Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Robert Howarth

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Rob was already studying piano at age 6 when he first encountered a harpsichord. He was a new member of a choir in Norwich and his choirmaster Kenneth Ryder was very keen on baroque music and taught his uncle the harpsichord, who had just recently purchased one. The instrument fascinated young Rob, and he carried on studying the piano but switched to harpsichord when he reached his A-Levels. Rob is also fascinated about why, when, and how a composer set about writing the music that they did, and he’s always tried to understand and reflect that in the way he performs; the sound of early instruments also resonated strongly with him, and they cater well to his obsession with different tunings and temperaments. His instrument at the moment is a copy of an Italian Grimaldi harpsichord called “Lily”. The best thing about playing in the OAE for Rob is being surrounded by like-minded professionals who care so much about the music and the way it’s played, and convincing audiences that it’s the best music in the world, ever. Before a concert, he can be found watching cartoons or listening to comedy podcasts to take his mind off of what could possibly go wrong, and outside of music he enjoys having fun with his kids and sleeping. If he hadn’t been a professional musician, he says he would have been a very keen amateur one!

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