CMC Sessions: Baroque Improvisation Workshop with Shirley Wong-Frentzel

Improvisation and Interpretation of Non-Rhythmic Musical Scores of the 18th Century French and Italian Unmeasured Preludes

Special Guest Artists:
Margarita Pinkosz, harpsichord
Nicola Skidmore, flute
Tregar Otton, violin

May 18 at 2:30pm
CMC Concert Hall

Improvisation may have the reputation for being associated with modern music like jazz and rock, but in fact has a long musical history. CMC piano faculty Shirley Wong-Frentzel will illuminate the “unmeasured” compositional styles used in the Baroque period that called for performers to improvise. Learn to read and interpret these 18th C non-standard notations without rhythm or meter indications through examining the works of composers Louis Couperin, Elizabeth de la Guerre, and Louis D’anglebert. Performance demonstrations and discussion will also explore historical considerations to help inform authentic performance practices.

This workshop is for intermediate–advanced piano players. Scores will be provided. There will be time for questions and players will also be invited to try some of these keyboard techniques.

About the Artists

Shirley Wong-Frentzel is CMC harpsichord curator; instructor in Middle Eastern scales, percussion, Chinese Guangdong folk music on all instruments, beginning and intermediate recorder baroque and renaissance repertoire, and accompanies on keyboard for all instruments; Celtic/Scottish folk music on hammered dulcimer. Undergraduate studies at Mills College, studied with Darius Milhaud, Leon Kirchner and Morton Subotnick; MM with highest honors, Harpsichord, New England Conservatory. Member, Pi Kappa Lambda honor society. Formed Darius Milhaud Ensemble locally with Philharmonia Baroque soloists. Former faculty, Mills College, UCSD, and SFSU. Co-manager of Flowing Stream Ensemble and member of Phoenix Spring Ensemble.

Margarita Pinkosz SQ

Margarita Pinkosz, born in Kiev, Ukraine, where she started to play the piano at 4 at the N. Lysenko National Music School. Her dedication and passion for the craft led her to the K. Szymanowski School of Music in Warsaw, Poland, where she continued to sculpt her musical prowess until her graduation in 2004.

At 6 years old, Pinkosz performed for the first time in the National Filharmonia in
Warsaw, marking the beginning of a journey that would be adorned with accolades and
awards. Notably, she received 1st prize in two categories at the International Piano
Competition in Brest, France, demonstrating her exceptional talent. Her performances in
Poland, coupled with invitations to national and international masterclasses and
festivals such as Fermata, Duszniki Zdrój, Łańcut, Krynica Zdrój, and Castelnuovo di
Garfagnana, solidified her reputation as a prodigious musician.

Collaborating with eminent musicians like Andrzej Jasinski, Elisso Virsaladze, Ewa
Pobłocka, Jerome Rose, Oxana Yablonskaya, Vera Nossina, and Wiktor Mierzhanov,
Pinkosz’s artistry flourished. Her accomplishments earned her an invitation to Fundusz
na Rzecz Dzieci Polish national foundation at age of 11, which is upon invitation only.
Transitioning to high school, Pinkosz’s continued performing in European festivals with
her performances. Subsequently, she gained acceptance into the Royal Conservatory of
Brussels, Belgium, studying under the guidance of Evgeni Moguilevsky and later Daniel
Blumenthal. More awards followed, including the 2nd Prize in the International Piano
Competition “Madeleine de Valmalete” in Paris, France.

As a respected classical musician, Pinkosz accumulated a plethora of awards, such as
the 1st Prizes: in the Grand Metropolitan International Music Competition, North
International Music competition, Concours de Musique Quebec, North American
Virtuoso Music competition, International Internet Music Competition, and the IMKA
Music Competition. She was also a finalist in the International Piano Competition in
Kosice, Slovakia, and received invitations to prestigious events like “L’art Hulencourt” in
Belgium and the Cannes festival for recording music for Silentium Dei.

Recently, Pinkosz embarked on a new musical exploration, participating in the
RENEWAL art residency at Project Artaud, organized by Transform Arts. Here, she
discovered her calling in free improvisation on the piano, utilizing a digital keyboard she
brought to the residency. Her performances included improvising on piano together with
singing frosted and Tibetan bowls, chimes, and various Eastern instruments. Pinkosz
led workshops where she composed spontaneous one-hour pieces, showcasing her
versatility as an artist. Additionally, she has been composing three pieces for the
residency’s opening and engaged in improvisational collaborations with a fellow artist, a
poet in residence.

Currently based in San Francisco, California, Pinkosz continues to evolve as an artist.
She graduated in 2019 with a third Masters in Arts studying harpsichord in the studio of
Grammy-nominated Corey Jamason. With a passion for 21st-century neoclassical and
electro music, she aspires to become a composer for youth on the piano, perform new
and early music on the harpsichord, and educate the next generation of musicians. Her
commitment extends beyond music, as she actively seeks to connect with like-minded
artists interested in combining music performance with improvisation. Armed with
ambitious dreams and boundless energy, Margarita Pinkosz is undeniably on the path to
becoming one of the most multidimensional performing artists of her generation.

Treger Otton, violin, began his classical training at age four. At sixteen, he was the youngest Berkeley Symphony member and played under Maestro Kent Nagano. Tregar has been continually performing professionally since he was 16. He is musical director of Orquesta la Moderna Tradicion, a Cuban Orquesta dedicated to performing traditional and modern Cuban music including Danzon, Cha Cha Cha and other genres. He is also musical director of The Shams Eire, an Irish trad/rock group. Tregar also has performed for decades with Potaje (Flamenco/Latin ensemble), and Los Cenzontles (Mexican trad and modern music). He worked in New York with Chocolate Armenteros, Patato Valdes, Juan Carlos Formel, and Orquesta Broadway.

About CMC Sessions 2024:

Expand your musical toolbox and get inspired with CMC guitar, piano, and cultural traditions faculty. CMC Sessions comes to life with a new series of in-person workshops, presentations, and masterclasses in a wide range of musical styles and traditions. Explore historical and stylistic performance practices, learn new techniques, and spark your creative interests through enlightening demonstrations, thought-provoking discussions, and hands-on experience.

Join us for a session:

  • February 24: Improvisation Made Easy: How to Enhance Music Styling
    • Embodied Piano Playing with Allison Lovejoy
    • Gospel Piano Stylings with Ken Little
  • March 2: Piano Performance Psychology with Grace Huenemann
  • March 2: Follow My Lead: Accompaniment & Melody for Guitarists with Erik Pearson and Scott O’Day
    • Accompaniment for Guitar
    • Melody for Guitar
  • May 11: Nuts & Bolts of Jazz Piano Improvisation with Erick Peralta
  • May 11: Rhythmic and Harmonic Structure of Traditional Cuban Music with Tony Martinez and Erick Peralta
  • May 18: Baroque Improvisation Workshop with Shirley Wong-Frentzel
  • May 18: Histoire du Tango with Will Ludan and Monika Gruber

Date / Time

May 18, 2024
2:30 pm
Cost: Free

Type of Event



CMC Concert Hall
544 Capp Street, San Francisco, CA 94110