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Rare Meerbach clavichord at 8th Geelvinck Fortepiano Festival
Clavichord by J.C. Meerbach, Gotha, c. 1800. Photo by Roland Spek, Geelvinck Music Museum Zutphen.

ZUTPHEN.- During the 8th edition of the Geelvinck Fortepiano Festival in Zutphen for the first time since about half a century a rare Meerbach clavichord from the famous Colt Collection – today in the collection of the Geelvinck Music Museum in Zutphen – was brought to live again. At the scientific symposium, which is the kernel of this festival, Peter Bavington presented his research on this charming clavichord, which was built by Johann Christian Meerbach (1738-1824) in Gotha (Germany) around 1800.

J.C. Meerbach
As far as we know, only four clavichords by Meerbach survive, the three others now in museums in Germany and the USA. The one in the former collection of Charles F. Colt – the largest privately held collection of early keyboards in the United Kingdom – had been restored in 1972. At that occasion the inside of the lid of the clavichord was decorated with an intriguing painting by the renown Irish painter Hector McDonnell. This Spring the clavichord was restored by Sander Ruys (Netherlands). During the festival, prof. Peter Sykes (Boston University and Juilliard) performed on the clavichord.

Geelvinck Music Museums
In 2011 the Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis Museum – today Geelvinck Music Museums – started with a festival dedicated to performances on original historic period pianos from the 18th and 19th centuries. The Geelvinck Music Museum Zutphen features the largest collection of historic pianos in the Netherlands and includes the famous Sweelinck Collection, the only collection worldwide, which gives an overview of piano building in the Netherlands during this period. The museum in Zutphen partners with the Geelvinck Pianola Museum in Amsterdam, which features over 30.000 pianola-rolls and some 100 player pianos. Geelvinck Music Museums aims at presenting piano music in its historic context.

Geelvinck Fortepiano Festival 2018
The 8th edition of the Geelvinck Fortepiano Festival rejoices the theme "Fortepiano, Fashion and Dance". The festival in the historic cities of Zutphen and Amsterdam, which started on 9th August and continues till 22nd August, includes twenty concerts, next to nine fringe concerts and a 'fortepiano stroll'. In addition there are six public master classes and the scientific symposium for fortepiano and early keyboard musicians, technicians and museum curators. There is an annual call for new compositions on square and fortepiano: these are performed in 'New Frontiers', this year again in the Museum Cromhouthuis, a canal mansion at the famous Herengracht in Amsterdam. This year's 'New Frontiers' included a new composition for fortepiano and glass armonica by Leonardo Coral (Mexico).

The 19 period pianos performed-on during the festival include a Zumpe square piano of 1769, a Heilmann fortepiano of c. 1785, a Zahler fortepiano of c. 1805 (Coll. Gijs Wilderom), and a Conrad Graf fortepiano of 1826 (Coll. Edwin Beunk). A special feature is the glass armonica on which Dennis James (USA) performs. As the Geelvinck Pianola Museum in Amsterdam is included, there is also attention for performances on player pianos. Musicians also include Richard Egarr (UK), Diana Weston (Australia), Ratko Delorko (Germany), Gabriele Toia (Italy), Olga Pashchenko (Russia) and other. The artistic director of the festival is the early keyboard expert and performer, dr. Michael Tsalka. The festival is the largest festival for original period fortepianos worldwide and it received the Europe for Festivals – Festivals for Europe label.

More information
The paper by Peter Bavington on the history of the Meerbach clavichord in the Geelvinck Music Museum is published on the website of the museum.

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