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The University of Southampton
MusicPart of Humanities

Southampton Researchers at the Cheltenham Festival

Published: 8 July 2015

The research team from the ‘Making of the Modern Harpsichord’ project appeared at this year’s Cheltenham Music Festival for an exploration of the 20th-century history of this fascinating instrument.

Postgraduate researchers Kate Hawnt and Christopher Lewis presented an illustrated lecture-recital that highlighted how changing views of history affected the harpsichord’s modern revival. The event allowed festival-goers to compare the sounds and construction of both ‘historical’ and ‘revival’ harpsichords, and to find out more about modern compositions for the instrument as well as the repertoire from its 18th-century heyday.

‘The Making of the Modern Harpsichord’ project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under its Collaborative Doctoral Award scheme, in partnership with the National Trust. The project is based around the Trust property of Mottisfont, an important centre for mid-20th century arts and the childhood home of influential harpsichord collector Raymond Russell.

Kate and Christopher were chosen to curate their event after an AHRC competition asked arts and humanities researchers to submit innovative, interactive public engagement proposals that showcased their research. Their supervisors Professors Jeanice Brooks and Laurie Stras participated in the final event, and the university loaned its fine 1969 Feldberg harpsichord to provide an example of a revival instrument for the demonstration.

Image: Drew Kelly Photography

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