JJC Musica Viva Inaugural Concert of the Fall Season on Sept. 17 Features New, Custom Made Harpsichord

The Joliet Junior College Musica Viva Series presents “Chamber Music in the Gallery: New Harpsichord Dedication Concert,” on Sunday, September 17 at both 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. in the Laura A. Sprague Art Gallery on Main Campus, 1215 Houbolt Road in Joliet.

Joliet Junior College Fine Arts Professor Phillip Spencer will perform on the college’s recently acquired harpsichord and be assisted by adjunct faculty members Adam Roth on guitar, Gerik Fon-Revutsky on bassoon, and professional member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus and The Grant Park Chorus, Angela Presutti, soprano. The one-hour program will include works by F. Couperin, F. Devienne, F. Ferko, G. F. Handel, M. Ponce, H. Purcell, D. Scarlatti, and F.X. Thuri. 

The Fine Arts Department, under the guidance of Professor Philip Spencer, acquired its new, custom-made two-manual concert harpsichord earlier this year. This is one of only a few large concert harpsichords in the southwest Chicago metro area, and a very unique instrument for a two-year college to possess. This one-of-a-kind piece was built and decorated entirely by hand in the style of a 17th-century Flemish instrument after Ruckers by Glenn Giuttari Historical Keyboard Instruments of Rehoboth, Massachusetts.   

According to Spencer, the two-manual concert harpsichord will be used for student instruction and recitals, faculty recitals, and accompanying soloists and ensembles.  

Spencer has worked in JJC’s Fine Arts Department for 15 years as a music professor and director of choral and vocal music. He conducts both of the college choral ensembles teaches world music, applied and class voice and serves as Coordinator of the Musica Viva Concert Series. 

Spencer earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Wittenberg University and holds Master of Music degree from the Yale University School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music. He has completed one academic year of church music study in Berlin, Germany and has done doctoral work in choral conducting and organ at the University of Iowa. His harpsichord teacher, Gertrude Faber, is the student of one of the greatest harpsichordists of the 20th century, Gustav Leonhardt. 

In addition to his college teaching, Spencer is Founding Conductor of the Lutheran Youth Choir International, a select touring ensemble of high school singers from throughout the United States and Germany; and Founding Artistic Director of the biennial Festival of Global Vocal Music at Mansfeld Castle in Mansfeld, Germany. As a composer, Mr. Spencer was awarded first prize in the Roger Wagner International Choral Composition Contest at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles; was a finalist in the Ithaca College Choral Composition Contest; and was the winner of the Illinois Chapter, American Choral Directors Association 2014 Choral Composition Contest.   

JJC’s Musica Viva series includes guest performances throughout the academic year by JJC faculty and visiting artists. It is funded by the JJC Foundation. 

For more information about the Musica Viva series or JJC’s Fine Arts Department, call 815-280-2223 or visit www.jjc.edu/finearts.

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