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Ralph Kirkpatrick

Ralph Kirkpatrick: Letters of the American Harpsichordist and Scholar

Ralph Kirkpatrick
Edited by Meredith Kirkpatrick
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 204
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  • Book Info
    Ralph Kirkpatrick
    Book Description:

    This collection of letters to and from the eminent harpsichordist, scholar, and early music pioneer Ralph Kirkpatrick provides a portrait of the musician from the beginning of his career in Paris in the 1930s to its end in the early 1980s, offering new insights into his work and scholarship. The volume contains letters to his family from Europe as well as correspondence with harpsichord makers, performers, and composers, including Nadia Boulanger, Alexander Schneider, John Kirkpatrick, Elliott Carter, Henry Cowell, John Challis, Kenneth Gilbert, Serge Koussevitsky, and Vincent Persichetti. In addition, two former students of Kirkpatrick, the guitarist Eliot Fisk and the harpsichordist Mark Kroll, write about their experiences studying with Kirkpatrick in a foreword and an afterword. The volume also includes a bibliography of publications by and about the musician, as well as a discography. Meredith Kirkpatrick is a librarian and bibliographer at Boston University and is the niece of Ralph Kirkpatrick.

    eISBN: 978-1-58046-861-9
    Subjects: Music, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword: “The Glowing of Such Fire”—A Tribute to Ralph Kirkpatrick
    (pp. vii-xii)
    Eliot Fisk

    I first met Ralph Kirkpatrick forty years ago, on a blustery winter day in February 1974. Of course, I had been aware of him for years. His Bach recordings dominated all the record stores I used to haunt, and his groundbreaking musicological work had revolutionized critical response to Scarlatti. Ralph was also a “fellow” of my Yale residential college, Jonathan Edwards, and I had heard him perform there once or twice in the good-sounding dining hall where I took most of my meals.

    I remember that in one of those dining room recitals Ralph performed the CouperinOrdre, which includes...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    Ralph Kirkpatrick, eminent harpsichordist and scholar, was one of the most influential figures in the revival of the harpsichord in the twentieth century. He was also an important figure in the reevaluation of baroque performance practices that began in the 1930s and 1940s. He performed not only on the harpsichord but on the clavichord and fortepiano as well. He played the modern piano for pleasure and occasionally in performance. He was known especially for his performances of Bach and Scarlatti, but he also performed and recorded music by, among others, Mozart, Rameau, Couperin, Byrd, and Purcell. He was very interested...

  6. Part One: Family

    • Chapter One Selected Letters to Family
      (pp. 9-34)

      Ralph Kirkpatrick was born on June 10, 1911, in North Leominster, Massachusetts, into an academic family. His father, Edwin Asbury Kirkpatrick, taught psychology. He can be seen, along with Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, in the famous 1909 photograph of the participants in a Clark University psychology conference that brought Freud to the United States for the first time. Ralph was the youngest of four children and had two sisters and a brother. His mother, who was his first piano teacher, died in 1927, and his father remarried the following year. Ralph was close to his stepmother. When he traveled...

  7. Part Two: Friends, Colleagues, and Other Correspondence

    • Chapter Two Nadia Boulanger
      (pp. 37-41)

      Nadia Boulanger (1887–1979) was a French composer, conductor, organist, and renowned teacher. She entered the Paris Conservatoire at age ten, studying harmony and composition. She also studied organ privately with Louis Vierne¹ and Félix Alexandre Guilmant.² She was appointed to the faculty of the École Normale de Musique, where she taught from 1920 to 1957. She was one of the first faculty members appointed to the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau in 1921, and she became the director in 1948. She taught many of the foremost twentieth-century American composers and performers, who went to Paris to study with her. Her...

    • Chapter Three Alexander Mackay-Smith
      (pp. 42-51)

      Alexander Mackay-Smith (1903–98) was a lawyer, author of books on equine sports, violinist and chamber musician, and music collector. He accumulated a large collection of music scores, monographs, printed library catalogs, musicological journals, bibliographies, and reference works, which he donated to the University of Virginia Music Library in 1946. The collection’s strength was in contemporary editions of eighteenth-century instrumental music, particularly chamber music. It is clear from the letters that Alexander had commissioned RK to purchase items for him while he was in Paris. RK also played chamber music at Mackay-Smith’s home, and it appears that Mackay-Smith and his...

    • Chapter Four Wanda Landowska
      (pp. 52-53)

      Wanda Landowska (1879–1959) was a Polish-French keyboard player and composer and an important figure in the revival of the harpsichord in the twentieth century. In 1925 she established the École de Musique Ancienne in Saint-Leula-Forêt outside of Paris, and students from the United States and elsewhere came to France to study with her. She left Paris in 1940 to escape the Nazis and shortly thereafter moved to the United States. She found a home in Lakeville, Connecticut, where she continued performing, teaching, and recording.

      RK went to France in 1931–32 on a John Knowles Paine Fellowship to study...

    • Chapter Five John Challis
      (pp. 54-70)

      John Challis (1907–74) was one of the first American harpsichord and clavichord makers. He studied the techniques of harpsichord making with Arnold Dolmetsch in England. When he returned to the United States in 1930, he established a workshop in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He later moved his shop to Detroit and then to New York City. One of his goals was to develop a harpsichord that would withstand the rigors of travel and temperature change. To accomplish this, he ultimately used aluminum rather than wood for the frame, as well as for other parts of the instrument. Ralph Kirkpatrick first contacted...

    • Chapter Six Serge Koussevitzky
      (pp. 71-72)

      Serge Koussevitzky (1874–1951) was a Russian-American conductor, composer, and double bassist. He conducted the Boston Symphony from 1924 to 1949 and was well-known for commissioning many contemporary works for orchestra. RK first wrote to Koussevitzky in May 1934 to introduce himself, and the conductor subsequently engaged him to play in the Boston Symphony Orchestra Bach-Handel Pension Fund Festival in May 1935. He also played in a pension fund concert in April 1944.

      May 1, 1934

      My dear Doctor Koussevitsky,

      In the hope that it may be possible next season for me to perform with you one of the Bach...

    • Chapter Seven Oliver Strunk
      (pp. 73-75)

      William Oliver Strunk (1901–1980) was an American musicologist who, at the beginning of his career, worked as a librarian in the Music Division of the Library of Congress (1928–37). He became head of the Music Division in 1934. In 1937, he became a faculty member at Princeton University and taught there until 1950. He served as president of the Music Library Association and was a founding member of the American Musicological Society.

      August 14, 1935

      My dear Strunk:

      Mr. Copley has informed me of the date for the broadcast of the “Musical Offering.” I wonder if you could...

    • Chapter Eight Roger Sessions
      (pp. 76-77)

      Roger Sessions (1896–1985) was a composer and professor of music at Princeton and at the University of California at Berkeley. Kirkpatrick met him in Paris in 1932 and saw him fairly frequently there. Nadia Boulanger had provided RK with a letter of introduction. Sessions arranged for RK to play the clavichord for a group of his friends and offered suggestions about other concert possibilities. As the letter indicates, he began composing a harpsichord concerto for Kirkpatrick in 1935 while in California but never completed it.

      August 17, 1935

      Dear Ralph—

      I have begun the harpsichord concerto—just the sketches,...

    • Chapter Nine Harold Spivacke
      (pp. 78-81)

      Harold Spivacke (1904–77) succeeded Oliver Strunk as chief of the Music Division of the Library of Congress in 1937, remaining in that position until 1972. RK communicated with him about manuscripts, particularly those related to Domenico Scarlatti. Spivacke was also instrumental in arranging concerts for RK and Alexander Schneider at the Library of Congress.

      August 5, 1939

      Dear Dr. Spivacke,

      Many thanks for your letter and for the information about “The World Turned Upside Down” and the copy of Kromer’s letter, all of which just reached me this morning. Here are the necessary comments on his letter:

      1. It would...

    • Chapter Ten Steinway & Sons
      (pp. 82-82)

      Steinway & Sons piano company was founded in 1853 in New York City. Many consider Steinway pianos the best in the world. RK owned a Steinway and often played music of Liszt and other composers for pleasure when at home. He recorded Mozart piano concertos on the modern piano and occasionally played the piano in concerts as well. I remember a concert in New York where he played the harpsichord, the fortepiano, and the modern piano.

      December 2, 1939

      Dear Sirs:

      Many apologies for such a belated answer to your letter of February 16 which just turned up in my files....

    • Chapter Eleven New York Times
      (pp. 83-85)

      RK wrote the following two letters to the music editor of theNew York Times, but I found no evidence that they had been published. I thought the letters would be of interest because of their detailed musical content.

      January 21, 1942

      Dear Sir:

      This is an advance fan letter in the hope of helping one of the greatest composers of all time to emerge from counterpoint textbooks and history surveys into the realm of sound. Orlando Lassus,¹ at last, is being given a whole program by the Dessof choirs. For years I have looked forward to this event, and...

    • Chapter Twelve Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge
      (pp. 86-88)

      Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge (1864–1953) was an American pianist and philanthropist, notable for her sponsorship of chamber music and for commissioning compositions from contemporary composers in the United States and abroad. She established the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation, in partnership with the Library of Congress, in 1925 to promote and advance chamber music through commissions and public concerts. In 1925 she also helped finance construction of the Coolidge Auditorium in the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress to provide a venue for the performance of chamber music. RK played in this auditorium numerous times, as soloist and with the...

    • Photographs
      (pp. None)
    • Chapter Thirteen John Kirkpatrick
      (pp. 89-94)

      John Kirkpatrick (1905–91) was an American pianist and scholar who was instrumental in promoting the music of the American composer Charles Ives. He is probably best known for his performances of the Concord Sonata; he gave the New York premiere of the work at Town Hall in 1939. He was also asked to catalog the manuscripts of the composer that had been given to the Yale Music Library in 1956.A Temporary Mimeographed Catalogue of the Music Manuscripts and Related Materials of Charles Edward Ives, 1874–1954was published in 1960

      John Kirkpatrick joined the faculty of Yale University...

    • Chapter Fourteen Alexander Schneider
      (pp. 95-99)

      Alexander Schneider (1908–93) was a violinist, conductor, and teacher who played with RK in a violin-harpsichord duo in the 1940s and early 1950s. They performed at the Library of Congress and elsewhere under the patronage of Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge and toured the country giving recitals. RK and Schneider also made several recordings of Mozart’s sonatas for violin and harpsichord. Schneider was a member of the Budapest Quartet for many years, although he left the quartet in 1944 and rejoined it in 1955. He played in numerous other chamber groups, including the Albeneri Trio, the Schneider Quartet, and the New...

    • Chapter Fifteen Otto Luening
      (pp. 100-101)

      Otto Luening (1900–96) was an American composer, flutist, conductor, and teacher. He taught at the Eastman School of Music, University of Arizona, Bennington College, Barnard College, and, from 1949 to 1970, at Columbia University. He served as Columbia’s principal instructor in composition and was instrumental in establishing a doctoral program in composition. In 1958, he and Vladimir Ussachevsky founded the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, now the Computer Music Center at Columbia University. It is the oldest center for electro-acoustic music in the United States. He was a noted opera conductor and conducted the premieres of Gian Carlo Menotti’s¹The...

    • Chapter Sixteen Donald Boalch
      (pp. 102-104)

      Donald Boalch (1914–99) was the author of a highly regarded book titledMakers of the Harpsichord and Clavichord 1440–1840. It was first published in 1956; a second edition, also edited by Boalch, came out in 1974. A third edition, edited by Charles Mould, was published in 1995. Boalch apparently wrote to RK asking about the availability of Kirkman and Shudi harpsichords in the United States. He also asked about potential publishers for his book. RK recommended Oxford University Press, which, in fact, did publish Boalch’s book under the Clarendon Press imprint.

      August 22, 1947

      Dear Mr. Boalch,


    • Chapter Seventeen John Hamilton
      (pp. 105-106)

      John Hamilton taught organ, harpsichord, and music theory at the University of Oregon from 1959 to 1985. He received a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1946 and his M Mus and DMA from the University of Southern California in 1956 and 1966, respectively. In addition to teaching, he performed throughout Europe and the United States. After graduating from college and before getting his master’s degree, Hamilton had apparently written to RK for advice about harpsichords. RK wrote this rather extensive and detailed letter in reply.

      October 20, 1948

      Dear Mr. Hamilton:

      I am sorry to reply so...

    • Chapter Eighteen Thornton Wilder
      (pp. 107-109)

      Thornton Wilder (1897–1975) was an American novelist and playwright who explored the connection between the commonplace and the cosmic dimensions of human experience. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his novelThe Bridge of San Luis Reyand two additional Pulitzers for his playsOur TownandThe Skin of Our Teeth. The work of this versatile artist—he was also a successful adaptor and translator, a librettist, actor, lecturer, teacher, and screenwriter—is still widely read and produced today. Thornton Wilder and RK were personal friends.

      April 7, 1949

      Dear Ralph,

      Very proud, very pleased that you got...

    • Chapter Nineteen Lincoln Kirstein
      (pp. 110-110)

      Lincoln Kirstein (1907–96) was an arts patron, writer, editor, and ballet company director. He worked closely with George Balanchine and founded a number of ballet companies with him, including the American Ballet Caravan and the New York City Ballet. He served as general director of the New York City Ballet from its founding in 1948 until he retired in 1989. He was the author of numerous books, essays, poems, and libretti. He and RK knew each other at Harvard in the late 1920s. In 1949 RK wrote him a mostly complimentary letter after seeing a production of Stravinsky’sOrpheus....

    • Chapter Twenty Arthur Mendel
      (pp. 111-111)

      Arthur Mendel (1905–79) was a music scholar, editor, and conductor. He graduated from Harvard in 1925 and studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris from 1925 to 1927. He served as an editor at G. Schirmer, the American Musicological Society, and Associated Music Publishers and prepared editions of a number of baroque compositions, including Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. John Passion. He conducted the Cantata Singers in New York and taught at the Dalcroze School of Music and the Diller-Quaile School. In 1952 he was appointed professor of music at Princeton University and taught there until his retirement in 1973. RK’s...

    • Chapter Twenty-One Edward Steuremann
      (pp. 112-113)

      Edward Steuremann (1892–1964) was a Polish-American pianist, composer, and teacher. He studied piano with Vilém Kurz¹ and Ferrucio Busoni² and composition with Englebert Humperdinck³ and Arnold Schoenberg.⁴ He formed a close professional association with Schoenberg and performed in many of the premieres of Schoenberg’s works. Steuremann moved to the United States in 1938 and joined the Juilliard faculty in 1952. He taught there until his death in 1964. His students included Alfred Brendel,⁵ Lorin Hollander,⁶ and Theodor Adorno.⁷ Compositions he wrote after moving to the United States included a piano trio, a string quartet, several pieces for orchestra, and...

    • Chapter Twenty-Two Frank Martin
      (pp. 114-115)

      Frank Martin (1890–1974) was a Swiss composer, teacher, harpsichordist, and pianist. He was a professor of chamber music at the Geneva Conservatory of Music and also taught improvisation and rhythm theory at the Institut Jacques-Dalcroze. Martin composed a number of well-known works, including the Petite Symphonie Concertante (1944–45) and the Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments, Timpani, Percussion, and String Orchestra (1949). He composed a harpsichord concerto in 1951–52 for Isabelle Nef.¹ RK wrote to Martin in 1952 asking about the concerto and expressing an interest in performing it. However, Nef had exclusive rights to perform it through...

    • Chapter Twenty-Three Olin Downes
      (pp. 116-117)

      (Edwin) Olin Downes (1886–1955) was a music critic for theBoston Post(1906–24) and theNew York Times(1924–55). He was also chairman of the Metropolitan Opera Quiz, which was broadcast during intermissions of Saturday afternoon opera matinees. Downes was a friend of Vladimir Horowitz and wrote his program notes for ten years. He was also acquainted with RK and, at Horowitz’s request, asked RK whether he would meet with or phone Horowitz to discuss Domenico Scarlatti. I am not sure whether they did meet in person, but I believe there were phone conversations between the two...

    • Chapter Twenty-Four Albert Fuller
      (pp. 118-119)

      Albert Fuller (1926–2007) was a harpsichordist, organist, and conductor who studied with RK at Yale in the early 1950s. He also studied music theory with Paul Hindemith. Fuller graduated from Yale with a master’s degree in music in 1954. He established a solo career as a harpsichordist and made a number of well-regarded recordings. Fuller was appointed a professor at the Juilliard School in 1964, and in 1972 he founded the Aston Magna Foundation, which included an early-music ensemble that he conducted from the harpsichord. He broke with Aston Magna in 1983 and in 1985 founded the Helicon Foundation,...

    • Chapter Twenty-Five Elliott Carter
      (pp. 120-122)

      Elliott Carter (1908–2012) was a renowned American composer who composed almost until his death at 103. Carter studied English as an undergraduate at Harvard before deciding to pursue composition. He received his master’s degree from Harvard, studying with Walter Piston,¹ Edward Burlingame Hill, Archibald T. Davison,² and Gustav Holst.³ He had become friends with Charles Ives before attending Harvard and received advice from him. In 1932, Carter went to Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger; he stayed until 1935. After returning to New York, he took a position as music director of Lincoln Kirstein’s American Ballet Caravan and wrote...

    • Chapter Twenty-Six Quincy Porter
      (pp. 123-123)

      Quincy Porter (1897–1966) was an American composer and teacher. He taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Vassar before joining the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music. He was dean of the faculty from 1938 to 1942 and became director of the New England Conservatory in 1942. He was appointed to the faculty at Yale, his alma mater, in 1946 and taught there until his retirement in 1965. His compositions included two symphonies, nine string quartets, several quintets, and concertos for harpsichord, viola, and two pianos. The latter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1954. His Concerto...

    • Chapter Twenty-Seven Vincent Persichetti
      (pp. 124-125)

      Vincent Persichetti (1915–87) was an American composer, teacher, pianist, and writer. He earned a master’s degree and a doctorate from the Philadelphia Conservatory and a conducting diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music. He taught at the Philadelphia Conservatory and at Juilliard, where he became chairman of the composition department in 1963. He wrote extensively for the piano but also composed a number of works for wind bands and other ensembles. He composed ten sonatas for harpsichord; RK performed the first movement of the first sonata on his recital of twentieth-century music at Berkeley in 1961. Persichetti sent RK...

    • Chapter Twenty-Eight Henry Cowell
      (pp. 126-127)

      Henry Cowell (1897–1965) was an American composer, pianist, teacher, and writer. He was an influential figure among avant-garde composers and was part of the ultra-modernist movement. He founded the New Music Society of California in 1925 and led a group of composers in founding the Pan-American Association of Composers in 1928. He established the quarterly publicationNew Musicin 1927, which was notable for publishing many new scores, including works by Charles Ives. He taught at the New School for Social Research in New York and also taught privately. His students included George Gershwin, Lou Harrison, and John Cage....

    • Chapter Twenty-Nine Mel Powell
      (pp. 128-129)

      Mel Powell (1923–98) was an American composer, jazz pianist, and teacher. He studied with Paul Hindemith at Yale and taught at the Mannes College of Music and Queens College. He joined the Yale faculty in 1957 and was chairman of the composition department, as well as director of the electronic music studio, until 1969. He moved to California, where he founded the music school at the California Institute of the Arts in 1969. Powell served as provost of the institute from 1972 to 1976 and continued to teach there into the 1990s. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in...

    • Chapter Thirty Bengt Hambraeus
      (pp. 130-130)

      Bengt Hambraeus (1928–2000) was a Swedish composer, organist, musicologist, and teacher. He was best known for his compositions for organ, but he also composed several operas as well as a number of orchestral, choral, and chamber works. He taught at McGill University from 1972 to 1995. Although he wrote the Concerto for Organ and Harpsichord in 1947 (revised in 1951), I found no evidence that he completed the harpsichord concerto mentioned in RK’s letter to him.

      March 16, 1961

      Dear Mr. Hambraeus:

      Your letter finally reached me on my return from a long tour and I hasten to answer....

    • Chapter Thirty-One Alec Hodson
      (pp. 131-131)

      Alec Hodson (1900–1986) was a British harpsichord and virginal maker. He maintained a workshop for forty years before retiring from the profession in the 1960s. He was coauthor of an article inThe Musical Times(May 1947) titled “Defining the Virginal.” Apparently, he wrote a letter to RK asking whether he could quote statements RK made at a Royal Musical Association meeting.

      March 18, 1961

      Dear Mr. Hodson:

      Your letter of October 24 has remained shamefully unanswered through a winter of almost constant travel on my part, and I hasten at this late date to undertake to make amends....

    • Chapter Thirty-Two Paul Fromm
      (pp. 132-132)

      Paul Fromm (1906–87) was a wine merchant and classical music patron. He was born in Germany but moved to the United States in 1938, where he founded several wine-importing companies in Chicago. In 1952 he established the Fromm Music Foundation to provide support for composers of contemporary music. Hundreds of composers have received commissions from the foundation, which is now based at Harvard University. Elliott Carter was one of Fromm’s earliest advisers, and he received support from Fromm for the composition of the Double Concerto for Harpsichord and Piano. RK played in the premiere of that work in 1961....

    • Chapter Thirty-Three Wolfgang Zuckermann
      (pp. 133-134)

      Wolfgang Zuckermann (1922–) is a harpsichord builder, author, social activist, and bookstore owner. He established a harpsichord workshop in New York and in 1959 developed a harpsichord kit that allowed individuals to assemble their own harpsichords. These kits were widely sold and continue to be sold under the Zuckermann name. In 1969 he sold the business and moved to England and then to France, where he established a bookstore in Avignon. He retired from that business in 2012. He left the United States because of his opposition to the Vietnam War. Apparently, he wrote to RK in 1966 asking...

    • Chapter Thirty-Four Kenneth Gilbert
      (pp. 135-139)

      Kenneth Gilbert (1931–) is a Canadian harpsichordist, organist, musicologist, and teacher. He has taught at a number of universities and conservatories in Canada, the United States, and Europe; has concertized widely, and has made many recordings. He is the editor of a highly regarded edition of the complete harpsichord sonatas of François Couperin, and he also edited the 555 harpsichord sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti. Gilbert communicated with RK about the Scarlatti edition, and they exchanged a number of detailed letters about it. RK indicated that he was ready to help Gilbert in any way he could, including providing microfilm...

    • Chapter Thirty-Five Mr. and Mrs. George Young
      (pp. 140-140)

      Mr. and Mrs. Young were RK’s neighbors in Guilford, Connecticut. RK wrote this charming letter to them in the name of “Flora,” the French double harpsichord built by William Dowd in 1966.

      February 14, 1973

      Dear Mr. and Mrs. Young:

      Please forgive this dictated letter, but I am only a harpsichord, and although people say that I can both talk and sing, I have never learned to write. But Mr. Kirkpatrick thinks, and I agree, that I should thank you for your hospitality last week while I was being fitted for my traveling costume. I much appreciated the warmth and...

    • Chapter Thirty-Six Colin Tilney
      (pp. 141-142)

      Colin Tilney (1933–) is a British harpsichordist, clavichordist, fortepianist, and teacher. He studied music and modern languages at Cambridge University, graduating in 1959. His teacher at Cambridge was Mary Potts, and later he also studied with Gustav Leonhardt in Amsterdam. In 1979 he moved to Canada to teach at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto; in 2002 he moved to British Columbia, where he is an adjunct professor at the University of Victoria. He has made over thirty recordings, which include works by Bach, Scarlatti, Locke, Purcell, Frescobaldi, Mozart, and C. P. E. Bach. He is known for...

    • Chapter Thirty-Seven Oliver Daniel
      (pp. 143-144)

      Oliver Daniel (1911–90) was an arts administrator, pianist, radio producer, and author. He joined CBS in 1942 and produced and directed a number of music programs for the company, including20th-Century Concert HallandInvitation to Music. From 1954 to 1977 he was director of the concert music division of BMI. In 1954 he cofounded Composers Recordings, Inc. (CRI) with the composers Otto Luening and Douglas Moore.¹ For many years he promoted the works of contemporary composers, including Charles Ives and Henry Cowell.² In this letter, RK reminds Daniel that he was responsible for Henry Cowell writingSet of...

    • Chapter Thirty-Eight Eliot Fisk
      (pp. 145-149)

      Eliot Fisk (1954–) is a highly regarded American classical guitarist. He was the last pupil of the Spanish guitarist Andrès Segovia, and he also studied with Oscar Ghiglia and Ralph Kirkpatrick. He made his solo debut at Alice Tully Hall in New York in 1976 and won the International Classical Guitar Competition in Gargnano, Italy, in 1980. Fisk taught at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne (1982–89) and was appointed to the faculty of the Salzburg Mozarteum in 1989. He also teaches at New England Conservatory in Boston. He has appeared throughout the world in concerto, recital, and...

    • Chapter Thirty-Nine Wilton Dillon
      (pp. 150-150)

      Wilton Dillon is a Senior Scholar Emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution. He worked at the Smithsonian for forty years, where he was the director of symposia and seminars and the founder of the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies. He received a BA in anthropology at UC Berkeley and a PhD in anthropology at Columbia University. He studied with Margaret Mead and Claude Levi-Strauss. Dillon has written or edited a number of books and articles. He and RK were personal friends.

      September 29, 1977

      Dear Wilton,

      It was good to get your postcard. Ever since that delightful late afternoon lunch in 1974...

    • Chapter Forty William Dowd
      (pp. 151-152)

      William Dowd (1922–2008) was an American harpsichord maker who specialized in building historically authentic instruments. Dowd apprenticed with John Challis, the leading US harpsichord maker in the 1940s. In 1949, he set up a workshop in Boston, Massachusetts, with his friend Frank Hubbard. The partnership ended in 1958, and Dowd established his own workshop in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The workshop produced approximately twenty instruments a year until Dowd closed it in 1988. From 1971 to 1985, Dowd maintained another workshop in Paris with Reinhard von Nagel. These workshops primarily built two-manual harpsichords based on French prototypes by the Blanchets, Hemsch,¹...

    • Chapter Forty-One Meredith Kirkpatrick
      (pp. 153-154)

      I decided to end the compilation with RK’s letter to me because it was one of the last letters he wrote to family that had musical content. Although he indicated in his letter that he was not going to leave his house anytime soon, he later made arrangements to attend a concert of the Boston Symphony with me at Symphony Hall in April 1984. I don’t believe he had been in Symphony Hall since he had played there in the 1930s and 1940s, and he was looking forward to being in the hall again and hearing the Boston Symphony. However,...

  8. Afterword: Lessons with Kirkpatrick
    (pp. 155-162)
    Mark Kroll

    I first heard Ralph Kirkpatrick play in 1961. It was also the first time I had heard the harpsichord live and up close. Both were life-changing experiences. Up to that point, I was a fire-breathing, gung-ho, New York City pianist who wanted nothing more than to play Liszt and Rachmaninoff like Horowitz or Byron Janis.¹ But after hearing Kirkpatrick play Bach on the harpsichord, I decided to make a 180-degree turn and devote myself to the instrument and its music.

    I needed a harpsichord teacher to get me started, of course, and I was lucky to find an excellent one...

  9. Appendixes

    • Appendix A. Publications by and about Ralph Kirkpatrick
      (pp. 163-172)
    • Appendix B. Ralph Kirkpatrick Discography
      (pp. 173-176)
  10. Index
    (pp. 177-186)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 187-187)