Center for Historical Keyboards
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The Cornell Center for Historical Keyboards offers a new hub for historical keyboard studies at Cornell. With professor emeritus Malcolm Bilson’s fortepianos at its core, the collection encompasses a wide range of 18th- through early 20th-century pianos, as well as Cornell’s outstanding organs, harpsichords, clavichords, and other keyed instruments into the 21st century. The Center’s new room at 726 University Avenue provides a rotating home for parts of this superb collection of concert-ready keyboard instruments; a collaborative space for researchers, performers, and students; and an array of programming and resources of interest to specialists and the public.
Through artist and scholar residencies, festivals, workshops, concerts, and masterclasses—at “726,” across Cornell, and beyond—the Center’s programs explore the history and technology of keyboard instruments from the earliest organs to the MOOG synthesizer, their influence in music and the arts, and the larger impact on global social history. The Center also supports Cornell Music Department's long-standing relationship with the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies, with which collaborations continue.
New Meets Old: Collaborative Confrontations
To celebrate the opening of “726,” the September 6-7 celebrations offer a broad survey of all of the instruments in the collection. Concerts, demonstrations, talks, and lecture-recitals take place at Barnes Hall, Anabel Taylor and Sage Chapels, and at 726 University Ave. All events are free and open to the public.
Friday, September 6 “Keyboards in Conversation”
8:00pm, Sage Chapel
Performances by Annette Richards (Aeolian-Skinner and Vicedomini organs) and Richard Valitutto, Aditya Deshpande, Andy Sheng, and Thomas Reeves (Bechstein and Schweighofer pianos). Includes music by Franck, Messiaen, Alain, Pärt, Sierra, and a premiere by Miles Jefferson Friday.
Saturday, September 7 “Keyboard Colloquies”
9:30am-10:30am: Malcolm Bilson, with Xak Bjerken and Roger Moseley, presents an introduction to the historical keyboard collection at Barnes Hall.
10:45am-12:00pm: Graduate students present “Translations and Transcriptions,” a lecture-demonstration of a variety of keyboard instruments at Barnes Hall.
1:30pm-2:00pm: David Yearsley performs music by J. S. Bach on the Cornell Baroque Organ at Anabel Taylor Chapel.
2:30pm-4:30pm: Open house at 726 University Ave. to view and learn about the instruments of the collection, with Malcolm Bilson, Xak Bjerken, Roger Moseley, David Yearsley, Annette Richards, and Cornell graduate students.
Saturday, September 7 “Keyboard Collaborations”
8:00pm, Barnes Hall
Malcolm Bilson plays Chopin (Pleyel piano); Andrew Zhou plays Christopher Stark (Steinway piano); Miri Yampolsky and Xak Bjerken play Brahms, Dvořák, and Mendelssohn (Blüthner piano); Roger Moseley and Rachel Schutz perform songs by Schubert and Robert and Clara Schumann (Graf piano); Roger Moseley and Malcolm Bilson play Mozart (Walter piano); Richard Valitutto and Xak Bjerken play Kurtág/Bach (Steinway piano).
~ click on photos to see a gallery of the instruments ~
For questions about the Cornell Center for Historical Keyboards, please email the program coordinator, Kiko Nobusawa at TN75@cornell.edu.
We also serve as the administrative office of the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies, and the annual journal Keyboard Perspectives published by the Westfield Center.