Rotem Gilbert and Adam Gilbert are the 2014 recipients of the Thomas Binkley Award for outstanding achievement in performance and scholarship by the director of a university or college early music ensemble. This award is named for the legendary lutenist and educator Thomas Binkley, who taught at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, made ground-breaking recordings with the Studio der Frühen Musik, and served as founding director of the Early Music Institute at Indiana University. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in both performance and scholarship by the director of a university or college collegium musicum.
Rotem and Adam both began playing recorder at the age of eight years old. They have been playing together since 1989 since they first met in New York City. They attended the Mannes College of Music, where they studied with the legendary Paul Echols. At Mannes, Adam studied with Dennis Godburn and Stephen Hammer, and received his Bachelor of Music in 1984, and began playing as a member of Ensemble for Early Music, and the Waverley Consort. Rotem studied recorder with Nina Stern, and went on to Italy to study with Pedro Memmelsdorf at the Scuola Civica di Musica in Milan, where she received her solo diploma on recorder in 1995.
They received their Masters and Doctorate degrees from Case Western Reserve University in 2003 and 2005, where they studied with Binkley Award recipient Ross Duffin. They have toured together as members of Piffaro, the Renaissance Band.
In 2003, they founded Ciaramella, an ensemble specializing in music from the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries. Ciaramella has performed throughout the United States, in Belgium, Germany, and Israel, and released a CD on the Naxos Label, and two recordings with Yarlung Records. Their recent CD Dances on Movable Ground has earned five stars by Early Music Today and is picked the Editor's Choice, lauded for its "expressive fluidity and rhythmic vitality". The Gilberts have also performed on recorder with the Los Angeles Opera and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. They can be heard on Deutsche Grammophon's Archiv, Passacaille, Musica Americana, Dorian, Naxos and Yarlung labels.
Adam has lectured and published on a variety of topics relating to his research in performance specialties, the music of Henricus Isaac, bagpipes, historical performance practice, fifteenth-century composition and improvisation, and musical rhetoric and symbolism. He is currently working on a guide to fifteenth-century counterpoint and improvisation, and was recipient of the American Musicological Society's 2008 Noah Greenberg Award.
Adam taught musicology for two years at Stanford University. Both Gilberts teach at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music, where Adam is Associate Professor of Musicology and Director of the Early Music Program. Rotem is Assistant Professor, teaching musicology, performance practice, and historical woodwinds. In 2012, she received the Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching. The Thornton Baroque Sinfonia and Collegium, which include majors in early music and modern performers minoring in early music, present six regular concerts per year, have won awards from Early Music America, and recorded seventeenth-century broadside ballads for Yale University Press.
The Gilberts are active faculty members for many early music workshops around the country, including Amherst Early Music. Rotem is especially active as a teacher and is co-director (with Hanneke van Proodij) of the SFEMS Recorder Workshop, and Adam is the new Director of the SFEMS Medieval and Renaissance Workshop. Adam and Rotem are also the proud parents of Ilai, Ohad, and Sivan.
Say the Gilberts, "The Binkley Award is because of our students, and all their dedication, talent, and hours of hard work. In addition to their classes, they have poured their hearts into hours of rehearsal hours each week, giving four to six concerts per year, and preparing and for the Boston and Berkeley Festivals. We have been real beneficiaries of Early Music America. The Ensemble Competition gave us our first recording with our ensemble Ciaramella, the Young Performers Festivals in Boston and Berkeley have given our students valuable experience and a sense that what they are doing is important. Along with the Binkley Award, all of these also send a strong message to the University of Southern California that their investment in early music is paying off every day and every year."