Arcadia Players Founder and Artistic Director Emerita, Margaret Irwin- Brandon, a specialist in early keyboard instruments, is a concert recitalist in the Americas and Europe. Her harpsichord performances of J.S. Bach’s Well – Tempered Clavier in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall were received with critical acclaim. She has been a soloist in European and American festivals and has performed in national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society. As founding artistic director of the Arcadia Players Baroque Orchestra, Chorus and Chamber Ensembles, she produced “Arcadia Players – a Baroque Celebration,” presented by WGBY TV in 1992. She also produced and directed Arcadia Players’ first fully staged Baroque opera, Montezuma, premiered Richard Einhorn’s score, Voices of Light, for the classic film, La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc and directed over 250 diverse programs of Baroque music.

As a Fulbright Scholar in Germany, Ms. Irwin-Brandon studied organ with Karl Richter, and continued harpsichord studies with Gustav Leonhardt in Holland. She is an associate fellow at Davenport College, Yale University and has served on the faculties of the Oberlin College Conservatory, the University of Oregon, Portland State University, and Mount Holyoke College. and is a member of the Board of Advisors to the Boston Clavichord Society. She holds the B.A. degree from Pacific Lutheran University, and the M.M. degree from the New England Conservatory, Boston, MA. In May of this year she will lead her eighth cultural/ organ tour in Italy, this tour focusing on organs of Rome and Sicily.

January, 2017

Thank You, THANK you, THANK YOU!

It is with gratitude and appreciation that I congratulate all the performers, teachers, workshop participants and audience members who celebrated, with un-dampened spirits despite a desert deluge, “The Suite Life,” Desert Baroque’s inaugural weekend January 20-22. Yes, we really did tune over 5000 strings on the eight harpsichords which sang so tunefully – under our 160 fingers – the music of William Byrd, Jean Philippe Rameau, Johann Sebastian Bach, Edwin McLean and a host of others.

Special thanks go out to the terrific performer/faculty – Gilbert Martinez, Elaine Funaro, Sonia Lee, Webb Wiggins, Charles Metz, and to class participants – Justin Murphy-Mancini, who stepped up with a tuning wrench in hand, to Dan McHugh, willing assistant in numerous harpsichord moves, box office administration and general production help, and Curtis Berak whose several trips from LA to deliver or retrieve his instruments were all noteworthy. Having fine string players with us, The Buon Tempi Quartet, expanded our musical gesture from keyboards to our close musical relatives.

We also note the courageous performances of four workshop participants in the final concert: Ellen Bergstone Wasil, Dan McHugh, Paul Carmona and Jamie Ro, and of course, Christopher Greenleaf, pro-bono recording engineer, harpsichord muscle, and raconteur of the first – or nth – degree.
Toward the end of the weekend there was a lively conversation around the possibilities for Desert Baroque’s 2018 Festival. And with our initial success, it is definitely something that we can look forward to; the planning has already begun!

With affection and fond regards, Margaret (Meg) Irwin-Brandon, Founder/Director, Desert Baroque