Prof. Joshua Rifkin (2014)
The American musicologist, pianist and composer Joshua Rifkin was born on 22 April 1944 in New York. His life in music has spanned Renaissance motets and the music of ragtime virtuosos, Bach’s cantatas and baroque arrangements of the Beatles, released on the album The Baroque Beatles Book. He has conducted and appeared as soloist with leading orchestras and early-music groups in Europe, the USA, Japan, Australia, and Israel, in music ranging from Schütz, Haydn, and Beethoven to Stravinsky, Copland, and the newest moderns. The Bach Ensemble, which he founded in 1978, won the Gramophone Award for its recording of the Mass in B minor and has performed this and many other works of Bach at festivals in the United States, Europe, and beyond. In 1999 the University of Dortmund awarded him an honorary doctorate for his contributions to Bach interpretation, and in 2013 the Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen named him as recipient of the Lichtenberg-Medaille, its highest honour. Joshua Rifkin’s most recent CD, the award-winning Vivat Leo! Music for a Medici Pope with the Dutch-based vocal ensemble Cappella Pratensis (Challenge Classics), returned him for the first time in many years to the music of the Renaissance. Projects on the horizon include performances of Monteverdi’s Vespers in the USA and Belgium, and music of the older Bach family with the Bach Ensemble and Vox Luminis at the festival Bach: Sommer in Arnstadt, Germany, which he curates as Artistic Director.