News

Striking the right chord

One of the most famous instruments in the University’s Russell Collection has won a prestigious prize.

The Goermans Taskin harpsichord was bestowed with a Herald Angel for its part in the Edinburgh International Festival this year.

Unusual winner

Built in Paris in 1764, the harpsichord is renowned for its rich and sophisticated sound, as well as its aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Described as the week’s most unusual winner, the award was collected on the instrument’s behalf by the man who looks after it, John Raymond, and the curator of the collection, Darryl Martin at a ceremony in Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre.

Acclaimed performances

The instrument was played by French harpsichordist and conductor Christophe Rousset for three recitals this August.

The first concert took place in the Queen’s Hall, meaning the historical Goermans Taskin had to be carefully transported across the capital for the performance.

The following two recitals were performed in St Cecilia’s Hall, where it was accompanied by other instruments in the collection.

The recitals were highly acclaimed - due to both Rousset’s playing and the beauty of the instruments - receiving five star reviews from The Guardian and four from The Herald.

Festival film

Harpsichordist Christophe Rousset speaks about the University of Edinburgh's harpsichord collection ahead of his performances as part of the Edinburgh International Festival.

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Esteemed accolade

The Herald Angels are awards given to all aspects of performers and performances throughout the festivals in Edinburgh over August.

Winners are chosen by a team of critics at The Herald newspaper.

Historical collection

St Cecilia’s Hall is home to the collections of early keyboard and plucked strings, part of Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments (EUCHMI), which ranks among the world's most important collections of musical heritage.

The sister collection is currently on display and in store at the University’s Reid Concert Hall Museum of Instruments.

There are approximately 5,000 objects in the permanent collection, spanning over 500 years together with prized rare and unique items.

The instruments are supplemented by an archive of original materials, working papers and a sound archive.

The collection attracts researchers from across the globe and is an extensively cited resource in international scholarship.

The University’s collection of historic musical instruments is recognised by the Scottish Government as a Significant Collection.

Related Links

University of Edinburgh Russell Collection

Details of University concert series

Reid School of Music