Live music events celebrate the restoration of historic keyboards at the Horniman

Three historical keyboard instruments from the former Finchcocks Musical Museum have been restored to playing condition, thanks to National Lottery funding.

They will be the centre pieces of In the Company of Finchcocks, a three day celebration at the Horniman Museum and Gardens marking the instruments’ installation into its acclaimed Music Gallery and their inclusion in its enhanced live music programming.

Between Wednesday 11 and Friday 13 September, eminent early keyboard players and performers will present two concerts, a masterclass and an exclusive gallery tour, allowing visitors to learn about and hear these rare instruments brought to life once more.

The instruments are:

  • A rare surviving example of a signed Neapolitan virginals by Onofrio Guarracino, 1668;
  • A beautifully-preserved square piano by Adam Beyer, London, 1777; and
  • A handsome English chamber organ, possibly by Joseph Beloudy, London, c.1800.

The In the Company of Finchcocks programme of events includes:

  • ‘Music for the list’ning soul’ – a concert by the distinguished duo Helen Charlston (mezzo-soprano) and Terence Charlston (virginals and square piano).  The programme will feature a wide variety of music, from Monteverdi, Frescobaldi and Barbara Strozzi to Handel, Elisabetta de Gambarini and Haydn.
    Wednesday 11 September, 7.15-9pm. Tickets £10.
  • An organ masterclass where visitors can hear aspiring professional organists and early keyboard musicians perform their chosen repertoire and receive instruction from acclaimed organist and teacher, Stephen Farr.
    Thursday 12 September, 2-5pm. Playing participants: £20, register online. Free to auditors, no ticket required.
  • An exclusive musical tour of the Music Gallery featuring demonstrations of the newly restored instruments together with the previously restored 1772 Kirckman harpsichord, led by renowned music director and early keyboard player, Steven Devine.
    Friday 13 September, 3-4pm. Tickets £5. Spaces are strictly limited – early booking is advised.

Visitors will be able to get a preview of the instruments being played at the Horniman’s popular Hear it Live! series of free public recitals held each Thursday from 18 July from 3.30-4pm in the Music Gallery.

It is a great privilege to be able to bring these precious representatives of the Finchcocks’ legacy to the Horniman’s Music Gallery where they now take on a new life in the context of our world-wide collection. Here, they will contribute to the creation of new research opportunities for students, musicians and specialists, and to an increasingly frequent, vibrant and diverse programme of live events for all to enjoy.

We are thrilled that these four distinguished musicians, Steven Devine, Terence Charlston, Helen Charlston and Stephen Farr are able to join us In the Company of Finchcocks to help celebrate the instruments’ restorations and installation. These important developments which enhance our display and live music programming have been made possible through the generous support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Mimi Waitzman, Deputy Keeper of Musical Instruments

The keyboards are an important addition to the Horniman’s internationally renowned collection of musical instruments and were acquired at auction following Finchcocks’ closure in 2016.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund grant also enabled the Horniman to conserve, document and install the instruments as part of a four-year project and offers the museum this exciting opportunity to expand its existing live performance programme. Future events over the coming year include an early keyboard competition, further concerts and masterclasses and a specialist musical instrument conference.

The keyboards will be on public display in the Horniman’s acclaimed Music Gallery from July 2019. Entry to the Horniman, the Music Gallery and to Hear it Live! is free. In the Company of Finchcocks takes place from Wednesday 11 to Friday 13 September.