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Worcester College Harpsichord Festival

The day after our Schools workshops in Brighton (yes, no rest for the wicked or freelance musicians!) we drove to Oxford, where we co-hosted the inaugural Worcester College Harpsichord festival in Worcester College chapel.

Our new harpsichord suited the decor of the Chapel perfectly, and the acoustic there was absolutely beautiful. We gave a well-attended concert, with two guest performers, Florence Petit (baroque cello) and Magdalena Loth-Hill (baroque violin) - trios by Telemann, Bach, and a Scottish Baroque composer, William McGibbon! Then to round it all off - some Scottish variations on a rather raunchy (!) traditional tune, by Robert Bremner.

After the concert, the amazing harpsichordist Steven Devine gave a masterclass to 6 of the current students at the Worcester College, some of whom were organ scholars; others were pianists! Most had not had much experience of playing the harpsichord, and Steven really drew the best out of each performer, with excellent advice for both interpretation and technique on an instrument such as this!

Pre-evensong, Thomas Allery performed a solo harpsichord recital, which featured music from the period in which the original of this harpsichord was built - 1667. Froberger, D'Anglebert, Bach, and a new commission - an Unmeasured Prelude - by renowned British composer Robert Saxton. Evensong with Worcester College mixed choir swiftly followed, directed by Thomas Allery from the harpsichord in a performance of Purcell.

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