6th December 2019

This summer we welcomed Emma Abbate and her husband Julian Perkins to perform on the keyboard instruments. Here is an interview with them:


1. What was your first connection with the collection of instruments?

This was as a postgraduate student when I first encountered square pianos. Little did I know that I would be performing on one on this same visit!

2.Do you have a favourite? Why?

I have a particular affinity for the Viennese fortepiano by Conrad Graf on which I recently recorded Weber’s complete keyboard duets with Julian Perkins.

3.Any anecdotes from your time with the Burnetts or the collection?

Following one concert on a square piano, I vividly recall overhearing the performer being described by a visitor as a ‘square pianist’!

4.How do you feel it has impacted your career?

Having been trained as a ‘modern’ pianist, nothing could have so greatly expanded my tonal palette as the experience of playing on these original instruments. This is especially valuable to me when performing earlier repertoires on concert grands.

5.What advice would you give to a young musician considering early keyboard instruments?

Enjoy the sheer variety of early keyboard instruments. Come to them with an open mind, and only compare them constructively to their modern counterparts.
Emma Abbate

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