"truly a benchmark of what the recorder can be"

"one of the very finest recorder performers in the world, and one of the most deeply musical artists I've ever known" - Valerie Horst (director emeritae Amherst Early Music / president Early Music America)


Sunday, June 24, 2001

To Whom It May Concern:

It is my great pleasure to recommend Geert Van Gele to you as one of the very finest recorder performers in the world, and one of the most deeply musical artists I've ever known. As director emerita of the Amherst Early Music Festival*, I have had the privilege for the last 26 years of bringing many of the top European early music artists to America to perform and teach at our festivals, and there is no doubt that he belongs with the very best.

In 1993 I invited the Flanders'Recorder Quartet together with Marion Verbruggen to perform at the Amherst Early Music festival. It was clear to me after that concert that he was a great musician. He easily captivated the public, and he drew the ungrudging admiration of his peers. In master classes, also, while speaking in his usual gentle and unassuming manner, he filled his students with new confidence and inspiration.

Since then I have many times heard him in solo and duo recital and seen him keep whole crowds on the edge of their seats (and seen them leap out of those seats afterward to cheer him!). The music-making is so genuine, so authentic that it scarcely matters what repertoire he offers. When Geert plays, diehard early-music people will sit like little lambs and listen with pleasure to cutting-edge music of the avant-garde. He does not accomplish this through his technique (which is breathtaking, of course). His manner does not say, "Look how wonderful I am!" but rather "I love this piece; may I share it with you so you can see if you love it, too?" Audiences trust Geert, and he repays that trust with interest; he mesmerizes them and he moves them deeply.

Needless to say, since his first appearance here in the U. S., we have invited him back to the festival every year, and often to our autumn festival/workshop as well. We keep our promise to our audience -- to fly in the greatest early-music musicians from around the globe!

In my present capacity as president of Early Music America (the U.S./Canadian service organization for professional performers, organizers, and lovers of early music -- www.earlymusicamerica.org) I can affirm that Geert Van Gele is highly acclaimed here in the US among musicians, scholars and concert audiences. The growing number of concerts for him on this continent is one testament to this fact. Many of his peers in the professional recorder world have worked with him at the Amherst Early Music Festival; they not only consider him a true master, they find great pleasure in working with him, because of his sweet nature and his deep appreciation of the talents of others.

This is a wonderful artist, and it is time for the world to hear him. I sincerely support any and all efforts that will lead to this goal.


Valerie Horst

*The Amherst Early Music Festival is the largest early-music festival/workshop in the world. Please visit our website at www.amherstearlymusic.org