Piffaro’s Recorder Fest! Returns

  • What: Free Community Event: Recorder Fest 2024!
  • When: Saturday, April 13, 2024, 3:00-8:00 p.m.
  • Where: Settlement Music School, Mary Louise Curtis Branch, 416 Queen St., Philadelphia, PA
  • Registration & Info: 215-235-8469 or piffaro.org/recorder-fest

Philadelphia – Piffaro’s free-to-all Recorder Fest is returning after a pandemic hiatus. The mini-festival is organized by Piffaro’s education committee: board president and Philadelphia Recorder Society member Melissa Thomson, retired artistic director Joan Kimball, current artistic director Priscilla Herreid, and public school music teachers Kimberly Yocum (retired) and Miriam Arbelo. Musicians of every ability and stage of life, from elementary school students to busy professional recorder players will perform for and play with one another. Two special guests, in town to coach the Philadelphia Recorder Society, join the festivities: Persian musician Sarah Shodja, one of the first women in Iran to play the recorder in concert halls, and her frequent collaborator Teresa Deskur, winner of Piffaro’s 2016 National Recorder Competition. Both studied with Tempesta di Mare artistic director Gwyn Roberts at Peabody Conservatory. Young players from afar have submitted performance videos. “The new Recorder Fest,” says Arbelo, the committee chair, “is a love letter to the recorder.” The festival takes place from 3:00-8:00 PM at Settlement Music School’s Mary Louise Curtis Branch in Center City, Philadelphia. More information can be found at piffaro.org/recorder-fest.

Festival Schedule

3PM: Workshop for High School Students (registration closed)

Artistic director Priscilla Herreid, Piffaro co-founder Joan Kimball, and world-renowned harpsichordist Leon Schelhase will offer workshops for select students.

6PM: Community Play In (New!)

All are welcome! Artistic director Priscilla Herreid will lead participants through 2-3 pieces of music. Sheet music will be provided in advance to anyone who registers by April 10; copies will also be available at the venue.

7PM: Live Performances & Video
  • Fountainwood Elementary School Recorder Ensemble, dir. Miriam Arbelo;
  • Video: Josselin Roger of NY, student of Nina Stern (Telemann, Van Eyck)
  • Corvin Fuchs-Orner, student of Joan Kimball, and Clara Kersting, student of Rainer Beckmann, both of Philadelphia, acc. Leon Schelhase, harpsichord  (Telemann)
  • Video – David Brown of MO, student of Laura Townsend (his own composition)
  • Gregory Weaver, acc. Schelhase (Telemann)
  • Knox Seabolt of VA, student of Anne Timberlake, with professional recorder players Sarah Shodja & Teresa Deskur (Quantz)
  • Recorder Demonstration by Piffaro artistic directors past & present
  • Video – Claudia Griffel and Sruthi Kommana of CT, students of Lawrence Zukof (Telemann)
  • Knox Seabolt, acc. Schelhase (Barsanti)
  • Video – Vinayak Vikram of CA (Vivaldi)
  • Musica Sophia Recorder Ensemble (adult amateur);
  • Video – Seattle Historical Arts/Agnes, Cecelia & Theodora Berry of WA
  • Special guests: Sarah Shodja & Teresa Deskur (winner of Piffaro’s 2016 National Recorder Competition)

About our special guests

Persian musician Sarah Shodja specializes in the recorder and was one of the first women in Iran to play the recorder in concert halls. In 2017, Sarah was awarded a full scholarship to study with Gwyn Roberts at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Historical Performance.

In addition to her solo performances, Sarah is a sought-after collaborator, having worked with the Baltimore Baroque Band, Peabody Renaissance Ensemble, Washington Bach Consort, Tempesta Di Mare, and Peabody Recorder consort. She also established a recorder consort, Tehran Recorder Atelier, along with three of her women recorder-playing colleagues. Other past engagements include performances with Shargh Chamber Orchestra and Pars Recorder Orchestra in her home country.

Teresa Deskur started playing recorder at age 5, and never stopped! She took first prize in the 2020 University-Instrumental category of Boulder Bach Festival’s World Bach Competition. In 2016, Teresa won Philadelphia based Renaissance band Piffaro’s National Recorder Competition and appeared as a guest performer with the group in March 2017. She has performed regularly with the Peabody Renaissance Ensemble and Baltimore Baroque Band. She frequently enjoys duet recitals with Peabody colleague and collaborator Sarah Shodja.


As an educator and advocate for making music accessible and equitable, Teresa is passionate about community outreach. Teresa is a co-founder of the Fanfare Youth Recorder Club, which brings together middle and high school recorder players from around the world to connect virtually and learn from one another. She has also served on Early Music America’s Emerging Professional Leadership Committee since 2021 and is currently on the board for the Future in Music Mentorship Program.

Photo: Leon Schelhase and Teresa Deskur at Piffaro’s 2016 Recorder Competition, credit Bill DiCecca

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