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The University of Southampton
MusicPart of Humanities

Keyboard Collection

The Keyboard Collection at the University of Southampton

We are delighted to announce our acquisition of the Frecker grand pianoforte of 1812.

Frecker grand pianoforte (1812)
Frecker grand pianoforte (1812)

This well-documented instrument has been passed on to us thanks to the generosity of the Geffrye Museum. The subject of a lengthy article by Marie Kent in Vol. LXV (2012) of the Galpin Society Journal, the instrument demonstrates the divided sustaining pedal that forms one strand of the Devices & Desires project pursued by our Head of Keyboard, Professor David Owen Norris (see below).

Historical Keyboard Instruments at Southampton

In our dedicated Keyboard Room in the Nuffield Theatre we keep a 1796 Broadwood grand pianoforte, an 1806 Webler square, and the well-documented 1812 grand by William Frecker. In the nearby lecture theatre is a Bechstein grand of 1900.

Feldberg harpsichord and Broadwoods of 1796 & 1828
Feldberg harpsichord and Broadwoods of 1796 & 1828
The Stodart at Chawton House
The Stodart at Chawton House

At Chawton House (the International Library of Women’s Writing, and once the home of Jane Austen’s brother) we keep a Stodart Patent Compensating Grand of about 1835 on which our students and staff give frequent concerts.

The Ganer Square in our wood-panelled Keyboard Room (designed by Sir Basil Spence)
The Ganer Square in our Keyboard Room (designed by Sir Basil Spence)

The personal collection of our Head of Keyboard, Professor David Owen Norris, includes an 1828 Broadwood grand, a 1781 Ganer Square and an 1881 Pleyel grand. This Broadwood, and our 1900 Bechstein, like the newly acquired Frecker, possess the divided sustaining pedal.

A recent innovation, a spin-off from Professor Jeanice Brooks’s AHRC project ‘Music, Home & Heritage’, is a collaboration with the National Trust at The Vyne, near Basingstoke. The Vyne possesses an 1846 Broadwood grand. Six of our students performed in a Mendelssohn project at The Vyne in the spring.

The department also maintains active links with private pianoforte collections, with recordings and performances on David Wilson-Johnson’s 1865 Blumel grand and 1828 Broadwood square (in Wilson-Johnson’s concert hall in the Dordogne), and research access to the Viennese grands by Dohnal (1795) and Bowitz (1835) belonging to Peter Barnes (in Congleton).

Our links with Romsey Abbey gives us access to the magnificent four-manual Walker pipe-organ of 1860. Our organ lessons are given in the cathedrals of Salisbury (Henry Willis 1876) and Winchester (Henry Willis 1851/Hele 1904), and our students can arrange practice time there.

Modern Keyboard Instruments at Southampton

The Steinway D in Turner Sims (image: Paul McCabe)
The Steinway D in Turner Sims (image: Paul McCabe)

In the University Concert Hall, Turner Sims, we have two grand pianos – a Steinway Model D and a Fazioli F212 – and a modern single-manual harpsichord by Andrea Goble. We keep a new Bechstein B208 grand (6’8”) and a single-manual harpsichord by Zuckerman in St Michael’s Church in the City Centre, where our students run a lunchtime concert series. We have two similar new Bechsteins and a Mason & Hamlin Model BB Grand (7-feet) in our larger teaching rooms, along with a modern two-manual harpsichord by Misina, and a remarkable two-manual Feldberg harpsichord with eight registration pedals, which services our Revival Harpsichord project at Mottisfont

Our practice rooms are equipped with new Bechstein upright pianos, another Goble harpsichord, and a two-manual and pedal Johannus electronic organ.

Peter Collins’ organ in Turner Sims (before transfer)
Peter Collins’ organ in Turner Sims (before transfer)

Our 1976 three-manual tracker-action pipe organ by Peter Collins is currently being rebuilt off-site with a view to starting an exciting new life in a church building. The move has freed valuable floor space in the Turner Sims, which can now accommodate a full symphony orchestra.  St. Michael’s Church, the base for the University Choral Scholars, Cantores Michaelis, and the organ scholar, has a new four-manual Hauptwerk copy of the 1893 Willis in Hereford Cathedral.

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