central America are a special passion of Dr. Whatley who has been involved in several restorations of historic instruments in that region including the Schvyen organ in San Jose Cathedral in Costa Rica, for which he played a dedicatory recital. Dr. Whatley has even traveled to the less explored locales of India and the Philippines to play historic instruments. Although a specialist in early music, Dr. Whatley is also a proponent of contemporary repertoire for the organ and has performed major works by Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, György Ligeti, Iannis Xenakis, Brian Fernyhough, and George Crumb. As a harpsichord soloist, Dr. Whatley has performed many twentieth century concertos, including those of Henryk Górecki, Frank Martin, Francis Poulenc, and Philip Glass.

An early love for collaborative music-making has led Dr. Whatley to a lifelong study of continuo playing, and he now performs with many of the nation’s leading ensembles. Dr. Whatley participated in Arizona’s first period performances of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers, and a staged period production of Bach’s St. John Passion, and he enjoys high demand as a collaborative organist. In the realm of chamber music, Dr. Whatley has formed a duo with Trumpeter Jean Christophe Dobrzelewski which has commissioned several new works, produced new editions of trumpet and organ music, and released three award-winning recordings. Dr. Whatley has also performed as an organ duo with Samuel Metzger. In 2015, Dr. Whatley took part in New York City’s anniversary commemoration of the September 11th tragedy with the performance of a specially composed cantata by Stephen Paulus in Alice Tully Hall.