"FRIDAYS with FRIENDS"

Gabriel Benton
Gabriel Benton began his relationship with ABS as a participant in the 2015 Academy, at which he played continuo in the American premiere of Marais’ opera Sémélé. Since then, he has joined ABS on several occasions, including performances of Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion, two “ABS Exclusives” concerts, and two recording projects. Most recently, he appeared as a soloist alongside flutist Sandra Miller and violinist Tekla Cunningham in Bach’s Triple Concerto in A Minor. 

Gabe maintains a multifaceted career as a performer, Early Music specialist, and educator. He lives in Wilmington, Delaware, where he is organist at a historic center-city church and works for the Choir School of Delaware. He holds degrees in harpsichord performance from Oberlin College and The Juilliard School and an organ degree from Yale University. A sought-after continuo player and recitalist, he frequently performs with various east coast ensembles including Corda Nova Baroque, Sonnambula, and American Baroque Orchestra. 

Thanks, Gabe, for spending some time with us! We'll all see you and hear you again soon.
Q: How have you coped with sheltering-in-place?

It was pretty unnerving earlier this spring when future performances were being cancelled one by one until there were none left. This past summer has been relatively uneventful, but I feel very fortunate that I've stayed occupied. I'm the organist at a church here in Wilmington, Delaware which has gone fully virtual since mid-March. Early on, we had a virtual spring concert, with just myself, an oboist, and a singer performing live but socially distanced. I also work for the Choir School of Delaware, which managed to put together an entirely virtual version of its annual fundraising gala, complete with social hour (via Zoom), live raffle, etc. I've continued to teach lessons online, and there have been a few other small side projects, such as providing some music for a friend's podcast. Things are beginning to pick up again for the fall, but it looks like most of what I do will continue to be in front of a computer for the time being.

Q: Are there other ways that you have found to make good use of this time? Cooking? Reading?

My recipe count has at least quintupled since the pandemic started. I've learned more about cooking in the past few months than in the rest of my adult life. I picked up several of them back in January from my wonderful ABS hosts, including my new favorite, braised pork belly! I've found more time to practice secondary instruments and to work on new rep; I’ve gotten more exercise than I used to, and I’ve had more time for reading as well. But, probably the best use of my time during quarantine was when I didn't use it, and instead just allowed it to be a period for rest and recharging. 
Q: What do you miss about playing with ABS? 

Performing with ABS is truly one of my favorite things to do, and I'm honored to be involved with this fantastic group bringing Early Music to life in the Bay Area. Even with the proliferation of virtual performances lately, there's no replacement for the magic that happens when a group of musicians creates something beautiful together in real time for a live audience. I remain hopeful that, in one form or another, we'll be making music together again soon! 

Q: Can you tell us about the piece you chose?

I absolutely love to play the music of Buxtehude. So much of it just effervesces with joy. This little toccata is one of my favorites. After a free and flowing opening, a fugue begins. But, as if the excitement can't be contained any longer, the fugue suddenly bubbles over into a chaconne. With everything that 2020 has brought and continues to bring, I think we could all use a little more joy in our lives. 
Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707)

Toccata in G Major BuxWV 165
Save the Date!
Saturday September 12 at 5 pm

ABS's first Live Stream Event
hosted by

Don Scott Carpenter
Jeffrey Thomas

featuring musical performances by

Hadleigh Adams, baritone
Cynthia Black, viola
Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin
Mischa Bouvier, baritone
Hélène Brunet, soprano
Tatiana Chulochnikova, violin
Tekla Cunningham, violin
Tomà Iliev, violin
Corey Jamason, harpsichord
Steven Lehning, viola da gamba
Ramón Negrón Pérez, viola
William Skeen, violoncello
Mary Wilson, soprano
Jude Ziliak, violin
and guest appearances by

Jesse Blumberg

Elizabeth Blumenstock
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen
Sarah Coit
Stephen Hammer
Gail Hernández Rosa
Katherine Kyme
Sandra Miller
Debra Nagy

Nola Richardson

William Sharp

Aaron Sheehan
Yvonne Smith

Shawnette Sulker
John Thiessen
Clio Tilton
Daniel Turkos

Bethanne Walker
David Wilson
Be well and stay well!
from all of us at ABS
We Thank our Sponsors

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