Playing my recently restored Celini harpsichord of 1661. For more on this project, see News
As both a maker and player of harpsichords, I enjoy the rare privilege of turning a collection of pieces of wood into a finished harpsichord and then playing it in public. While geographically based in the South-West of England (home and workshop are near the beautiful city of Wells), performing has given me the opportunity of travelling far afield and forming friendships with other musicians, many of whom now own my instruments.
‘Your concert was hugely enjoyed and many people told me how astonished they were that you not only played brilliantly but built the exquisite harpsichord you brought with you.’
David Titterington, RAM, Artistic Director of the
St. Albans International Organ Festival,
following the concert which formed part of the 2013 Festival.
Building harpsichords takes time, so my concert work has been limited, compared with full-time performers. In order to reach a wider audience, in 1991 I established the Soundboard record label. There are now a dozen recordings of solo harpsichord music available on Soundboard, including the landmark CD of Bach’s Goldberg Variations.
‘For me this recording stands out in a crowded field.’
Noel O’Regan. Early Music Review, August 2011.
I also love teaching, and have developed a deep interest in the expressive capabilities of the harpsichord and its music. Seminars held at the Dartington International Summer School led to “Did Bach Really Mean That?” - a 350-page handbook. Its aim is to encourage keyboard players, whatever their instrument, to go “beyond the dots”: to discover more fully the breadth of meaning which an apparently simple Baroque score may conceal.
‘The book is absolutely first class: very learned yet imaginative and totally approachable. So much to learn from it, and so much to admire. Congratulations. I have already recommended it to several keyboard players.’
Sir Roger Norrington, conductor
© 2013-2014 Colin Booth, harpsichordist and harpsichord maker
Photographs of performing and teaching, courtesy of Joe McHugh, Studio 5, Renmore, Galway
Video clips: my thanks to Dr. Peter Mole