Robert Wiemken

Bob Wiemken

Bob Wiemken began his musical life as a French hornist many years ago and continued pursuing modern brass for some 18 years. Eventually, however, he became inexplicably enamored of the double-reed instruments and leapt at the chance to begin playing early reeds in the Collegium while a graduate student in Classics at the University of Pennsylvania. That began a long love affair with medieval through early Baroque double-reed instruments that has only crescendoed over the past 27 years of playing, exploring, studying, maintaining, servicing and, above all, making reeds for shawms, dulcians, bassoon, krumhorns and more, for himself and many others. As Artistic Co-Director of Piffaro, The Renaissance Band, he has performed worldwide, recorded extensively, built over 100 programs of Renaissance and early Baroque music and commissioned new works for early winds and chorus. He has been very fortunate to perform with many of the world’s leading early music ensembles, in festivals in North and South America and throughout Europe, and in spaces contemporary with the music that helped him define the role, sound and capabilities of double reeds in historic performance settings. He is an eager and well-appreciated teacher and lecturer in college and university settings, having directed the Early Music Ensembles at the Esther Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University for 20 years, bringing the world of Medieval and Renaissance music, instruments and practice to emerging modern players. He also teaches regularly at festivals and workshops throughout the country, and is the artistic advisor for the Madison Early Music Festival and artistic director and teacher for the Indiana Early Double Reed Workshop. Currently, in addition to his performing, researching, recording and educating responsibilities, he continues to attempt to plumb the depths of early reed technique in an effort to understand the mysteries of these glorious instruments.