Harpsichord recital as part of Oxmarket series in Chichester

Sylvia Ellison
Sylvia Ellison

A former colleague of artist Catherine Barnes is bringing her harpsichord to Chichester’s Oxmarket Gallery for a performance among paintings by Catherine and prints by Daphne Casdagli for the Festival of Chichester.

Catherine said: “It must be many years since a harpsichord was heard in the former church that is now the Oxmarket Gallery, so the Festival audience is in for a unique experience at the lunchtime recital on Thursday, July 11 at 12.30.

“Sylvia Ellison is a freelance musician and teacher with a profound belief in the life-enhancing power of music. In addition to playing the harpsichord, she enjoys performing on the oboe and bassoon in a wide variety of musical styles and contexts.

“Sylvia is fortunate to play a double manual harpsichord made by Colin Booth. She is very much enjoying a continuing journey of musical discovery which began at the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music, continued through Southampton University and the post-graduate advanced study course at the Royal College of Music.”

Sylvia first collaborated with Catherine more than 20 years ago on a project entitled Autumn which brought together visual art, Keats’ words and the music of composer Martin Read.

Sylvia said: “I have been asked if the harpsichord is basically like a harp… or rather like a piano… well it’s a bit like both, and also strangely not unlike a guitar.

“The shape looks similar to a sideways harp, but it has keys like a piano, each of which connects to a tiny plectrum. Sir Thomas Beecham was famously very rude about the sound of the harpsichord, but since his day there has been a great revival of interest in early instruments.”

Her programme for Chichester includes JS Bach, Orlando Gibbons, William Byrd, Domenico Scarlatti, Tomkins, Morley and Farnaby.

Tickets for the harpsichord recital are £10 from the Oxmarket, off East Street, Chichester (01243 779103) or The Novium. http://www.thenovium.org/boxoffice.

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