John Burkhalter presented and performed a wonderful lecture
and concert where he exhibited and played an extensive collection of flutes,
whistles, rattles, and horns which are accurate models of pre-columbian
artifacts or paintings.
He has constructed a replica of a stringed instrument depicted on a Maya vase, described the instrument, and demonstrated it. When played, it sounds like a jaguar in the wild, as he showed by comparing its sound with a recording.
Mr. Burkhalter's presentation underscored the significance of music in ritual and ceremony amonst the various cultures of
At the conclusion, an impromptu concert was held with audience members playing instruments and positioned to enact a scene on one of the Bonompak murals, probably the first of its kind. Besides Mr. Burkhalter, the players included Elin Danien, Chris Kocher, John Harris, and Gillett Griffin.
John Burkhalter has lectured extensively on the ancient musical
cultures of the Americas, most notably at Princeton, Yale, Dumbarton Oaks,
and the Chrysler Museum (home of the Pearlman collection of Maya Art) in
Mr. Burkhalter also has served as a musical consultant for the National
Geographic Society in Washington, D.C.
An accomplished musician, he studied the performance of early music at
the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston with Daniel Pinkham and
Baroque performance practice with noted Dutch recorder virtuoso, Frans
Bruggen at Harvard University.
He has prepared music for film and video projects produced by NJN,
Encyclopedia Britannica, PBS-WNET-13, The Newark Museum (Maya Monuments:
their Rise and Fall), and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of
Archaeology and Anthropology (River of Gold exhibition), among others.
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