Aisslinn Nosky, MCO

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Aisslinn Nosky: “Toronto’s Eric Clapton of the violin” (Toronto Star)

Please note there are no door sales for the immediate future — all tickets must be purchased online or over the phone (204-783-7377). Please review our ticket and social gathering policies before ordering your tickets for, and attending, our 2021-22 concerts.


• Buy May 25th in-person ticket (incl. online) | $36 Adult | $34 Senior | $15 Under-30
• Buy May 26th in-person ticket (incl. online) | $36 Adult | $34 Senior | $15 Under-30
• Buy June 10th online-only ticket | $20 Household ticket


When the MCO chooses a Guest Artist-in-Residence, it’s not only because a soloist has shown rare distinction with their chosen instrument. As with Leonard Bernstein or Glenn Gould, the musician’s talents must be multi-faceted, reflecting a deep understanding of music and a charismatic ability to communicate that understanding. In short, they must be an ambassador as well as a virtuoso.

Violinist Aisslinn Nosky is such an ambassador and in her time as our Guest Artist-in-Residence has connected effortlessly with Winnipeggers. A former member of Tafelmusik, Canada’s premier period orchestra, Aisslinn speaks eloquently on the history of Baroque in the many interviews and pre-concert talks she’s done here. But even her performances feel illuminating, like a revelation. Aisslinn tends to play-conduct, meaning she’s juggling both soloing and conducting. The task, demanding she lead the piece both from inside and outside the orchestra, could only be handled by someone who also knows the piece inside out. It’s an exercise of supreme control, but one she performs so expressively we feel we are seeing the music, in all its rich polyphony, as she does. Her performances are like masterclasses for the baroque lover no matter their level of music education.

Speaking of baroque lovers, it’s unlikely they, or we, will tire anytime soon of debating the greatest of the Bach Boys, after papa Johann Sebastian. In terms of sheer influence, J.S.’s son Carl Philipp Emanuel no doubt comes out on top, with Mozart once writing that “[C.P.E.] Bach is the father, and we are the children.” But this is no reason to underestimate the genius of the other Bach Boys, who wrote reams of exquisite music, much of it very different than C.P.E. but nearly as influential. (Bach’s daughters were also gifted musically, but social norms then would have prevented their becoming professional composers.) The galante-inspired Johann Christian Bach, for instance, was also an important guide for early W.A. Mozart, having taken the young genius as a student after Mozart withstood a barrage of J.C.’s gruelling musical tests. Our late May concerts give us a sense of this complicated lineage with works by J.C., J.S., and W.A.


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Manitoba Chamber Orchestra
Anne Manson, Music Director
Karl Stobbe, Concertmaster
Westminster Church in Wolseley
Wednesday & Thursday, 25 & 26 May 2022
Online presentation 10 June 2022

Aisslin Nosky, violin and leader

Johann Sebastian Bach
Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, BWV 1041

Johann Christian Bach
Symphony No. 8 in G Minor, Op. 6

Georg Frideric Handel
Concerto grosso, Op. 6, No. 4 in A Minor, HWV 322

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major, K. 218

Season sponsor / CN
May 25th Concertmaster sponsor / Paul & Beryl Walsh
Volunteer sponsor / MB Liquor Mart
Media sponsors / Classic 107, Golden West Radio & Winnipeg Free Press

Aisslinn Nosky

A unique and dynamic violinist, Aisslinn Nosky captivates audiences around the world with her innovative interpretations and impeccable technique. Her fierce passion for early music and skill as a soloist, director, and conductor generates robust appreciation by press and audiences alike. Hailed as “superb” by the New York Times and “a fearsomely powerful musician” by the Toronto Star, widespread demand for Aisslinn continues to grow.

In addition to her role as Concertmaster of the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston, Aisslinn has also collaborated with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Holland Baroque, and the Charlotte Symphony. She was a dedicated member of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra from 2005 to 2016 and served as Principal Guest Conductor of the Niagara Symphony from 2016 to 2019.

Aisslinn is also a member of the Eybler Quartet, who explore repertoire from the early quartet literature on period instruments. With the Eybler Quartet, Aisslinn serves on the faculty of EQ: Evolution of the String Quartet at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, BWV 1041
Johann Sebastian Bach

Bach changed jobs in December 1717, leaving the service of Duke Wilhelm of Weimar and entering the employ of another German monarch, Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen. The Weimar period had come to a truly unpleasant conclusion. Bach languished in prison for a month, having had the temerity to ask for release from the Duke’s service. All that friction evaporated upon his arrival in Anhalt-Cöthen. In the young Prince, he found an ardent lover of music who performed on several instruments and treated his new Kapellmeister with considerable respect.

Bach’s duties changed significantly, as well. He was no longer called upon to create a continuous flow of vocal music for church services. The Prince required him to produce primarily instrumental music instead. During the six years Bach spent in Anhalt-Cöthen, he composed at least some of the Brandenburg Concertos, several orchestral suites, Book One of The Well-Tempered Clavier, and the celebrated works for solo violin (three each of sonatas and partitas) and solo cello (six suites).

Two concertos for violin (in A Minor and E Major), and the Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor, also date from this period. Bach held his contemporary, Antonio Vivaldi, in high regard. He took Vivaldi’s concertos as general models for his own, and transcribed several Vivaldi works from one medium to another. This was considered a high compliment.

Still, his Violin Concerto in A Minor is a more serious, less virtuosic work than his colleague’s. It begins and ends with brief, lively movements in minor keys. The only respite from the overall sense of melancholy comes in the second movement, a lyrical Andante in a contrasting major key.

The idyllic portion of Bach’s Anhalt-Cöthen experience lasted four years. In 1721, the Prince married his cousin, Friderica. She had no interest in music, and her husband came to lose his, as well. Two years later, Bach moved on to Leipzig, there to crown his career with the most glorious period of all.

Symphony in G Minor, Op. 6 No. 6
Johann Christian Bach

The youngest son of J.S. Bach, Johann Christian studied with his father, his half-brother Carl, and with Italian master Padre Martini in Bologna. He arrived in London in 1762, intending to stay only a short time. It remained his base of operations for the remainder of his life. In 1764, he and fellow composer Carl Friedrich Abel established a long-running series of concerts. He composed most of his purely instrumental music for them.

The six symphonies that make up his Op. 6 were published in 1770. The last of them, this piece in G Minor, stands apart from its five light, gracious siblings. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians calls it “the most serious of all Bach’s symphonies, with its fiery, energetic outer movements and its sombre Andante. It is one of the most significant of the remarkable series of G Minor symphonies written about this time by Haydn, Mozart, Rosetti and Vanhal.”

Concerto grosso in A Minor, Op. 6 No. 4/HWV 322
George Frideric Handel

The concerto grosso (grand concerto) became one of the most popular musical forms of the Baroque era. In contrast to the solo concerto, it is founded on the interplay between two groups of performers: the smaller concertino (most often, as here, two violins and a cello), and the ripieno, a larger group consisting of strings and continuo. The brilliant Italian composer/violinist Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) played a major role in its development.

Handel’s first set of Concerti grossi, the six pieces making up his Opus 3, was published in 1734. He scored them for an orchestra of strings and winds. The twelve-concerto Opus 6 collection, in contrast, was written for strings alone. He created it quite quickly, between 29 September and 30 October 1739, aided by heavy borrowings from previous compositions and fueled by a dire shortage of cash.

Baroque scholar Nicholas Anderson has written of them, “His Opus 6 concertos were old-fashioned for the late 1730s. In England, however, this was the taste of the time, and although Handel’s technique is often similar to Corelli’s, in few senses can they be regarded as backward-looking. Indeed, Handel’s terms of reference are impressively wide, embracing features of both the suite and of the concerto; but it is, above all, the level of inspiration, the Handelian stamp which is imprinted on every one of these concertos, that assures them of a place alongside Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, establishing the high water mark of the baroque concerto. Hand-in-hand with the wide range of Handel’s musical idioms is a rich variety of expressive language developed through his experience in the theatre, and often reflecting his own temperament—sometimes imperious, sometimes witty, often humorous and always diverting.”

Concerto No. 4 is one of the briefest in the set. In terms of content it is one of the least elaborate: just two pairs of movements alternating slow and fast tempos. The opening Larghetto affettuoso has all the pathos of a lament from a Handel opera; a brisk, fugal Allegro follows. The gracefully flowing second slow movement is much warmer in tone than the first. Handel concludes the concerto with a rather restrained Allegro containing numerous shifts in dynamics.

Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major, K. 218
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Mozart, the greatest of all child prodigies in music, received from his father Leopold a thorough education in composition and performance. The latter included piano, harpsichord and violin. In his maturity he focused his performing skills on the piano, but the young artists appeared most often as a soloist on the violin, beginning with the concert tours his family made during the 1760s.

In 1769, he was awarded the post of Honorary Concertmaster in the Salzburg Court Orchestra. His duties included leading it from the first desk of violins (this being before the rise of the conductor, as we know the role), playing solos, and writing new music for it to perform.

Between April and December 1775, he composed the last four of his five violin concertos. No. 4 appeared in October. He modeled it on a work in the same key, written 10 years previously by Italian composer Luigi Boccherini. It opens with a bold, almost military declamation, setting the stage for the soloist’s entry. From then on, the music radiates grace, good humour and perfect taste. The slow movement offers warmth and serenity. Mozart scholar Alfred Einstein called it “an uninterrupted song, an avowal of love.” The finale opens gently, then breaks happily into a rustic dance tune. The appealing sequence of varied episodes that follows includes references to several popular airs of the day, a practice that Mozart knew would increase his audiences’ enjoyment.

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