Gwyn Roberts is one of America’s foremost performers on recorder and baroque flute, praised by Gramophone for her “sparkling technique, compelling musicianship, and all-around excellence.” She is also co-founder and -director of Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra Tempesta di Mare, recently hailed by the Miami Herald as “the model of a top-notch period orchestra.” Now in the 15th season of its Philadelphia Concert Series, Tempesta di Mare tours from Oregon to Prague, recently released its 10th CD on the British label Chandos, and reaches audiences in 56 countries around the world with broadcasts of its live performances.
Roberts’ soloist engagements include the Portland Baroque Orchestra, Recitar Cantando of Tokyo, the Washington Bach Consort and the Kennedy Center. In addition to Chandos, she has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Dorian, Sony Classics, Vox, PolyGram, PGM, and Radio France. Her latest solo recordings include the Fasch Recorder Concerto in F, Bach’s Concerto in G after BWV 530, and Sonatas by Francesco Mancini. She enjoys collaborating with living composers, recently recording James Primosch’s Sacred Songs and Meditations with the 21st Century Consort for Albany Records.
She is an enthusiastic educator, with recent masterclass engagements at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Hartt School of Music and the Oregon Bach Festival. She is Professor of Recorder and Baroque Flute at the Peabody Conservatory, Director of Early Music at the University of Pennsylvania, and directs the Virtuoso Recorder Program at the Amherst Early Music Festival.
Gwyn Roberts has played recorder since childhood. As a teenager, she wore out her record player listening to Frans Brüggen’s groundbreaking performances of Bach, Vivaldi and Hotteterre, and fell in love with the rhetoric, drama and nuance of Baroque music.
After graduating from Bryn Mawr College, she went to Utrecht Conservatory in the Netherlands, where she studied recorder with Brüggen’s protégé Marion Verbruggen as well as with Leo Meilink, and also studied baroque flute with Marten Root. In the years before and after Holland, she logged nine seasons as a member of Piffaro, the Renaissance Band, traveling around the US and Europe playing historical woodwinds before settling down in Philadelphia to record her first solo CD of Francesco Maria Veracini’s recorder sonatas.
When that recording was about to go to press, the label sent a last-minute email asking Roberts to name the group, because “this thing has legs.” On a whim, she and lutenist Richard Stone named it “Tempesta di Mare,” after Vivaldi’s concerto depicting a storm at sea. Sure enough, the CD earned a five-star rating from BBC Music Magazine, launching the ensemble that would soon grow into Philadelphia’s baroque orchestra.
With Tempesta di Mare, Roberts and Stone have performed the modern premieres of dozens of lost or forgotten baroque masterpieces, prompting the Philadelphia Inquirer to describe it as “an old-music group that acts like a new-music group, by pushing the cutting edge back rather than forward.” Their next two CDs will feature music by Janitsch and Telemann.
Roberts earned her B.A. in Music at Bryn Mawr College and her Graduate Performance Certificate at Utrecht Conservatory in the Netherlands, where she studied recorder with Marion Verbruggen and Leo Meilink and baroque flute with Marten Root.