Geelvinck Festival Session at REMA Early Music Summit

21 november 2020 | 11.00 uur | ,

Keeping the past playable: the mechanics of historic semi-mobile keyboard instruments


Alain Roudier:  Ad Libitum, Etobon / France

Helmut Balk: Greifenberger Institut für Musikinstrumentenkunde / Germany

Paul McNulty : pianomaker / Czech Republic

Jurn Buisman – Museum Geelvinck / Early Piano Festival / Netherlands: moderator


Saturday 21st November: 11h00 – 12h30 Paris Time (MET)

On Saturday 21st November from 11h00 till 12h30 Paris Time (MET) Museum Geelvinck will hold a session on how we can preserve the living heritage of the conservation, restoration and building of copies of historic (semi-mobile) stringed keyboard instruments of the 18th and 19th centuries. This session is hosted by the Early Music Summit, which is fully online organised by REMA, the European Early Music Network, on 20th– 22nd November 2020 at Bozar in Brussels (Belgium). The session aims to discuss the challenges for the future of this niche industry. Members of the panel will be Mr. Helmut Balk (Greifenberger Institut für Musikinstrumentenkunde), Mr. Paul McNulty (Paul McNulty Fortepianos) and Mr. Alain Roudier (Pianoforte Ad Libitum, Centre International du Pianoforte). Moderated by Jurn Buisman, Museum Geelvinck / Geelvinck Festival Early Piano.


REMA Early Music Summit 20-22 November ’the future of Early Music research’

The rescheduling of our festival had serious repercussions on the organisation of our annual scientific symposium. However, we are happy to announce our collaboration with REMA, who took the initiative to organise the Early Music Summit 20-22 November 2020 at the Bozar in Brussels, which major event will be fully online too. The overall theme of the summit is: ’the future of Early Music research’. Part of the REMA Summit’s program will be dedicated to instrument making. On Saturday 21st November Museum Geelvinck will organise the 2nd morning session.


Keeping the past playable: the mechanics of historic semi-mobile keyboard instruments

The mechanics of semimobile early keyboard instruments, such as fortepianos, square pianos, clavichords, reed organs, player pianos, harpsichords, spinets, house organs, glasschords etc., are intricate. Technicians, who have mastered the complex workings of the mechanics and who understand the functionality of creating the sound, so loved by musicians of historically informed practice, are indispensable for keeping these instruments playable. The research, historically correct restoration, regular revision and tuning, as well the building of exact copies, are crucial for the preservation of the living heritage of music. As important as the professional education of musical performers for these instruments, is that the skills and handicraft experience of the specialised technician in charge of restoring and keeping the instrument a playable state, are preserved and passed on to future generations.

The program of this session will consist of:
– 11h00 – 11h30: live online panel debate on the theme, moderated by our museum
– 11h30 – 12h00: four online workshops, each with one of the panellists or the moderator
– 12h00 – 12h30: live online panel on the results and developing into a concluding statement


Challenges for the future of performing on historic stringed keyboard instruments

We expect that in the coming years, a young generation of inventive musicians will develop relevant cross-overs between early music and other genres, both traditional and contemporary, as well as interdisciplinary. One hand, inspiring online performances will open up a global audience. On the other hand, research-based, low- and high-tech performances connecting music with its historical context and the spirit of place of monuments and sites, will further the development of early music beyond its 20th century boundaries of the historically informed practice. Our aim is to develop a European statement concerning the challenges to keep our living heritage of technical craftmanship for semimobile 18th and 19th enturies stringed keyboard instruments preserved and alive.