The British Harpsichord Society

The BHS focuses on plucked keyboard instruments, Harpsichords, Spinets and Virginals. Our website is intended to complement existing harpsichord resources with both original material and links to other sources of information.

Similar societies cater for those interested in other keyboard instruments; pianos, fortepianos, pipe organs and clavichords. We are keen to support and work with these complementary organisations, particularly The British Clavichord Society, and are more than happy to list below, links to some of these.

British Clavichord Society

Friends of Square Pianos

The Incorporated Association of Organists

Our Aims

The British Harpsichord Society promotes awareness, enjoyment, study, playing and ownership of harpsichords and related plucked keyboard instruments. Our aim is to create more public awareness and encourage more people to enjoy and play the harpsichord.

How it began

The BHS was started in October 2002 by William Vine. He became interested in the harpsichord, and was frustrated at the lack of information available at that time on the Web, so he decided to fill the gap with a web-based society that would provide information about the harpsichord and its world. It was intended for harpsichord enthusiasts in the UK but the level of interest from overseas, always about 45% of the membership, has been of huge benefit and a strength of the society. As well as designing and setting up the main site, William also wrote and published an e-newsletter.

The London Harpsichord Centre opened in Chiltern Street in November 2004 and in December the Society started holding monthly recitals there, wine and sandwiches being generously provided by the Early Music Shop. David Wright, the harpsichordist who managed the shop, arranged the performers and prepared the somewhat restricted premises for the performances. When the shop closed, and with help from Jane Clark, the BHS was able to move the recitals to the Handel House Museum where this happy arrangement continues. Jane remains responsible for liaison with the Handel House and for arranging the performers. The Handel House venue also provides the opportunity to organise extended workshops studying the repertoire of specific composers in greater depth. All these BHS events have been extremely well supported by artists as well as audiences, and some distinguished guest performers from far and near have played for us.

From July 2005 and for almost two years, Michael Ackerman took over as Editor of the Newsletter, and between 2006 and 2008 John Erskine provided a range of useful administrative support.

By early 2008 and with growing membership it became apparent that more help was required to keep the website updated, to answer the increasing number of queries and to research and compile the extensive monthly Concert Diary. Initially help was sought to take over specific tasks, namely Diary Secretary and Membership Secretary, but when William had to withdraw due to his business commitment, even more assistance was obviously required. Fortunately we were able to find enough willing volunteers. To ensure the future of the Society the first task of this augmented band of helpers was to formalise the arrangement by agreeing a Constitution, forming a Committee and compiling a panel of Advisors, details of which are set out below.

The Society continues to be run entirely by volunteers and Membership remains free and open to all. The website instruments ‘for sale’ page, provides our only revenue and is used to maintain the website. Donations to support and expand the Society’s work are welcomed.

Annual General Meeting Minutes

Available on request- Please contact the Secretary info@harpsichord.org.uk

Treasurer’s Report and Accounts

Available on request- Please contact the Treasurer treasurer@harpsichord.org.uk

Constitution

A copy of the BHS’s constitution is available for download:
Adobe PDF (52KB)
Word.doc (32KB)

Committee

Prof. Barry Ife  President
William Vine  Founder
Edna Lewis  Secretary & Membership info@harpsichord.org.uk
Claire Randall  Minutes Secretary
Philip Thompson   Diary Secretary diary@harpsichord.org.uk
Tony Darwen   Membership Liaison
Jane Clark  Liaison HH Concerts
Tamsind Duffety  Treasurer treasurer@harpsichord.org.uk
Penelope Cave
Medea Bindewald
Angela Gillon
Katharine May
Pamela Nash

Together with additional help and advice on practical and musical matters from our…

Advisory Panel

Prof. John Irvine  Performance & Repertoire
Sharon Gould  Performance & Repertoire
Andrew Wooderson  Technical Advisor
William Mitchell Technical Advisor
Michael Ackerman  Legal Advisor