Jane Chapman : harpsichordist

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Derriere Le Miroir from Rob Windsor on Vimeo


Images by Norman McBeath

Collaboration with Sonic Arts Research Unit (SARU), Oxford Brookes University.

Amplification, live interactive electronics, improvisation, visual imagery, club atmosphere. All this feels very 'baroque' in a 21st century way. These exciting works are by serious and passionate composers who have all ventured into new territory. The harpsichord is made more 'real' in this environment; its intrinsic qualities are extended, heightened, explored, subverted, intensified and celebrated. This instrument has a distinct presence, so does electronic gear; put them together, and an intriguing world emerges.

Amplified harpsichord with live and interactive electronics and analogue and digital signal processors. World premieres by Paul Dibley, Sam Hayden, Paul Newland, Sohrab Uduman, Roger Redgate, Michael Vaughan, Paul Whitty, alongside classic works by Gyorgy Ligeti and Kaija Saariaho.
Ambient music by Jane Chapman




Jane Chapman - harpsichord
Gregoire A. Meyer- dancer/choreographer

with sound artist - Nick Rothwell
visuals - Norman McBeath, Paul Whitty
choreography - Melanie Simpson

Solo miniatures and works with electronics from the WIRED collection
World premiers with dance by Paul Newland, Nick Rothwell, Paul Whitty Contemporary classic with dance by Louis Andriessen


This project continues the exciting and innovative development of repertoire for harpsichord and electronics, bringing new audiences to contemporary music.

Following the recent release of WIRED by NMC - the first CD of it's kind by a British harpsichordist, my aim is to build on its success and creative inspiration, and to place the harpsichord in yet another context.

This concert presents new aspects of the harpsichord combined with contemporary dance. It builds on an ever evolving repertoire and creative approach to performance developed by leading artists and composers. From the short, intense, finely-wrought acoustic miniature, to the physical, sensual quality of the sound produced by the strings alone, the harpsichord becomes something almost unrecognisable; a clattering humming percussive instrument, a distorted sound box.

The transformation of the sound through electronics leads us into different environments, sometimes climaxing into something brutal and uncompromising, sometimes delicate, haunting, breathy... Chameleon-like and rhythmically pushy, this vast palette of sounds liberates the instrument and the performers.

Dancer, musician and composer collaborate to explore new worlds.


A Shimmering Microcosm
Out Hear - Kings Place, London 90 York Way, London

Mark Wingfield/Jane Chapman Parallel Time* Roger Redgate Residua (First complete performance)* Duncan Macleod The New Atlantis Sohrab Uduman Derrière le Miroir* (Live visuals by Jon Barraclough) Images by Norman McBeath (during the interval) Stockhausen Nachtmusick (Aus den sieben Tagen) Simon Emmerson Dreamscape** (Live visuals by David Bickerstaff) Wingfield Smouldering Bridge*

*World premiere **UK premiere

Jane Chapman harpsichord (percussion) Kate Ryder piano Mark Wingfield electric guitar

'There came a moment of madness when the feeling harpsichord thought that it was the only harpsichord in the world, and that the whole harmony of the universe resided in it.' Diderot (1769) Pioneering harpsichordist Jane Chapman brings together ground-breaking performers and visual artists in a unique collaboration, exploring ideas of existence and reality through state-of-the-art technology and dramatic innovation.

Jane Chapman gives the first complete performance of Roger Redgate's Residua, unadulterated essence of harpsichord, and continues her 'cinematic' collaboration with electric guitarist Mark Wingfield, in a sensual symbiosis of resonating strings stretching the edges of sound. Sohrab Uduman and Jon Barraclough explore the energy generated from the fusion between live performance, live computer transformation of sound and moving image, bringing to life an aural and visual theater of gesture, movement and allusion. In Duncan MacLeod's The New Atlantis the harpsichord is suspended in a utopian world. Pianist Kate Ryder and harpsichord play a strange sonic game in Simon Emmerson's Dreamscape for live electronics and vocalisation, with interactive visuals by David Bickerstaff. Performers come together in text inspired works by Stockhausen, and Norman McBeath shows vibrant and luminous images.

Dreamscape from David Bickerstaff on Vimeo.

"Cinematic eloquence" (Wingfield/Chapman) The Guardian


'The Oriental Miscellany: being a collection of the most favourite Airs of Hindoostan, compiled and adapted for the Harpsichord, &c. By William Hamilton Bird.'

The Foyle Special Collections Library was delighted to host harpsichordist Jane Chapman as artist in residence supported by the Leverhulme Trust from October 2011 to October 2012. Our copy of a remarkable 18th century collection of Indian music, William Hamilton Bird’s Oriental miscellany (Calcutta, 1789), is the starting point for Jane Chapman’s exploration of early musical encounters between the Indian sub-continent and the West. Working in collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Music and the India Institute, Jane presented her findings via concerts (including a reconstruction with Indian musicians), study days and recordings, reinterpreting the Oriental Miscellany for a 21st century audience.
Podcast: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/ikings/index.php?id=688

Publications: ’The Oriental Miscellany and the Hindustani Air’, Harpsichord and Fortepiano,Volume 17, No.2, ISSN 1463-0036.
'Wild but pleasing when understood', British Harpsichord Society - Sounding Board: http://www.harpsichord.org.uk/soundingboard.php.

Forthcoming: complete recording on an original Kirckman harpsichord (1772), housed at the Horniman Museum, London. Including Yu-Wei Hu baroque flute.


This disc explores the first publication of Indian music written in staff notation for performance on Western instruments, most notably the harpsichord. Complied by William Hamilton Bird and published by subscription in Calcutta in 1789, it has been regarded by musicologists as an important historical source of Indian music. Hindustani airs were much in vogue at the end of the 18th century, and were often collected by Western women, most notably Margaret Fowke and Sophia Plowden, both accomplished harpsichordists. William Bird formed part of their musical circle, and was an active member of the British community in Calcutta, directing and organising Western classical concerts. Bird was able to attract an illustrious list of over 250 subscribers to the Oriental Miscellany which is dedicated to the first Governor-General of India, Warren Hastings. Many of these songs were heard at nautch (dance) performances, such as those held at the at the court of Lucknow under the patronage of the Nawab of Awadh, Asaf-ud-Daula.

The complete publication and recording consists of 30 airs for solo harpsichord, made up of rekhtas, tappas, taranas and a raagni which are followed by a Sonata composed by Bird (with flute accompaniment) which incorporates several of the original Indian tunes. Though the transcriptions or arrangements are clearly adapted to appeal to a Western audience at the time of the Enlightenment, Jane Chapman also improvises short preludes or alaps before several of the pieces, exploring the ragas on which they may have been based.

The project has been supported by the Leverhulme Trust.



TRIO APORIA was formed by Stephen Preston in 2012 as a crucible for 21st century music making, drawing on the sonic qualities of wood, metal and gut, and the combined inspiration of three leading performers acclaimed for cutting-edge contemporary and pioneering early music performances: http://www.trioaporia.co.uk

Stephen Preston -  baroque flute, Jane Chapman - harpsichord, Richard Boothby -  viola da gamba

The aim of TRIO APORIA is to develop the contemporary musical potential of their instruments, through new commissions, electroacoustics, improvisation, and the continued exploration of historical music  - from the 20th century back to Baroque and beyond.
APORIA = a philosophical instrument of investigation; the impasse that fires the creative imagination; a butterfly genus.
Recent commissions include: Edward Cowie, Duncan Druce, Neal Farwell, Edwin Hiller, Kevin Malone, Geoffrey Poole, Alexander Glyde-Bates, Paul Whitty, Paul Newland, Tom Armstrong.
Performances: Monteforte d'Alba - Italy, Hatchlands, New Music North West Festival, University of Southampton, University of Bristol (Rameau+ New Worlds project). King’s College London - Arts & Humanities Festival, Kings Place, International Computer Music Conference - Utrecht, Ivy Theatre - University of Surrey "Lines of Flight".
see links



The unique multi-keyboard project Keynote + (Kate Ryder/Jane Chapman) explores the interface between early and modern instruments and cutting edge new music, and examines the fascinating sound world and subtle sonorities of prepared piano, harpsichord, clavichord, and miniature instruments with visual imagery and sound installations.

Keynote + Launched at the BMIC Cutting Edge concert series in London, performing ten premieres from a broad spectrum of some of today's most creative transatlantic musical voices.
Residencies: Goldsmith's College, London, UC Berkeley (CNMAT) giving concerts and seminars representing British music, and commissioning new works from young American composers.

World premieres by: Evelyn Ficarra/Ian Winters, Yumi Hara Cawkwell (Gen foundation commission), Paul Davies, John Lely, Stephen Montague, Roger Redgate, Colin Riley, Paul Whitty, Mark Wingfield, Hilda Paredes (co commission Corsham Festival and RVW Trust), Cindy Cox, Jeremy Peyton Jones, Simon Emmerson with video by David Bickerstaff.

Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley, USA

Selected Performances/Workshops:

Oxford Brookes University, Morley College, The Warehouse BMIC Cutting Edge Series, Royal Academy of Music, Goldsmiths College University of London, Mills College USA, CNMAT Berkeley University USA, Corsham Festival, Turner Sims Concert Hall University of Southampton, Hertz Hall Berkeley USA, South Bank Centre, London, Connect Festival, Malmo, Sweden, Kings Place, London


Inspired by transcriptions of tribal African music, 18th century Indian melody, and the fusion of baroque, indian and jazz styles, Wingfield and Chapman have combined their very different stringed instruments in a unique way. Ballamy has woven his own voice into this eclectic music to complete the intoxicating mix. This is a new combination of instrumental textures - the stunning electric guitar sounds, produced using the latest cutting edge modeling technology, and the full and rich acoustic sounds of the harpsichord and sax. Wingfield's innovative compositions create a springboard for this highly imaginative collaboration.

THREE WINDOWS (Dark Energy Music DEM 07)
Mark Wingfield (electric guitar) - Jane Chapman (harpsichord) - Iain Ballamy (sax)
Three of the UK's most innovative players together on an adventurous, inspiring album. Contemporary jazz guitar, saxophone and harpsichord - the sensitivity and considered harmonies of ECM jazz with the excitement and drive of rock and Nu-Jazz, fused with strands of classical and world music.

The new sound of contemporary jazz
Three distinct musical worlds and personalities connected by one music

Cutting edge technology - tradition and history redefined - compelling composition and improvisation
Bridges and pathways - jazz, classical, and world music taken on a unique journey

Press comments:
'This is a unique and sophisticated musical statement by three of England's most accomplished players, as well as one of the year's most engaging recordings' Guitar Player magazine
'One of the most consistently brilliant and forward thinking collaborations in years' Guitar Player Magazine
'Cinematic Eloquence' The Guardian
'Very distinctive' JazzWise

Mark Wingfield - "the six string winged, improvising Shaman... (Music That Matters) has an electric guitar sound made entirely from the latest in sound modeling technology, where the sound itself is literally crafted using technology that is light years away from the ubiquitous fuzz box or guitar amplifier. His groundbreaking musicianship has been described as "uplifting...inspiration...engaging" (Guitar Techniques)

Jane Chapman - "Britain's most progressive harpsichordist" (Independent on Sunday) and "The hippest harpsichordist around" (London Metro) is a truly versatile musician, redefining the harpsichord for a new audience. Forever pushing the boundaries, her recordings and performances of traditional and cutting edge repertoire are equally acclaimed. "plays with brilliance and sensitivity" (Classic CD) " a fearless contemporary music performer"(The Guardian)

Iain Ballamy - Renowned in Europe as the "Fantastic Englishman", plays "in a lyrical class of his own" (The Guardian). Having performed worldwide with some of the most famous and adventurous Jazz musicians he has also pursued his interest in world music, forging strong working relationships with renowned musicians from Hungary, Norway, Spain, Sudan, Brazil and beyond."Ballamy plays with exquisitely tender grace" (John Fordham)" leaves you in absolute awe" (BBC)

Handel House, London, Harpsichordfest, Manchester,Turner Sims, Southampton,
Kings Place, London
NEW DISC forthcoming with Brazillian percussionist Adriano Adewale

WAPPING POWER STATION - London - (Solo Spotlight Series SPNM)

Music by Gyorgy Ligeti, James Dillon, Rhian Samuel, Nick Rothwell,
Richard Glover, Katarzyna Glowicka, Robert Percy, Nick Redfern and
Tasos Savvopoulos

Using amplification, electronics, percussion instruments, video and her own voice, Jane Chapman is unique in conjuring 21st-century sounds from the harpsichord.

" I have often had the image of the harpsichord as a magic box; three sets of plucked strings creating the most incredible variety of sounds. My programme examines these different sonorities, and looks at the ways in which composers have entered into this intriguing and challenging world. An extra dimension is created through the delicate and haunting world of small percussion, and voice, reinforcing and contrasting the harpsichord's unique timbre. The mysterious resonance of the actual strings themselves, played from the inside, and the sense of the instrument as a theatrical presence with a real soul, enters new expressive worlds. It is silent - sleeping, waiting for the performer to breathe life into it, and then finally after all has been heard, it has a restless dream...."

H+ HARPSICHORD IN A CLUB - with video projection

Paul Whitty -7 Pages

The harpsichord becomes a magical box of sound and visual images. The actual instrument comes alive, as the tradition of decoration and representative art is transported to the present day reflecting and interacting with the whole spectrum of contemporary works composed for this original event.

This is a unique body of collaborative work which brings together sound and image, tradition and technology through live performance, with great audience appeal. Harpsichord H+ project provides a unique opportunity for the integration of a historic artistic tradition encompassing elements from music, theatre and design with new creative realms involving audiovisual technology and time-based media. Shaping, synthesising and engaging with these various elements makes this a challenging and fascinating performance.

DJ, Yumi Hara Cawkwell juxtaposes and reinvents harpsichord and contemporary dance music.


Works composed for Jane Chapman with live video by Japanese artists - VJ Gesuidoh.
Tom Armstrong/Jeevan Rai, Ikuyo Kobayashi, Leo Birtwhistle, Chris Litherland, Flanagan/Chapman,Yumi Hara Cawkwell, Desmond Clarke and Ben Eyes (live electronics)


New works by Norwegian composers for solo harpsichord with electric guitar, acoustic guitar, live electronics.
Performances in London, Stavanger, Bergen.

Works by: Harald Saether, Ole Karsten Sundlistaeter, Arnt Hakon Anesen, Kristin Bolstad, Peter Edwards, Stine Sorlie, Bjorn Erik Haugen, Sigurd Fischer Olsen

XENON an exploded opera by Mikhail Karikis
Kings Place, London

SHOBANA JEYASINGH (dance): Strange Blooms (2013) 'reveals the hidden life of plants, Gabriel Prokofiev’s score simulates the process in music. By dissecting recording(s) by Jane Chapman of Louis Couperin’s harpsichord piece, Chaconne la Complaignante, Prokofiev lays bare its mysterious internal processes before putting it all back together again in pristine form. Like the design of Strange Blooms, it is a remarkable journey that reminds us of the richness hidden in the depths of life. As Jeyasingh says, ‘Choreography is a way of revealing what is already there.’ '

Gorecki Harpsichord Concerto, solo works by Ligeti.
St Luke's, London. BBC Broadcast


Jane Chapman and Pamela Nash acclaimed soloists in their own right, present works which examine a wide range of contemporary styles to re-devised Bach. The harpsichord undergoes a complete transformation; electroacoustic projection and live sound projection (often with audience participation) transports the harpsichord beyond the 21st century. A sonic experience never to be forgotten, CHAPMAN + NASH redefine "the queen of instruments".

CD of newly commissioned works in progress

Harpsichordfest, Manchester, Brighton Festival, Multiplier Series - Kings Place, London

HPSCHD - 7 harpsichords, 51 computer-generated tapes and film (coached and directed by Jane Chapman).



The baroque and modern flautist Eleanor Dawson and harpsichordist Jane chapman present innovative programmes in an exciting new context. As well as the traditional repertoire, they perform electroacoustic, and amplified pieces. As soloists they have commissioned many works, and are currently creating a new repertoire for this instrumentation. Performances include the Huddersfield Festival of Contemporary Music, Dartington Summer School, Kilkenny Festival, Sonorities - Belfast.
CD release - Sargasso 08


One of Britain's most exciting and innovative quartets plays new works with harpsichord by: Sally Beamish, Michael Nyman (commissioned by Bath New Music)

Premiered: Corsham Festival - July 2007


Rout one of most adventurous and groundbreaking ensembles in the UK performs works especially commissioned for Jane Chapman and unusual lineups, by Tom Armstrong, Paul Newland, Paul Whitty and Luke Stoneham (Premiered at Cutting Edge, Ocean)


First performed at the ICA in London this set of diverse pieces explores the ironies and beauties of popular art music creating a new musical language of its own: harpsichord/vocals, horn/keyboards, percussion. Also broadcast on BBC Radio 3.


New works for this exciting collaboration with multi percussionist Pete Lockett, including a commission from John Palmer premiered at the Lust Festival ICA London and recorded on the Sargasso label.


David Alberman - violin
James Dillon - Traumwerk II
Commissioned by Tage fur neue Musik, Zurich
(recording available)

Irvine Arditti - violin
Julio Estrada -Yuunohui'tlapoa
Commissioned by Wittener Tage, Germany
(recording available)

Mieko Kanno - violin
M. Vaughan ...on reflection
P. Whitty Blinkwarpvoid
S. Uduman Memories of a Fragmented Landscape
R. Fischman El Picaflor y el Huaco
(recording available)