Music at St. Paul’s 2021-22 Artist Series continues with a concert by harpist Parker Ramsay on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The program features Ramsay performing his own transcription of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations, originally written for keyboard, which he has recorded to international critical acclaim.
Artist Series Concerts take place at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 305 W. Seventh St. (at Pine) in downtown Chattanooga. Tickets are $40, $30, $25 and $10 and can be purchased at the door or in advance through the St. Paul’s website.
Harpist Parker Ramsay, a Tennessee native based in New York City, recorded his transcription of Bach’s iconic Goldberg Variations in the unique acoustic of the King’s College Chapel. Released in 2020 on King’s College label, the recording has received wide-spread acclaim, being praised as “remarkably special” (Gramophone), “nuanced and insightful” (BBC Music Magazine), “relentlessly beautiful” (WQXR), “marked by keen musical intelligence” (The Wall Street Journal) and “a resounding success” (The Independent).
Talking about his decision to make his transcription of the Goldberg Variations, Mr. Ramsay said, “I wanted to show the world that the harp is an instrument of beauty, sincerity and transcendence, standing alongside the keyboard and string instruments as a worthy vehicle for the music of J.S. Bach.”
Mr. Ramsay’s career is distinguished by its breadth and crossing of instrumental boundaries and genres as a performer on the harp, organ and harpsichord. He holds a bachelor’s in history from the University of Cambridge, a master’s and artist diploma in historical keyboards from Oberlin Conservatory, and a master’s in harp performance from the Juilliard School. Equally at home on modern and period harps, Mr. Ramsay is dedicated to integrating contemporary music and historical performances and to invigorating the existing canon while delving into new and underperformed works.
Paul Thomas, St. Paul’s music director, said, “We are delighted to present harpist Parker Ramsay in this solo recital featuring his ground-breaking transcription of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which should sound gorgeous in our Sanctuary. This concert, like our others, will include pandemic safety precautions; and we encourage, as strongly as possible, that attendees be vaccinated if they are able. We give thanks to God for the ability to make and listen to live music, a blessing that by its recent absence has become even more special. We hope you will come and experience this beauty with us.”
The 2021-22 Artists Series concludes on Friday, March 25, with the Joshua Espinoza Trio, an ensemble with a unique approach to exploring jazz improvisation within the contours of a classical chamber music aesthetic.