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Becket collection donated to the Royal Academy

Wed Mar 21 2012

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The Becket collection of period instruments, founded by long-time OAE supporter Elise Becket Smith, has been donated by its founder and her fellow trustees to the Royal Academy of Music. The collection was founded by Elise in 1998 to encourage and facilitate the study of historically informed performance, and now comprises 25 stringed instruments together with full brass, woodwind and percussion sections, and musicians who have worked with the collection include Margaret Faultless, Sir Roger Norrington and Laurence Cummings, all 3 of whom of course have strong ties to the OAE.

Margaret Faultless, OAE Leader and newly-appointed Head of Historical Performance at the Royal Academy said: ““The extraordinarily generous gift of the Becket Collection of instruments to the Academy is a wonderfully exciting development. It will give opportunities for performers throughout the institution to experience the significant relationship between repertoire (particularly that of the eighteenth
century) and the instruments for which it was composed, giving insights into the music itself and helping to inform interpretations.”

Find out more about he collection on the Royal Academy of Music website.

Above: Instruments from the collection: One original classical viola and one new (reproduction) baroque viola.
Below: Founder of the Becket Collection, Elise Becket Smith.


  • Wonderful stuff, but I ‘d just like to point out ( as a viola player!) that the illustration shows 2 VIOLAS, rather than violins! I know this because the one on the left used to belong to me..

    Annette isserlis Tue Apr 3 2012
  • Whoops! That’s quite a mistake Netty….we’ll sort that out ASAP!

    oae Tue Apr 3 2012