by Jarrett Hoffman
You might expect that someone who’s a leader in their field was hooked from their initial encounter with it. Colin Lawson, described as “the doyen of period clarinettists” by BBC Magazine, had a different first impression of early music performance.
“I was rather put off because some of the musical results were not that fantastic,” Lawson said by telephone from the Royal College of Music in London, where he directs the school, chairs its historical performance program, and teaches classical clarinet. “I was very interested in the academic side of early music, but it took me a bit of time to get ‘round to playing it.”
Audiences are certainly happy that he did get around to it. His credentials as a player include performances with Britain’s leading period orchestras, solo appearances in Wigmore and Carnegie Halls, and recordings of an array of concertos and chamber music.
Lawson’s latest project falls in the category of things that are always exciting and often challenging: meeting new musicians — some from another continent, no less — and playing chamber music with them. Next weekend, under the umbrella of Les Délices, he will join oboist Debra Nagy, bassoonist Wouter Verschuren, hornist Todd Williams, and fortepianist Sylvia Berry in three concerts of music by Mozart and Beethoven.