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Mimi S Waitzman

Mimi Waitzman was appointed part-time Deputy Keeper of Musical Instruments at the Horniman Museum and Gardens in 2009, and assumed the role on a full-time basis in 2013.

In 2010, Mimi co-curated the Art of Harmony, a joint exhibition of instruments from the Horniman and the V&A and is now lead curator of At Home With Music, a display exploring domestic keyboard instruments which opened in the Museum’s Music Gallery in January 2014.

Born in the USA, Mimi studied Music History and the Harpsichord at McGill University in Montreal. She later completed my graduate work at the University of Michigan where she became research assistant at the extensive Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments.

In 1981, Mimi helped found a partnership in the UK, making, repairing and supplying early keyboard instruments. Having gained experience in their restoration, maintenance and conservation, she took on the curatorship of a National Trust collection of early keyboard instruments at Fenton House in North London, a part-time post held for 28 years.

Mimi is the UK editor of book reviews for the Galpin Society Journal; Chairman, Musical Instrument Subject Specialist Network (MISSN); CIMCIM, member of musical instrument conservation working group and a member of the British Clavichord Society.

Research interests

  • The aesthetics behind the object: why do instruments of a particular place and time, sound, look and function as they do?
  • The 19th and 20th-century revival of interest in early music, with a particular focus on Dolmetsch.
  • Philosophies of collecting: public vs. private
  • Early keyboard instruments of all types and their repertoire.
  • Practical and theoretical tuning systems for early keyboard instruments.
  • The impact of environmental conditions on tensioned keyboard instruments.

Recent conference presentations

  • September, 2013. Musical Instrument Subject Specialist Network (MISSN) Study Day. Display and Care of Instruments in Historic Houses.
  • April, 2013. University of Delaware. Keyboard instrument conference at the Flint Collection. Chacun à son Goût: Late 18th-century Taste in Keyboard Instruments.
  • June, 2012. Montreal. Autour du clavier d'autrefois: the Legacy of Kenneth Gilbert. The Challenges of Caring for a Playing Collection.
  • May, 2012. New York City. Joint conference of CIMCIM and AMIS. Towards an Aesthetic of the late 18th-Century English Harpsichord.
  • October, 2011. London. The Use and Identification of Early Keyboard Temperaments. The Fundamentals of Early Keyboard Temperaments and their Appropriate Use.
  • July, 2011. London. MISSN Study Day, two presentations. 1.  Caring for Early Keyboard Instruments at Fenton House. And 2. Pitch Monitoring Keyboard Instruments at the Horniman Study Centre: a Means of Tracking Condition?

Publications

  • Review of 'Aspects of Harpsichord Making in the British Isles', Galpin Society Journal, 2012.
  • Taming Artistic Temperaments: Keyboard Tuning for Musicians. A series of three multi-media articles for the Early Music Today magazine, 2009.
  • Early Keyboard Instruments, The Benton Fletcher Collection at Fenton House, The National Trust, London: 2003.
  • Contributor to: Care of Historic Musical Instruments, ed. Robert L. Barclay, Ottawa: Canadian Conservation Institute, London: Museums and Galleries Commission, Edinburgh: CIMCIM, 1997.
  • Care of… [Regular Maintenance of your Keyboard: Guidelines for players, a series of three articles.] The Harpsichord and Fortepiano Magazine, Vol.5 No.1 Oct. 1994; Vol.5 No.2 Apr. 1995; Vol.5 No.3 Oct. 1995.
  • Review of 'Ruckers: A Harpsichord and Virginal Building Tradition', by G. O’Brien, Galpin Society Journal, 1994.
  • From 'Ancient Musicland' to Authenticity, a study of the Benton Fletcher Collection Archive, Music and Musicians, Vol. 37 No.3, Nov. 1988.