Tobie Miller : Bach on the Hurdy Gurdy

Excerpts from the artist’s website:

The Canadian hurdy gurdy player, recorderist and singer, Tobie Miller, grew up in a family of classical musicians. After studies in Early Music Performance (B.Mus) at McGill University (Montreal, Canada), she moved to Basel (Switzerland) to pursue postgraduate studies at the prestigious Schola Cantorum Basiliensis (Aufbaustudium Diplom with High Distinction, 2008, and M.A. Musical Pedagogy, 2012).

Currently based in Basel, Tobie continues to perform and record both as a soloist and with numerous ensembles including the Ensemble Baroque de Limoges (recording of Haydn and Mozart concerti, on the Laborie label), Les Musiciens de Saint Julien (recording on Alpha label), Per Sonat (recordings on the Christophorus label), Le Miroir de Musique (recordings on the Ricercar label), Leones (recordings on the Christophorus and Naxos labels) and her own ensembles, La Rota and Ensemble Danguy.

One of the only hurdy gurdy players to come to the instrument through early music, she is recognized as a virtuoso of the baroque hurdy gurdy, and performs in various formations, including in duo with the Austrian hurdy gurdy player, Matthias Loibner, as well as with well- known conductors such as Jordi Savall, Christophe Coin, and Wieland Kuijken.

Screen Shot 2019-11-26 at 3.54.04 PMJohann Sebastian Bach’s music has been a leitmotiv in Tobie Miller’s musical life, which is why it was her big dream to adapt his wonderful solo works for the hurdy-gurdy. If Bach knew this instrument, it was most probably as a peasant’s or beggar’s instrument. However, during his lifetime, the hurdy-gurdy was a favorite instrument of the French upper classes.

For this recording, Tobie Miller employed historical fingerings and playing techniques, which are described in great detail in French tutors of the eighteenth century. In addition, she “borrowed” playing techniques of other baroque string instruments: for example, pizzicato as well as the forward and backward movement of the crank to imitate the detached articulation of a violin.

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