This is a small but dedicated and highly knowledgeable community. We have a slow trickle of new users coming on board, but hardly anybody posts. I thought it may be a good idea to have an Introductions category so people could introduce themselves to us and we could know more about each other and our interests.
The point is, Andrew, if somebody decides to paste here a 3-page long CV ,
it annoys others
nobody will read it anyway
I have had this experience in other discussion forums.
Some people in some countries are very fond of showing off “in extremis et per augmentationem”.
In at least one case a university professor included details that I took the trouble to verify and – surprise! – were actually not true!
A few lines will prevent problems and we will all read them to see “who’s who”!
I think it’s an excellent idea. Why do many users not post? Sometimes because they do not want to be exposed to intimidation and ridicule. This does not seem to be that kind of community, but there definitely are some forums like that in the music area. I plan to post my own introduction in a few days.
A wonderful idea, I will submit some personal info later.
I find it interesting to read that it could be an option to group people into categories like professional or amateur. I believe this is impossible and undesirable to do. ‘Professional’ could mean a) somebody with a formal education, b) somebody who makes his living out of this or c) somebody who delivers a high quality in his output. These three items do not need to go together. Just a few examples: Beethoven was an amateur, he did not complete a formal education and felt incapable of writing fugues. Leopoldo Franciolini was a professional harpsichord builder as he made a lot of money from his “profession”. On the contrary, Johan Daniel Dulcken was an amateur as he never had a professional training, in fact he run a grocery shop before starting his harpsichord shop in Antwerp. And nowadays, many ‘professional’ harpsichord builders have been trained as a furniture maker, or a piano technician. Only because a harpsichord building school, or string maker school just does not exist.
In my opinion the wealth of our community, and of the harpsichord building world in general, is the mutual exchange and influence between people of all different backgrounds.
I think this is a good idea. To follow up on Norman’s question about why people don’t post: Some of the regular posters are obviously people with a great depth of knowledge, which others (like me) don’t have. I agree that this is not the type of place where people will be looked down upon if they aren’t experts. But I feel a bit embarrassed that I so often ask questions and can’t give much back. This forum is very valuable and I appreciate Andrew’s efforts at keeping it running as well as all the information that is available here. My own introduction will follow.
As to why people don’t post. I confess that I am incredibly busy with my professional lives, most related to music and keyboard instruments, plus dogs and garden! I will try to post an introduction later this week. Teaser, last night I provided and was the tuner for one of the harpsichords I made for an Atlanta Baroque concert. Top notch!
Because I said, (a) that some vitae information was good to have, and (b) I have wondered about the background of the Jackrail participants and other harpsichordists ever since joining, I owe its community a contribution.
My interest in keyboard started before 1940: My parents arranged piano lessons for my two older brothers, but, apparently thought, that was not my métier. But I was intrigued by their attempts and used their lesson book (Klavierschule) to learn. In addition, a neighborhood boy of my age was fostered by his widowed mom, as her husband had been an accomplished amateur pianist; my friend was more of an inspiration for me than my brothers, as long as we lived in that town. In 1950 my father was transferred to Heidelberg (as a Methodist minister), where the daughter of a previous musically recognized minister (as Singer -Father) in our house, was a piano teacher. She offered me free weekly lessons which “I ate up”. This lasted for a bit over 9 months, my only “formal” keyboard lessons, which covered a considerable repertoire for a 16/17 year old. — When the church choir director quit, my father was in a bind and suggested that I take directing classes. I was admitted to the “Church Musical Institute” associated with the University of Heidelberg under Prof. Poppen, the prime Church musician in town. I lead our church choir until I emigrated (aged 20) to the US after my father died unsuspectedly early in 1954 during my high school final exams.
A magnificent gift was offered by the Methodist Minister of a Church in Pasadena, CA, and his wife, to live with them for the duration of a four-year study locally. After my first year, I was fortunate to be admitted to a very good engineering school in Pasadena from where I graduated in Aero engineering, received a PhD and continued on the faculty until retirement.
During the early professorial time my wife and I belonged to a Recorder group (5 people) and became devoted to period instrument renditions. During that time I asked the wife of a colleague (music teacher owning a spinet) to tape the keyboard accompaniment to Händel’s Recorder Sonatas for me. After waiting for over a year, I recognized that I needed to get my own instrument. Because the local keyboard store carried only Sperrhake instruments (East German manuf.), which I found terribly lacking in multiple ways, I explored, with the help of Wolfgang Zuckermann’s book and others, instrument styles and then the acquisition of a kit. The result was my owning Frank Hubbard’s kit # 625. (Claudio di Veroli has a kit close in number to mine, I think). It took me about 2 ½ years to complete (evenings on a busy professorial start-up’s time schedule). Because I loved a veneered version, to which I added marketry, this all included about an extra year to finish the construction (I had to learn both “trades” from books at that time).
After a year of more or less intense enjoyment, professional pressures suppressed virtually all paying until about 8-10 years after official retirement in 2004 (three and half decades), whence I took daily about two hours for practice with the excuse that memorizing all pieces would aid my brain into a higher age; it did, but the retention period has shortened by about a factor of ten by now, requiring almost daily repeats of pieces to prevail forgetting details. Going through Covid right now, which affects my memory, hopefully only a transition.
For most readers this is probably a long epistle. In case you are, as I am, interested in how people are led to baroque music, there is a still longer description in the first appendix of the link https://oralhistories.library.caltech.edu/305/4/Knauss_OHO_Final.pdf, Page 118.