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Direction and viola da gamba
Jay Bernfeld is increasingly admired as a performer of great expressivity on the viola da gamba, the lyrical beauty of his playing the result of his deep love of the singing voice.
As a teenager, Jay Bernfeld witnessed dozens of live performances of the great singers of the twentieth century, particularly Renata Tebaldi. It is largely due to is appreciation of the dramatic voice that he has developed a new perspective on the performance of earlier repertoires, as witness the performances of Fuoco e Cenere the ensemble which he directs.
Passionately interested in the rediscovery and development of 17th century theater and opera he has directed the 1589 Florentine Intermedii La Pellegrina, Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria at the Athens concert Hall, and Marco da Gagliano’s La Dafne at the Palladian Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza. He has recently recreated Lorenzani's long forgotten pastoral opera "Nicandro e Fileno" on the stage of Versaille's Royal Opera. As a founder member of Capriccio Stravagante, Jay Bernfeld toured and recorded extensively with this ensemble as well as such celebrated European ensembles as Les Arts Florissants and Hesperion XX.
Jay Bernfeld is widely acclaimed as a soloist and continuo player, and for his performances of ornamental and improvisatory styles. He has appeared throughout Europe and America, and has recorded for Astrée-Auvidis, EMI, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, DG-Archiv, Ogam and ATMA classique. Award-winning releases of Antoine Forqueray’s Pièces de viole, the Buxtehude Abendmusik and the Monteverdi Combatimento di Tancredi e Clorinda have received extravagant praise in the international press. Jay Bernfeld recorded the Pièces de viole of François Couperin at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, continuing his survey of important masterpieces of the virtuoso viol literature with recordings of Marin Marais’ s Folies d’Espagne & Pièces de viole and première recordings of viol music of Johann Schenk and Joseph Bodin de Boismortier.
Jay Bernfeld has taught since his student days, in Italy, France, Norway, Switzerland and the United States - the viola da gamba as well as instrumental and vocal repertoire spanning five centuries. He has held master classes on baroque style and technique at the Festival d'Art Lyrique Aix –en-Provence 's vocal academy at director David Stern's invitation and assisted Maestro Stern for the Nozze di Figaro at the Rouen Opera. He recently gave master classes at the Leipziger Bachtage on the theme of "Bach and French Music"