Harpsichordist Joseph Gascho ‘95 to headline Homecoming concert

Joseph Gascho ‘95 has traveled across the world with his harpsichord, from Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center to Paris, Tokyo and Taipei.  He’s recently performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and in a solo recital and masterclass for the Japan Harpsichord Society. 

He’s returned to Harrisonburg three times to perform during the Bach Festival. 

But his guest performance on Friday, Oct. 15, at the Celebration Concert during Homecoming and Family Weekend marks Gascho’s first “official” appearance at his alma mater.

“I’m excited just to be back and see how things have changed and how they remain the same on campus, and I guess the same for me,” said Gascho. “It will be great to see some old friends.”

Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door; EMU students with ID and children 12 and under are free. Register and pay at the Homecoming website. This event will also be livestreamed on the EMU Facebook page; recordings will also be available after the event. You do not need a Facebook account to view the livestream.

Gascho teaches harpsichord, basso continuo, chamber music, improvisation and ornamentation at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance. He also co-directs the Baroque Chamber Orchestra with violinist Aaron Berofsky and was recently appointed director of the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments. Many celebrated artists and ensembles have turned to Gascho to produce their recordings. At the Baroque Performance Institute at Oberlin College, he teaches basso continuo, coaches chamber music and conducts the student orchestra. 

“It would be a wonderful treat for our students to get the opportunity to work with an artist as distinguished as Dr. Gascho,” said Professor David Berry, chair of EMU’s music department. “The fact that he is an alum of the music program, and has been in the same place they are now, makes it even more special. He is a wonderful example of what is possible for an EMU music graduate to accomplish.” 

The concert program includes collaborations with student musicians, faculty and affiliates — a kind of homage to the “fantastic musical experience” Gascho had at EMU and the many early collaborations that he says inspired him to change his major from pre-med to music.

“Musical collaborations with fellow students, especially Madeline Bender, Angela Leidig, and Karen Fix, were probably the highlights of my musical experience, but it was also rewarding to sing with the Chamber Singers and play cello in the orchestra,” he said. “I had great teaching and mentoring, especially from [professors] Ken Nafziger and John Fast.”

The program includes: 

  • Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in D Major, BWV 1054, with Gascho as soloist with the EMU Chamber Orchestra; 
  • Bach’s Cantata No. 56 “Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen” with faculty, affiliates, and students, including Shannon Kiser, baritone; Jeanette Zyko, oboe; Maria Lorcas and Eve Yavny, violins; Benjamin Bergey, viola; and Kim Souther, cello; and 
  • An arrangement by Gascho of the traditional Mennonite doxology, Dedication Anthem (606) “Praise God from Whom,” with student musicians.

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