Two Harpsichords and Kate Semmen


Adults: £16.00 - Under 18s: £8.00

Mar 1, 2.30 pm to Mar 1, 4.30 pm

Adults: £16.00 - Under 18s: £8.00

Colin Booth, Steven Devine, Kate Semmens

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Harpsichordists Steven Devine and Colin Booth are joined by soprano Kate Semmens in a journey through the music of 17th century England.

Keyboard pieces, duos, and songs from the court of Elizabeth I, form a startling contrast with the new style espoused by Purcell and his contemporaries after the Restoration of Charles II in 1660.

By the time of the reign of Queen Anne, an even more modern style was forming, sowing the seeds of a further evolution in music in the early part of the new 18th century.

Our concert will feature stunning highlights of English music, from the Renaissance to the Baroque.

Tickets £16 (under 18s £8)
Includes tea or coffee during the interval
Pre-booked carvery lunch available at £18

Performer background

Colin Booth

Colin Booth has combined the careers of harpsichordist and harpsichord-maker for more than 30 years. As maker, he has more than 300 customers to his credit, including a large number of Early Music professionals. Steven Devine owns three of his instruments.

As a player, Colin has performed as soloist and continuo harpsichordist in a number of countries, from Denmark to South Africa. He taught and played

annually for 25 years at the Dartington International Summer School, and has recorded 12 CDs of solo harpsichord music. His collaboration with Steven Devine, exploring the two-harpsichord repertoire, is now nearly two decades old.

Colin’s book Did Bach Really Mean That? – an investigation of baroque notation and the conventions underpinning it, has been praised both for its detail and insights, and for being a highly readable guide for all who are keen on playing early keyboard music, whatever their chosen instrument. To accompany the book, he released a critically praised recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

Colin had the good fortune, two years ago, to acquire and restore an original French harpsichord dated 1661. The first recording on it, Grounds for Pleasure, featured English music of the 17th century, and on a second CD he played music by the great 17thC French master Louis Couperin.

For further information visit Colin’s website 

Steven Devine

Since 2007 Steven has been the harpsichordist with London Baroque in addition to his position as Co-Principal keyboard player with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He is also the principal keyboard player for The Gonzaga Band, Apollo and Pan, The Classical Opera Company and performs regularly with many other groups around Europe. He has recorded over thirty discs with other artists and ensembles and made three solo recordings. His latest recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations (Chandos Records) has been receiving critical acclaim – including Gramophone magazine describing it as “among the best”.

Steven made his London conducting debut in 2002 at the Royal Albert Hall and is now a regular performer there – including making his Proms directing debut in August 2007 with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He has conducted the Mozart Festival Orchestra in every major concert hall in the UK and also across Switzerland. In opera, Steven has worked at the Comische Oper in Berlin and alongside Paul Mcreesh throughout France. With Opera Restor’d, he has conducted at Wigmore Hall in London, at the Warwick, Lake District, Stour, Norwich and English Haydn Festivals. Steven is Music Director for New Chamber Opera in Oxford and with them has conducted performances of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Mozart’s La Finta Semplice, Stradella’s Il Trespolo Tutore, Rossini’s Le Comte Ory, Handel’s Xerxes, Arne’s Artaxerxes, Galuppi’s Il Mondo alla Roversa. He has directed the first performance of the newly-acquired score of Cavalli’s Erismena and Sallieri’s Falstaff with the same forces. For the Dartington Festival Opera he has conducted Handel’s Orlando and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. In 2012 Steven will be working with Nancy Argenta in Canada, conducting a Handel Oratorio and Bach Cantatas.

Passionate about the role of music in education, Steven is a regular member of the OAE education team, Professor of Fortepiano at Trinity College of Music and a visiting teacher, adjudicator and examiner for many other institutions.

One of Steven’s proudest (and longest) associations is with the Finchcocks Musical Museum in Kent where he holds the post of Director of Development. Jan 2012

For further information visit Steven’s website

Kate Semmens

Kate Semmens is a Soprano with a wide and varied career, singing for some of the world’s most eminent conductors in groups ranging from the Monteverdi Choir with John Eliot Gardiner to the Eric Whitacre Singers. In opera she has played roles ranging from Cupid in Blow’s Venus and Adonis to Mrs P in Michael Nyman’s Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, although she is most known for her performances of Baroque and Classical repertoire. Of a recent performance, Opera Magazine wrote “the clarity and charm of Kate Semmens’ soprano was disarming”. She is particularly interested in historical performance and sang the title role in the first modern performance of John Stanley’s Teraminta for Opera Restor’d and recently completed performances of Cavalli’s Erismena, from the original English edition bought by the Bodleian Library. Kate enjoys working with instrumentalists and spends a lot of time in chamber concerts with soloists including violinists Margaret Faultless and Matthew Truscott as well as viol programmes with Jacob Herringman and Susanna Pell, and lute songs with lutenist Lynda Sayce. Kate has sung on many CDs but was thrilled to launch her solo disc ‘Delicatessen’ with harpsichordist Steven Devine last spring.

For further information about Kate visit her website