Baroque Violinist Tekla Cunningham Will Give Free ABS Master Class On Monday February 6th

The first in the 2017 series of American Bach Soloists Free Master Classes will take place next Monday on February 6th at 7:30 p.m. in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street at Van Ness.

We asked Tekla Cunningham about her experiences in master classes with talented young artists. Here’s what she told us: 

Tekla CunninghamWhat is it about the Master Class environment that you find particularly enjoyable and satisfying? 

  • It is incredibly interesting and enjoyable to meet young students who share my passion for Early Music and the baroque violin. While a long term mentor/student relationship is a very important, it can be a special moment to work with a student for a brief time on just a few specific items. Sometimes it is possible in this kind of “snapshot” situation to see very different things than one would see when working with a student over the course of months or years. I have many happy—and nerve wracking—memories of participating in master classes, and so I have a lot of empathy for students who are asked to absorb some new musical or technical idea in a very short time. It is a rewarding challenge for students and teachers alike! 

The Mentor/Student relationship can be extremely rewarding and productive. What do you try to bring to the experience of the student in a Master Class?

  • One of the most rewarding aspects of the mentor/student relationship is the privilege of watching students develop their own artistic voice over time. In a master class setting, both student and teacher have just a short amount of time to get to know each other. I hope to leave each student with just a few key points to chew on over time. 

What about the “third” person in the equation: the audience? How do you include them in your Master Class teaching?

  • A master class is very different from a one-on-one private lesson. In a master claBaroque Violinist Tekla Cunningham Will Give Free ABS Master Class On Monday February 6th

    ss with a more general audience, it is most engaging to focus on musical ideas. Helping the student to understand how to deliver their musical ideas through their performance successfully to an audience is best practiced in front of an audience! Performing in front of an audience gives a certain focus and energy to a musical performance, and can also expose any musical ideas or technical challenges that aren’t quite working yet.  So the audience plays in important role in this way, in forcing a kind of clarity on performance.

Free Admission

MONDAY FEBRUARY 6th 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music
50 Oak Street at Van Ness

Works by Bach performed by
Sarah Bleile violin
Elizabeth Boardman viola
Emily Nardo violin
Eugenio Solinas cello


Tekla Cunningham, baroque violin, viola, and viola d’amore, enjoys a varied and active musical life. At home in Seattle, she is concertmaster of Stephen Stubbs’ Pacific MusicWorks, principal second violin with Seattle Baroque Orchestra & Soloists, and plays regularly as concertmaster and principal player with the American Bach Soloists in California. She directs the Whidbey Island Music Festival, a summer concert series presenting vibrant period-instrument performances of repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to Beethoven.

She has appeared as concertmaster/leader or soloist with the American Bach Soloists, Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, and Musica Angelica (Los Angeles). She has also played with Apollo’s Fire, Los Angeles Opera, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and at the Carmel Bach Festival, San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, Indianapolis Early Music Festival, Savannah Music Festival, and the Bloomington Early Music Festival. She has worked with many leading directors including Rinaldo Alessandrini, Giovanni Antonini, Harry Bicket, Paul Goodwin, Martin Haselböck, Monica Huggett, Nic McGegan, Rachel Podger, Jordi Savall, Stephen Stubbs, Jeffrey Thomas, Elizabeth Wallfisch, and Bruno Weil.

An avid chamber musician, Tekla enjoys exploring the string quartet repertoire of the 18th and early 19th century with the period-instrument Novello Quartet, whose abiding interest is the music of Haydn. She is also a member of La Monica, an ensemble dedicated to music of the 17th century, whose concerts have been reviewed as “sizzling”, and praised for their “irrepressible energy and pitch-perfect timing”. With Jillon Dupree, harpsichord, and Vicki Boeckman, recorders, she plays in Ensemble Electra, known for its inventive programs and energetic performances.

She can be heard on recordings with the American Bach Soloists, Apollo’s Fire, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Tafelmusik, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, San Francisco Bach Choir, various movie soundtracks including Disney’s Casanova, La Monica’s recent release The Amorous Lyre, a recording of repertoire of Merula and his contemporaries and the Novello Quartet’s recording of Haydn’s Op. 50 string quartets. This summer she recorded Mozart’s Flute Quartets with Janet See, Laurie Wells, and Tanya Tomkins.

Tekla received her musical training at Johns Hopkins University and Peabody Conservatory (where she studied History and German Literature in addition to violin), Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna, and at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she completed a Master’s degree with Ian Swenson. She teaches Suzuki violin in both German and English and is on the Early Music faculty of Cornish College for the Arts.