Kenneth Gilbert

Kenneth Gilbert, harpsichordist, organist, musicologist (b at Montréal 16 Dec 1931).

Kenneth Gilbert, harpsichordist, organist, musicologist (b at Montréal 16 Dec 1931). After winning the Québec government's Prix d'Europe for organ in 1953, Kenneth Gilbert moved to the forefront of virtuosity and scholarship. His new editions of early keyboard music, notably of Couperin's and Rameau's complete harpsichord works (1969-72), and Scarlatti's sonatas (from 1984) have won the admiration of musicologists worldwide. A strong advocate of classical organ design, he spearheaded the return to mechanical action in many new installations across Canada, beginning with Queen Mary Road United Church in Montréal.

Since 1965 Gilbert has performed almost exclusively on the harpsichord, appearing in North America and Europe as soloist, chamber musician and recitalist. International critics have praised highly his many records, among them the complete harpsichord works of Couperin (1970-71) and Rameau (1976), and J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations (1987). Through his editions, recordings and performance practice studies, Gilbert has been a leader in the Baroque music revival and particularly in its establishment as a viable and commercial success. Having taught at the Mozateum Academy in Salzburg and at the Hochschule für Musik, Stuttgart, he was named a full professor at the Conservatoire de Paris in 1988, the first Canadian to be so named. In addition to honours such as the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France and the Austrian Cross of Honour First Degree, Gilbert was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1986. Two years later he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Having earlier received an honorary doctorate from McGill University (1981) he received one from the University of Melbourne, Australia, in 2006. Presently he is Visiting Professor of harpsichord at the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music in London, as well as Adjunct Professor at McGill University.


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