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Welcome

Welcome to my website. In this times, there’s never been more urgency to staying in contact, sharing ideas, sharing music. If you would like to ask me anything, please use the contact form, and I will answer as soon as I can!

My project (14 films) goes live on the Metmuseum Website! 14 July 2023

 

‘Skærved is fully on top of even its most stratospheric technical challenges’ Gramophone Magazine

‘Peter Sheppard Skaerved clearly responds to the music’s communicative desires; it now has a conversational tone, now sings with the breathiness of a very human voice’ New York Times

If you want to support my work, you can go to my Patreon site, to become a patron:

https://www.patreon.com/sheppardskaerved?fan_landing=true

Shostakovich Trio with Caspar Vos and Leonard Elschenbroich. Menuhin Forum Bern. Gaia Festival 2023 (Director Gwendolyn Masin) Photo: Sarah Timar

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel

Please excuse the generic post: here is the link to my strange little YouTube channel. Over 600 things to hear and see there, grouped into various playlists, from 17th Century to Collaborating Composers. Subscribe here – there are regular additions! https://www.youtube.com/@PeterSheppardSkaervedviolin/videos

Here’s an example of what you will find

First look – Jim Aitchison ‘Aperture’ live Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens Posted 15 5 24

Working with young composers at the Purcell School – 8 5 2024

End of a great evening! Celebrating the work of 6 brilliant young composers at the Purcell School  plus music by Purcell., Mihailo Trandafilovski, Robert Saxton, Michael Small & Evis Sammoutis. The concert also include a new work by Vigo Kovacevic, a students a the Zagreb Academy of Music, where I have been leading a project this year!

End of the concert – 6 premieres! 8 5 24

May Day!

What else …?

Shop! Recordings and More

I have a large number of recordings (both discs and ‘dropcards’) for sale. To see the 100+ available recordings and to order direct, go to this links RECORDINGS FOR SALE 

Each month I will feature a disc – April’s is the newly released ‘The Kreutzer Effect’ – Solos and Quartets dedicated to me and my Quartet by Edward Cowie. If you order from me, I will add a live recording of Beethoven Sonatas and Variations, from concerts given in St Johns Smith Square with Aaron Shorr.

Just released: works by Edward Cowie, written for the members of my Kreutzer Quartet – April 2024

Delius – Lullaby for a Modern Baby 5 4 24

‘This is the only piece of Delius that I perform. The reason for this is intimately tied up with the very first time that I heard this piece. From the age of 12 until 18, I studied with the greatest of English violinists, Ralph Holmes, who died tragically young in 1984. Ralph remains for the authoritative violin voice for Delius’ works for violin. His extraordinary disc with Eric Fenby (Delius’ amanuensis) and the recording of the works for violin and orchestra, recorded only a few months before he died, set a new standard for these works, despite the extraordinary performances that preceded him, by Albert Sammons and Jean Pougnet. Never has the violin sounded more human, more alive, more fragile … and more mortal.

Shortly after I began studying with dear Ralph, he gave a 25th Anniversary performance at the Wigmore Hall, a programme which included a magisterial performance of Delius’ 3rd Sonata. The pianist Geoffrey Pratley, who was so kind to me in my teens, played. After Ralph’s sudden death, we gave memorial concerts, playing some of the repertoire he loved, particularly the Britten ‘Suite’ Op 6. But I would not presume to have played Delius.

But one thing remained in my mind. As an encore, Ralph announced ‘…and now, Delius’ ‘Lullaby for a Modern Baby’ – it says to be hummed or played…I think you will all prefer it if I play.’ I have never forgotten that 90 seconds of perfection.

Years later, Roderick Chadwick and I were preparing to give a concert at Edvard Grieg’s house in Bergen, ‘Troldhaugen’. We built the programme from pieces by Grieg’s friends – whose portraits surround his piano in the music room where we played, including, of course, Delius. For the first time, I played this Lullaby. And then we recorded this a few years later.

If you want to hear it done properly, there is one recording of Ralph playing it with the wonderful pianist-composer Peter Dickinson, who would became a great friend and collaborator of mine in later years. Peter left us in 2023.’

A New Pastoral – and friendship – 4 4 24

One of the most amazing things about collaboration, is how friendship is reflected in the music that emerges. I always think of Georg Muffat’s wonderful ‘Indissolubilis amicitia’ when I receive a piece like Robert Saxton’s latest miniature – sourced from the notes that can be extracted from Malene Sheppard Skaerved and my names, a gift to the two of us from Robert and Tessa Cahill. On stage recently, David Matthews referred to this kind of music making and sharing, as being like a diary, a journal of our lives and friendships. So here it is, at the desk, as domestic as possible, bringing grace to our home this morning.

Exciting new works from composers at the Purcell School  29 2 24

Together with my dear friend Robert Saxton, I am doing a collaborative project with the lovely composers The Purcell School – here’s a first listen two what one of them is doing, just recorded at the desk last night. A haunting new piece by Thomas McDonnell

 

Kreutzer Quartet at the BVMA 2024 Makers Day. Kings Place 25 2 24

After the concert – 14 violins, 7 cellos, 6 violas, multiple bows –Music by Beethoven, Sadie Harrison, Janacek, Saxton, Berkeley , de Machy or BVMA Makers Day
Joyful musicmaking with Neil Heyde Mihailo Trandafilovski Morgan Goff

My quartet is the resident ensemble for the British Violin Makers Association annual ‘Makers Day’ at Kings Place in London. This year, we tried out over 80 instruments, and chose 25 violins and a number of bows for our performance in the lovely concert hall. Bow- and Violinmakers are the lifeblood of what we do, and this is the most inspiring day to be part of – seeing how the artistry and imagination of makers of all ages illuminates the music of the past and present.

Inspired by a wonderful violin by Roger Hansell at  the British Violin Maker’s Association Maker’s day at Kings Place. Sadie Harrison’s exquisite ‘Same Strand’ was the perfect match!

On an overgrown path – Janacek transcribed by David Matthews 19 2 24

David Matthews has made delicate transcriptions of movements from ‘On an overgrown path’. Here’s ‘Good Night’ recorded on the phone in yesterday’s rehearsal. And the overgrown path that  and I were on in the hills behind Penzance on Friday

Return to the Paganini Violin!

My ‘Knowledge Exchange Violin’ project is about to rev up again, with films and concerts on two exciting violins in Genova. Here’s one of them!!!

with ‘il Cannone’, backstage at the Palazzo Tursi, Genova. 2007

In 2006, I asked David Gorton to write the first of a series of Caprices for solo violin. This ‘Rosetta Caprice’, was inspired by the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum, London, where it was premiered on the 1709 ‘Viotti’ Stradivari. However there was another inspiration: the work of Niccolo Paganini, and his extraordinary del Gesu ‘Il Cannone’ which the composer had encountered when Peter played it in London the year before.
In 2007, I played a set of the Gorton caprices, along with other pieces dedicated to him inspired by Paganini by David Matthews, Judith Bingham and George Rochberg, on the Paganini violin, at the the violin’s home, the Palazzo Tursi in Genova. This is part of that performance, given a particular wildness by the extraordinary voice of this storied violin. My dear friend and great photographer, Richard Bram, was there to photograph the violin in both cities.

Winter Ceramics – a masterpiece for piano and violin – 10-2-24

Today’s ‘live’ share – S?d?ka Özdil – K?? Seramikleri/ Winter Ceramics (1991) One of the first large scale pieces to be written for us, and as fascinating and unclassifiable as when we premiered it (in Holland in 1991!). This performance (audio from unusable video) was recorded in Turkey in, I think 2004, but I am not sure. Hoping that Aaron Shorr or the composer can remember!

Violin and electronics

A young composer asked me about great works for violin and electronics. My immediate response was this; I was lucky enough to work with Anthony Gilbert and this was one of the pieces on which we collaborated (although, obviously, it was not written for me)

From the archive – George Rochberg – ‘Pachelbel Varations’

In 2002 George asked me to make a version of his ‘Pachelbel Variations’ (6th Quartet). This is the result. If you visited George and Gene Rochberg’s home at Newtown Square, you might have noticed the blue poster for the concert, which they had framed, and hung in their lounge at Newtown Square, PA. Here is the resulting performance, which I gave in Zagreb that year.

 

Zwischen Leben und Tod

Music on the edge of the precipice: Roderick Chadwick and I play one of Michael Hersch‘s 22 movements from ‘Zwischen Leben und Tod’

Gottfried Finger Sonatas with Olwen Foulkes

There are moments when only the 1600s will do. Session outtakes of the glorious Gottfried Finger sonatas, with the inspired Olwen Foulkes – on our way to a release, at last!

Stradivari and Amati side by side – Baroque and modern 13-1-24

Side by side: another glimpse of the work at the Library of Congress – where I have been making films of very old and very new music on the amazing collection of violins. 17th century preludes on the (modern setup) ‘Ward’ Stradivari, and the (baroque setup) ‘Brookings’ Amati

Music for a dark winter morning 12 1 24

On this dark morning, we need Heine and Schumann, arranged by David Matthews

Music from the Ashmolean Museum

Here is the (first draft) of the documentary film that Malene Skawerved  and I made about the 1722 ‘Rode’ Stradivari at the Ashmolean Museum as part of my ‘Knowledge Exchange Violin’ project. There’s music by Telemann, Vilsmayr, Rousseau and more, a wonderful piece inspired by the violin by Michael Alec Rose and special insights from Colin Harrison,   curator at the museum.  

This will be branded etc and linked to the Ashmolean web-resources – this is just where we are!
As well as all the multifunctional material that we are developing for each of the institutions involved in the project, we are aiming at a similar 30-40 minute outcome for each/

The ‘Francesca’ Stradivari at the Metropolitan Museum 

Knowledge Exchange Violin films building at pace now. Here are Vilsmayr, Matteis, and Eccles on the Metropolitan Museum of Art 1693 ‘Francesca’ Stradivari in modern setup.

 

David Matthews Quartets in the Studio 

On December 4th, the Kreutzers went back into the studio with David Matthews’ 16th & 17th Quartets. It has been my joy to work with David since my 20s, and this cycle of works, which has been central to the quartet’s work for decades, is an extraordinary, ongoing, achievement. With Mihailo Trandafilovski, Morgan Goff, Neil Heyde. Listen to the unedited, post-recording ‘bolt-up’ of Quartet 17 here!

1700 Stradivari at the Library of Congress Washington DC

Just a glimpse of what I have been doing at the Library of Congress for my  Knowledge Exchange Violin project this autumn (find out more here)

On the Road in the USA – Knowledge Exchange Violin in Wisconsin – Minnesota – DC – New York – Connecticut – Illinois – Maryland!

I am in the midst of a welter of wonder – new music in the Midwest Fall colours, filming at the Library of Congress and Metropolitan  Museum just to start. Follow the adventure here  https://www.peter-sheppard-skaerved.com/?p=30925

 

Here is the lovely piece that David Hackbridge Johnson wrote for me last week, after seeing pictures of my walk to coffee along a back alley in River Falls Wisconsin. He finished the piece on the 18th, and the time difference (6 hours) meant that I was able to work on it intensely the same evening – and then could get it onto the programme for my lunchtime concert University of Wisconsin–River Falls on the 20th. And of course, the audience loved this delicate homage to their town – as, I think will you!
With thanks to Kris Tjornehoj for making such lively collaborations and inspirations possible!

 

19th October – Robin Holloway Solo Sonatina

Celebrating Robin Holloway’s birthday. One of his two tremendous works for violin alone

Premiering Robert Saxton’s Solo Sonata – Nicosia, London, Cambridge (October 4-13th)

It’s been a very busy week, and I will write about it more this weekend. But here’s a picture of the premiere of Robert Saxton’s ‘Sonata – Reflections in Time’ at the Pharos Contemporary Music Festival, Nicosia, on the 4th October

Can’t believe this was only just over a week ago! Premiering Robert Saxton’s Sonata The Shoe Factory By Pharos Arts Foundation on the 4th. Last night’s Cambridge performance was the third performance! @mellifluous_photography_by_pi

Following the 3rd performance of his wonderful Solo Sonata at Robinson College on Friday, Robert Saxton came up with some brilliant adjustments-demonstrating the art of deep listening. Read about them here- in my continuing blog about the composer’s workshop! https://www.peter-sheppard-skaerved.com/?p=30634

Sadie Harrison on the practice desk and in the rehearsal room

‘Moonstone Fire’, the first movement from Sadie Harrison‘s exquisite ‘… An Amaranth from the Shade …’ which Roderick Chadwick and I premiere in Carmbridge on the 13th October. This is just a VERY LOFI mobile phone mic eavesdrop on a rehearsal. But, as every, such beauty from this wonderful composer (and trees on the Thames path, a few days ago)

A subtle beauty on the practice desk Sadie Harrison’s exquisite ‘…an amaranth from the shade..’ which Roderick Chadwick and I will play in Cambridge on the 13th October. Here’s one of her wonderful solo pieces, live in Washington https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDmODVs4PCU&t=32s

My working score of Sadie Harrison ‘An Amaranth for the Shade’ 21 9 23

A Glimpse of work with  James Turrell SkySpace 8 9 23

 

Robert Saxton meets Samuel Dushkin 24 8 23

This afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum, I could not resist the chance of playing the music of Robert Saxton, on this wonderful Voirin bow owned and played by Samuel Dushkin .Dushkin was born in Suwa?ki, Poland. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire and with Leopold Auer in New York City and Fritz Kreisler. Works written for Dushkin, and premiered with this bow, include all the major works by his greatest collaborator, Igor Stravinsky, and Ravel’s orchestral version of Tzigane. Most violinists have unwittingly played his greatest musical hoax as a composer, the “Sicilienne in E-flat Major by Maria Theresia von Paradis” – very much in the spirit of the his teacher Kreisler’s multiple musical cons! Filmed by Malene Sheppard Skaerved

 

Thinking about John Cage by the Grand Canyon 16 8 23

At the end of this extraordinary day, Malene Sheppard Skaerved Garrison Keillor and I were looking at this view and talking about music. The conversation turned to John Cage, and whilst I talked about Walking Music, Landscape, and Radio Music etc. this is the piece that was actually in my mind. So back to the hotel room, and I dug out our performance from some time back, and put it with the astonishing landscape and light in front of us.

Honouring Gloria Coates! 14th August 2023

 

I was thinking about my dear friend Gloria Coates’ wonderful quintet on the train over the Rockies, and into New Mexico yesterday. There was the most extraordinary light over the high plains. And today I realised that I have never posted the 2018 performance we gave of her extraordinary quintet. After three decades performing her work, I am still fascinated, inspired, challenged and always moved. With Neil Heyde, Clifton Harrison Mihailo Trandafilovski Roderick Chadwick and with thanks to David Wordsworth, who made this performance happen. So here it is, with the light over the desert yesterday afternoon

Bartok in New York City

It’s not possible to be in New York City, practising and writing about Bartok, and NOT play the great sonata he wrote here. So here is the Melodia, at the desk this morning, with the view from the desk, as the rain stopped… With thanks to Monika Machon and Richard Bram

Thoughts from the practice desk – 3rd August 2023

Bela Bartok – 2md Violin Concerto – 1st Movement. Part with markings from Manoug Parikian and PSS 3 8 23

Dialogues: Bartok on the practice desk. I studied this piece with Manoug Parikian when I was 18, and it is fascinating to work on the part he marked up for me – and weave my approach now around it. I think that every musician recognises such an ongoing conversation with a teacher, with all its debates and insights as alive as ever- so both voices remain on the page, both as entranced with this miraculous piece, and as ever, with a mass of questions for the composer

 

Films from the Metropolitan Museum – Out Now! 14 7 23

Just up on the Metropolitan Museum Website. So grateful for everyone who made this possible! @RoyalAcadMusic Follow the link! 

Here’s some Eccles to get you interested!

Preparing for concerts, workshops and more at the Deal Festival 2023

Composer and Deal festival director Luke Styles sent me these photos of Mihailo Trandafilovski & Joanna Jones‘ linked paintings and composition, hanging at the Linden Hall Studio Deal, where I will play the piece alongside Malene Sheppard Skaerved‘s film about Joanna’s work, with movements from Sadie Harrison‘s ‘Gallery’ (which respond to my drawings and paintings) and Michael Alec Rose ‘Knowledge Exchange Violin’ pieces – and there will be Matteisa and Lonati too! Join us!!! Deal Music & Arts https://dealmusicandarts.com/events/peter-sheppard-skaerved/

New Release – Nigel Clarke Concerto with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra!

Kreutzer Quartet at the Aldeburgh Festival June 9-10 2023

My reflections on three days playing quartets at the Aldeburgh Festival – there will be more tomorrow! https://peter-sheppard-skaerved.com/?p=30738

Kreutzer Quartet at the Aldeburgh Festival. Orford Church 9 6 23 Photo Britten-Pears Foundation

Some thoughts about Kreutzer Quartet Britten-Pears Arts/Aldeburgh Festival this week w/ Sadie Harrison, David Matthews, Eleanor Alberga, David Horne, Michael Finnissy, Priaulx Rainier, Mozart, Haydn, Neil Heyde, Linda Merrick, Clifton Harrison, Mihailo Trandafilovski

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Celebrating Roger Redgate! 3 6 23

It is Roger Redgate’s birthday! Hurray! If you are a violinist, take the challenge of the caprices! If you are a composer, do the same! If you are a listener, the most important person of all, enjoy the fireworks!

Onstage discussion of lefthand pizzicato with Roger Redgate 2 3 23 Photo:Richard Bram

The joy of the composer’s workshop ‘Inside the Swirl’! 30 5 23

Mihailo Trandafilovski has just sent me this page, which he notes, is the ‘ecstatic culmination’ of his new solo work based on the wonderful art of our mutual friend and collaborator, Joanna Jones. I write more about the compositional and collaborative process here: https://www.peter-sheppard-skaerved.com/?p=30634

‘Inside the swirl’ (the composer’s words). MIhailo Trandafiloski responds to the inspired work of Joanna Jones 30 5 23

Mystery work….the question answered!

This piece has ;ong been close to the Kreutzer Quartet’s heart
for years, but we have never recorded it. Who wrote it, and when?
If you are one of the handful of people who have heard us play it, hold your horses for a few hours!

And here’s the answer – it is an unpublished early work by the great Priaulx Rainier, then aged 19, and going by Ivy Rainier, and a violin student at the Royal Academy of Music. We will be playing it at the Aldeburgh Festival, along with her celebrated 1939 Quartet, in a few weeks time!

Priaulx Rainier by Malcolm Lawson
1965

It’s here! Prophecies of Merlin

Composer Nigel Clarke with the brand new disc! 23 5 23

Celebrating the imminent release of Nigel Clarke’ extraordinary symphony for orchestra ‘the Prophecies of Merlin’- on which we collaborated across lockdown -and then brought to life through the brilliant baton of Neil Thomson (happy birthday Neil!) and the wonderful ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien – RSO Wien. What a joy to be part of this!

With composer Nigel Clarke, conductor Neil Thomson and the Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra at the end of four days exploration and adventure in the studio. Vienna 1 9 22

A major new work emerges – but who is it! 20 5 23

Unbelievably excited about this piece, which I have been discussing with the composer for nearly 6 years. Here’s just a glimpse behind the workshop door … but who is it!

Sketches of part of a major work for solo violin – by a GREAT mystery composer! 20 5 23

A great, great Viola Sonata!!!!

We are just about to release Martin Ellerby’s tremendous, and I mean, tremendous, Viola Sonata. Here it is, in unedited (lockdown) session outtakes, with the great Roderick Chadwick
Follow this link for some writing on Ellerby’s sonatas

Tools on the overnight practice desk  overnight 14 5 2023

Working on David Matthews 17th Quartet 14 05 23

Detailed work on David Matthews’ wonderful 17th quartet, the latest of many pieces he has dedicated to us. And a stone tool from my inspiring teacher Beatrix Marr’s Devon vegetable garden. Come to the premiere, at the second of our concerts at next month’s Aldeburgh Festival! With Neil Heyde, Mihailo Trandafilovski, Clifton Harrison LINK

 

At the desk, 22 4 23 – Jeremy Thurlow responds to Vilhelm Hammershøi

I spent this morning with Jeremy Thurlow’s exquisite reponse to the work of Vilhelm Hammershøi. Hammershøi is a hero around here, and Malene Sheppard Skaerved and I were stopped in our tracks with his ‘Moonshine’ at the Metropolitan Museum just a few days ago.

Upcoming release – Nigel Clarke ‘Prophecies of Merlin’ with the Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra

So pleased to share this, today, on the day when it was announced that this wonderful orchestra’s future is assured! It was a joy to be a small part of his project, with Nigel Clarke, Neil Thomson, and our many friends ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien – RSO Wien! (yes, the painting is mine!)

Working with young composers at Ithaca College, NY 20-23 March 2023

PSS with Evis Sammoutis and young composers at Ithaca College 22 3 23

I am just finishing four days of intense collaboration with composers at Ithaca College, New York. After really fascinating workshops I premiered 11 wonderful new works from the composition class. 6 of them were responding to birdsong, in various and interesting ways.

British Violin Maker’s Association at Kings Place 12 3 23

Preparing to play Haydn String Quartets for BVMA at Kings Place! 12 3 23

Yes! We performed all of these wonderful instruments in one concert! With Neil Heyde. Clifton Harrison, Mihailo Trandafilovski at the British Violin Makers Day at Kings Place today! Inspiring to be with so many old and new friends in the vibrant making community, and wonder at the glory of today’s violin making!With my wonderful friends in the Kreutzer Quartet! It was also inspiring to see Lark Music Insurance support for this amazing event and to see their real enthusiasm an involvement!

First Listen – Marc Yeats new work, live recording (2/3/23)

First chance to hear Marc Yeats epic work for violin alone. Live lats week at the George Moore Theatre at Goldsmiths. Hold on to your hats! BTW – the picture was taken from my practice desk on Svalbard at 1 am a few years ago!

 

Celebrating collaboration –  Composers and and Performers – at the Royal Northern College of Music 6 3 23

A great afternoon with young musicians at the Royal Northern College of music here in Manchester, where I was appointed Honorary Professor last year. Over the past few months they have been developing collaborations: today they brought along to eight new pieces which resulted. It was a joy to work with them, and wonderful to see how inspired and generous these young people are t to each other. An amazing atmosphere in the room. More on this to follow!

With my wonderful young colleagues – collaborating composer and performers (violinists, violists, cellists, bassists) at the Royal Northern College of Music. 6 3 23

Reporting back from ‘Collaborate’ at the George Wood Theatre, Goldsmiths 2/3/23

A couple of my dear friend Richard Bram’s great photos of the concert concert.

Playing Gloria Coates’s Sonata on the Alessandrini Spider-Silk violin 2 3 23 Photo: Richard Bram

Discover Richard’s wonderful work – he’s one of the great photographers, and it is a privilege to have collaborated with him for many years – here https://www.richardbramphoto.com/

Applause/onstage discussion of lefthand pizzicato with Roger Redgate 2 3 23 Photo:Richard Bram

Vilsmayr on the Rode Stradivari 

Another glimpse of what we have been doing – and a light scordatura on this most wonderful Stradivari

Lyre Bird in the Chilterns!

Yesterday morning, I recorded Edward Cowie’s fantastic ‘Menurida Variants’. Here is a single take, and images from the walk to and from the studio in the Chilterns. This piece is inspired by the Australian Lyrebird, the Superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae). The sharp-eared witll spot some Haydn references!

This is one take, with the page-turns left in (they will be snipped out for the released recording). But I wanted listeners to see what I do with a one-take account of a large piece.

First look!

A sneak peak, at what we  have been up to, at the Ashmolean Museum, where we spent a glorious day filming and recording on the unbelievable 1722 ‘Rode’ Stradivari. Here, just an idea about decoration, with some Telemann drifting around (recorded on the ‘Rode’). The finished film has nearly 50 minutes of music, and mercifully, very little of me talking…. this just an outtake.

Filming and recording at the Ashmolean Museum – 27 1 23

Michael Alec Rose‘s cycle of pieces for my ‘Knowledge Exchange Violin’ project is a joy, and a growing one at that! Here’s the piece he wrote for the Pierre Rode ‘Strad’, recorded last week at the Ashmolean museum. Spot the reference at the end!

Film of Peter Sheppard Skaerved & Laurence Rose at RSPB Farnham Heath

Johann Pisendel live in St Botolph Bishopsgate

The Pisendel A minor solo sonata is one of the most lovely notations of fantastic improvisation that survive from the 18th Century, and I love how each space remoulds it – in this case, the George Dance the Younger church of St Botolph Bishopsgate (which is roughly contemporary to the piece)

New discs! David Matthews Quartets, Volume 5. 31 12 22

It is here! volume five of David Matthews String Quartets
It is my seventh volume of his work for fantastic Toccata Classics!
And actually, my ninth disc featuring his music
Message me if you would like to ask how to get a copy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Knowledge Exchange Violin Podcasts….completed. December 30th 2022

Juleaften! Christmas Eve 2022

I woke up with Jerome Kern and Sven Asmussen on my mind. So, before I started cooking, here’s ‘All the things you are. in Asmussen’s wonderful late arrangement for solo violin, by the tree here in Wapping (he confessed these arrangements were full of Telemann).
God Jul!

Talking about Giovanni Battista Viotti to The Strad magazine

On the way – my little piece about Viotti for an upcoming edition of The Strad. Watch this space!

 

Knowledge Exchange Violin – Minneapolis Update!

Introducing Revolution a la Mode, and some lovely Corrette scordatura, played on Matt Wehling‘s inspired bow!

Talking about Clarinet Quintets at the Royal Northern College of Music November 23rd

Tomorrow, I will be at the RNCM with Linda Merrick, David Horne and Gary Carpenter, talking about Clarinet Quintets. So I thought I would upload a clarinet trio. Here’s Jörg Widmann’s, with the composer and Aaron Shorr a few years back, to grab your ears. String players, if you are not playing chamber music with wind instruments … why not?

Knowledge Exchange Violin in the USA – October 2022

 

Follow the blog here! KNOWLEDGEEX

 

 

The Violin in Modena arrives!!! 13 9 22

Great news!! My new 17th century disc for the wonderful Athene (Divine Art) Label has arrived. Many thanks to all the team who worked on this disc, especially Jonathan Haskell and Stephen Sutton. If you would like a copy at a website discount, contact me using the contact form! Great solo works by Colombi, Vitali and anonymous composers!

Solo works by Colombi and Vitali!!!! And anonymous works 13 9 22

Work begins in Vienna! Recording Nigel Clarke’s ‘Prophecies of Merlin’

 

 

 

Favourite things_Overnight hotel room practice desk (Wien-Fassung)
Nigel Clarke’s symphony with violin on the desk Vienna 25 8 22

I have just arrived in Vienna, after a wonderful train journey down the Rhine, and then the Danube, from Cologne. I am here to record the wonderful ‘Prophecies of Merlin’, written during the Covid-19 Lockdowns for me by Nigel Clarke. We will meet up with my old friend and collaborator, the truly trail-blazing conductor Neil Thomson, and we will spend the whole week hard at work with the great Austrian Radio Orchestra. Neil and I were both teenage violin students of the most wonderful of English violinists, Ralph Holmes. Ralph died tragically young, but his voice sings on, and I know he’s pleased about what we are going to do this week.

Ralph Homes, a lifetime inspiration.

A new work for Croatia! 24 8 22

An glimpse of the colourful and evocative Korkyra Capriccio / Kor?ulanski kapric, by Ivan Josip Skender, which I premiere, alongside a new work by Mihailo Trandafilovski, at Laura Vadjon‘s wonderful Korkyra Baroque Festival in a few weeks! https://korkyrabaroque.com/en/peter-sheppard-skaerved-2/

The composer writes: ‘As you are performing it on Kor?ula, the piece is based on two (out of three) baroque melodies upon which the Kor?ulan sword dance Moreška was performed. ‘

Knowledge Exchange Violin – Follow the Project in the USA! 

Filming with Nicole LaBouff  for ‘Revoluation a la Mode’ Minneapolis Institute of Arts 8 8 22

I am just completing three weeks of exploration in the Midwest and on the East Coast! Follow the blog https://www.peter-sheppard-skaerved.com/?p=29958here.

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Revolutionary Wonder 

Balm on a hot evening. Another glimpse of the French revolutionary project I have just completed with the fantastic Héloïse Bernard and Julian Perkins ‘Air du Couvent’.

Discovery in DC

 

Playing Locatelli, Sammoutis and Viotti at the end of two intense days at the National Gallery of Art Washington DC 7 7 22

I have just finished two days of exploration and collaboration with the extraordinary team at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. Follow the project here https://www.peter-sheppard-skaerved.com/2022/06/knowledge-exchange-violin-2022/? 

The Social media team at the NGA< posted this snippet of Locatelli, which has been seen by nearly 23,000 people in two days

First Look! The Violin in Modena! 14 6 22

This just in – first look at a cover for my newest disc of 17th century solo works…huge shout out to Stephen Sutton at Divine Art for turning my idea of late 17th century end papers into something glorious….https://divineartrecords.com/new-recording-of-17th-century-violin-music-from-modena/

Knowledge Exchange Violin begins 4 6 22

Over the next 8 months, much of my travel, performing, recording and filming will be under the wing of a grant from Research England’s ‘Knowledge Exchange’ programme. To follow the project, go to : https://www.peter-sheppard-skaerved.com/2022/06/knowledge-exchange-violin-2022/

The project began with a conversation on the Observation Tower over RSPB Leighton Moss, Cumbria, between myself, a nature writer (Laurence Rose), a composer (Edward Cowie), a filmmaker ( Malene Skaerved) , an ornithologist (John Carter) and an artist. Next stop this week, Brussels!

Skytower Conversation – RSPB Leighton Moss – Laurenc Rose, PSS, Heather Cowie, John Carter, Edward Cowie. Photo Malene Skaerved 2 6 22

Michael Hersch works for violi

First glimpse of a huge recording project – undedited outtakes while the whole is assembled! 

Charles Auguste de Bériot at the desk 9 5 22

Charles Auguste de Bériot’s lovely Étude Op 123 No 50, ‘Expression tendue et mélancolique’ at the desk this morning. A violinist composer of wonderful sensitivity, whose etudes are woefully neglected

 

Some Matteis to start the day! 4 5 22

Pierre Baillot imitates a Musette (at the desk 2 5 22)

Drawing together the pieces that I will record on Pierre Rode’s wonderful violin next month. There will be a selection of pastoral works for violin alone, by Viotti, Rousseau, and this wonderful imitation of a musette by Pierre Baillot. Here at the desk, with some lovely sheep and lambs I saw in the Chilterns last week

 

New Writing – Thinking about Chaconnes, Critics, Competitions

Chaconnes, Critics, Competitions 23 4 22

In the studio – Mihailo Trandafilovski ‘Chaconne’ (2022)

In the studio with Mihailo Trandafilovski
Hastoe Village Hall 21 4 22

 An outtake of Mihailo Trandafilovski‘s wonderful new Chaconne – very much, a continuing journey

Podcast for the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC!

Podcast for the NGA!

Hurrah! Just out, my first podcast, for the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC! Listen here! 

https://www.nga.gov/music-programs/podcasts/peter-sheppard-skaerved-hieronymus-bosch-death-miser.html

Digging into the detail! 14 4 22

Edward Cowie’s 7th Quartet 14 4 22

On the desk today, Edward Cowie‘s brilliant 7th Quartet, which I will record with Clifton Harrison, Neil Heyde and Mihailo Trandafilovski in a few weeks. A collaboration I treasure! Here’s the wonderful Bach/Boiled Egg piece he wrote for me at the beginning of Lockdown, two years ago (with eggs) 

Mihailo Trandafilovski – a new work for solo viola  3 4 21

On the overnight practice-desk/floor, my dear friend Mihailo Trandafilovski’s ‘distorzija-spektar’ which I will record in three weeks time!

distorzija_spektar, by Mihailo Trandafilovski

Here’s his second concerto, live in Dover, with art by the great Joanna Jones https://dadonline.uk/legacy/re-veil-le/

In the studio with a  great composer! Recording Robert Saxton 21 3 22

The Kreutzer Quartet with Robert Saxton. Highgate 21 3 22

A day filled with great quartet-writing, friendship and the joy of good, hard work. With the great Robert Saxton, recording his wonderful 3rd Quartet, which we have played for years, but continues to astonish. With Adaq Khan (who took the photo and is the visionary engineer), Mihailo Trandafilovski, Clifton Harrison and Neil Heyde

Nielsen – ‘the children play’. In the studio 14 3 22

Beginning the day with the very heart of Nielsen

Slaatter, Springdanser, Hallinger 8 3 22
 I arrived early for yesterday’s recording, so I spent an hour recording Anders Heyerdahl’s lovely Hardanger transcriptions. 20 mnutes of the simplest violin writing, but so lovely. Missing the landscapes where I fell in love with this music.

Chaconnes, Passacaglias in Deptford 17 2 22

Solo works by Colombi, Isang Yun, Michael Hersch, David Matthews, Biber, Baltzar 17 2 22

Chaconnes, Passacaglias, Winter Journeys, Snowy Margins… by Colombi, Biber, Baltzar, Isang Yun, David Matthews and Michael Hersch which I am playing at 630pm tonight.

Joseph Horovitz R.I.P

It was my great honour and pleasure to have spent time with Joseph Horovitz. Here’s his wonderful ‘Dybbuk Melody’. Ave atque vale.

News from the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester 

RNCM announcement

A long-lost David Matthews Canon, for Sir Michael Tippett 24 1 22
The first hearing of David Matthews’ 1974 canon for Sir Michael Tippett w/ Mihailo Trandafilovski, Clifton Harrison, Neil Heyde (yesterday)

Kreutzer throws a thunderbolt! 23 01 22

Here’s Kreutzer’s cloudburst, at the desk this morning. Joing Gwendolyn Masin and I Tuesday to explore this caprice more. Book here, or message me https://www.the-exhale.com/class/etudes-101-the-kreutzer-sessions-nos-23-26

Jerome Kern at the desk 17 1 22

 

Exploring Kreutzer!
My working scores of Kreutzer 13- 22. Tomorrow, Gwendolyn Masin & I explore the insights that have emerged from our week-by week journey through this great cycle. Do join us – follow the link to book, or message me for more details. https://www.the-exhale.com/class/etudes-101-the-kreutzer-sessions-nos-13-22-a-synopsis

Detailed work on Kreutzer Caprices 13-21 17th January 2022

Inspiration on the practice desk 16 1 21
Three great 20th Century works works for violin alone, by Max Reger, Per Nørgård, and Yun Isang
(and here’s Nørgård’s ‘Bofast’)

Solo works on the practice desk 15 1 21

Inspiration and idealism 12 1 22

Introducing Norman Platt’s extraordinary writing about the work of music to students this week. Here’s the extraordinary peroration to his ‘Making Music’. I was lucky enough to meet him when I was still at school, and to be encouraged (vociferously) and inspired by his idealistic approach.

Norman Platt – Making Music (Pembles Press 2001)

Back at the Library of Congress 6 1 22

A glimpse of Thursday. 2 minutes of Viotti on a violin I dreamt of from childhood ( I had a picture of it in my room), first performed on in 2006, and have been lucky enough to play, film and record on it a number of times since. It’s a privilege to work at the Library of Congress, and I have a smile on my face every time I am there. 

The glory of the composer’s workbench 8 1 22

Working Score of Michael Alec Rose – 8th Quartet

One of the great joys of my musical life, is my long collaboration with the American composer Michael Alec Rose. This has resulted in dozens of new works, two cds, and miles of walking and talking on both sides of the Atlantic. Here’s a glimpse of his process towards a new Quartet for the Kreutzers! Intrigued? You can buy the piece that he wrote for me about Dartmoor here https://divineartrecords.com/recording/michael-alec-rose-il-ritorno/

 

Layers – brilliance from a young composer, Lucas Levin

Aural delight: last year, Joanna Jones, Malene Sheppard Skaerved, Clare Smith and I asked Lucas Levin to make an artwork responding to Dover, for DAD (Dover Arts Development). I think that the chance to see the palimpsest emerging from the Maison Dieu provided inspiration for his title, but he has made an object of beauty, which will never repeat. Listen: and then press Refresh – I can’t stop. I am full of admiration and gratitude! Hats off!!!

https://dad.lucas-levin.com?

Paul Pellay’s new piece, second performance! Stillwater Minnesota 12 12 21

Here is the evening performance of Paul Pellay‘s lovely ‘expectant consolation’ for Advent, live (LO FI CAMERA MIC) in Stillwater last night. Paul dedicated it to Malene Sheppard Skaerved, Marius Skaerved and me – and we are very touched. With thanks to Kris Tjornehoj (and heres a snowy corner of town) 

Explorations at University of Wisconsin at River Falls 13 12 21

So happy to be back on a great American campus again, in an inspiring music departments. Thanks to everyone at UWRF and Kris Tjornehoj. there was Biber, Bach, Marini and the premiere of Paul Pellays’s lovely new piece! 

Workshop in the Band Room! Working with young musicians at UWRF 13 1221

Inspiration from a Minnesota river! 12 12 21
Nature lends a hand: Tuesday’s exploration of Kreutzer 21st Caprice is all about turns, eddies, tides and whorls. This morning, the frozen St Croix offered ideas and inspiration.

Decorative inspiration from a frozen river. Stillwater, MN 12 12 21

 
Everything we artists try, reach for, worry over and practise is perfected, in infinite ways, all around us, all the time, by Nature. This is cause for celebration, inspiration and more perspiration.
 
Join Gwendolyn Masin and me to continue this capricious journey!
 
https://www.the-exhale.com/class/etudes-101-the-kreutzer-sessions-nos-17-22

Florish in the Key! A Christmas Album!

This is sweet, and a new one for me – did I accidentally make a Christmas Album? I did! Go and buy it – there are 13/14 days left to get your copy! Who needs socks when you can have ‘Florish in the Key’! : ‘You might like the album because of Sheppard Skærved’s virtuoso skills or because of an interest in historical violin but you can equally enjoy it for the warm, varied playing. A good festive album, too, because of the warm, fuzzy and happy mood it creates.’ Congleton Chronicle Read whole review and order multiple copies here! https://divineartrecords.com/review/florish-in-the-key-the-chronicle-review/

Mozart on the way…

First glimpse … a couple of tweaks on the way, but I can’t not share this. Yes, I am excited

Caprice! Caprice!

On the 9th December I will be exploring the world of caprices at Goldsmiths College, where I am the visiting research fellow. Come along it’s free! Below, some inspiration from Charles-Auguste de Bériot for the event. Link here

Charles-Auguste de Bériot on expression and character

More reaction to Edward Cowie ‘Bird Portraits’ 

Edward Cowie’s extraordinary drawing for ‘Song Thrush’ from Birdsong Bagatelles

‘His continuing series of ‘The Great Violins’ recordings and other early music for the instrument are testament to his depth of knowledge and the innate musicality which also inspires the magical performances on ‘Bird Portraits’. New Classics November 2021

Lennod Berkeley Introduction and Allegro

People have been talking to me about my performance of this wonderful Lennox Berkeley solo piece. Written for Ivry Gitlis. Both much missed 

 

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand – Scelsi’s ‘Arc-en-ciel 16 11

Scelsi’s ‘Rainbow’ is incredibly important to Mihailo Trandafilovski and I. So exciting, at last to bring it to the microphone

The Dream of the Field Cricket – First Listen 15 11 21

First listen. The Dream of the Field Cricket, dedicated to the writer Laurence Rose. 
– paraphrase of the song of one Field Cricket. Session outtakes 11 11 21 –with Mihailo Trandafilovski
Premiered at RSPB Farnham Heath Summer 2019 – Inspired by ‘Back from the Brink’

Abel – Adagio 13 11 21

Just a glimpse of Abel’s 27 pieces for solo Viol, played, a heartbreakingly delicate adagio. Played tonight on the 1641 Rayman viola. Come along on Sunday to hear more, in the church next to the graveyard where the last celebrated gambist of the late 18th century was buried, along with his friend JC Bach. There will be wonderful pieces written for this viola by David Hackbridge Johnson

Bartok in the Studio 10-11th 2021

This is what we do. After many years playing and study the 44 Bartók Duos together, Mihailo Trandafilovski and I have recorded the set, along with pieces by Scelsi and both of us. Here’s 40 seconds worth – Forgatós! We can’t wait to show you the work that engineer Adaq Khan has done – you’ll have to wait to hear that!

Kreutzer Etude 16  9/11/21

 

Putting the pieces/tesserae together. Come along on Tuesday to the next stage of Gwendolyn Masin‘s and my exploration of the Kreutzer caprices – the wonderful ornate No. 16, ‘bright with sinuous rills’. With Roman mosaic tiles out of the river here. BOOK HERE!

Kreutzer Etude 15 2/11/21

Tomorrow – Etude 15 in my exploration of the Kreutzers, with Gweendolyn Masin. Overnight, Hogarth offered to help -so his laughing audience (which I see every morning) is a small part of that. Come along and find out more .

Hafliði Hallgrímsson – Offerto Review in Musical Opinion October 2021

Hafliði Hallgrimsson at our rehearsal in Reykjavik. 28 9 19

You will never hear a more perfectly attuned and harmonious player than Skærved, whether with his instrument or in putting his considerable expertise at the service of the composer…. , played with flawless intonation and exceptional musicianship. This disc is just a joy from first note to last.

” —Guy Rickards, Musical Opinion

Kreutzer Quartet back at work! 

Back in business! The beginning of a new set of rehearsals on wonderful quartets written for the Kreutzers, by Robert Saxton, Edward Cowie and David Matthews. The fun has begun, for real, now! With Neil Heyde, Clifton Harrison, Mihailo Trandafilovski

My much-loved friends and collaborators in the Kreutzer Quartet 12 10 21

Edward Cowie – Bird Portraits! 

It’s arrived! Edward Cowie‘s awesome Bird Portraits. Wonderful playing from Roderick Chadwick, brilliant engineering from Jonathan Haskell, beautiful painting by Heather Cowie, stunning production from Stephen Sutton at Metier/Divine Art. Come to hear it – copies will be on sale at a super discount! Links to the event https://www.facebook.com/events/273772717939134?ref=newsfeed  

https://www.gold.ac.uk/calendar/?id=13741

21st October, 7pm, Deptford Town Hall, Council Chambers, Goldmiths, New Cross Rd, London SE14 6AF

Admission Free. Contact me!

https://www.facebook.com/events/273772717939134?ref=newsfeed

 

Electro-acoustic fascination. Oxford 6 1 21

Absolute inspiration. Ben Heaney introduced me to an extraordinary violin – and Ben Hebbert introduced me to both (and took the picture). And, as reamarkable, is the date this was made and patented… intrigued?

With violinist/researcher Ben Heaney, and the …. violin (1957). But who made it?

Edward Cowie Premiere

?Just a moment of Edward Cowie’s homage to the wonder of the lyrebird – Menurida Variants, during my premiere two days ago. Thanks to Heather Cowie for the film and for the inspiration, all around

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Sadie Harrison’s walk in the churchyard 29 9 21

At the desk this morning: As part of my concert in Lancaster this weekend, responding to Heather Cowie‘s lovely exhibition, I will be playing extracts from Sadie Harrison‘s 2-book ‘Gallery’ (responding to work of mine). It’s a treasure trove, and I am so proud to have been part of it’s arrival. Here’s a walk in a churchyard – marked ‘with an icy chill’ at the practice desk today, with view of our path last week. 

New solo work from Thomas Metcalf 28 9 21

A very happy part of a busy day. At the desk recording of two of Tom Metcalf‘s haunting ‘Vignetters of a Pixelated River’. Here’s the 3rd, played on a lovely late 20th century viola! 

 

Matteis to finish the day  26 9 21

To finish the day. Two minutes of Matteis, at the desk. With music this wonderful, the best thing that I can do, is stay out of the way! 

 

Art and Craft of the true composer – A new Quintet from David Horne 7 9 21

The end of David Horne’s new Quintet. The resonance of open strings is damped at the half-bar to match the stopped notes. Respect!

 

Real care – look carefully at the control of resonance. The end of the wonderful new quintet from the brilliant David Horne. Dedicated to Linda Merrick and all the crew in the Kreutzer Quartet – Mihailo Trandafilovski, Clifton Harrison, Neil Heyde – and it will be one of the pieces that turbo-charges our roar as we come back after the interregnum. So delighted to working with this fantastic composer again – we first played his work in Belgrade an age ago!

New Release! 2 9 21

Newly arrived! Florish in the Key! 2 9 21

It has arrived! The first complete recording of John Walsh’s epochal collection of solo preludes by Matteis, Purcell, Banister, Biber, Cosimi, Gorton, Bononcini and many more, plus beautiful scordatura from Baltzar, on the 1664 Charles II violin. Huge shout out to Stephen Sutton at Divine Art and my astonishing engineer Jonathan Haskell – this is the 60th album we have made togethe. Contact me here if you would like a pre-release copy!

Workshop with Nigel Clarke 2 9 21

Midmorning exploration: continuing a long conversation with Nigel Clarke, about string writing. All part of the progress towards recording his ‘Prophecies of Merlin- symphony-with-violin, with our dear friend and much-admired colleague Neil Thomson next year. Here’s a playlist of works Nigel has written for me – and also in collaboration with Malene Sheppard Skaerved

Lipinski at the desk!

Over the past two weeks, I have been quietly studying/learning the complete Karol Józef Lipinski etudes and caprices. A wonderful world of colour and open-handed technique. Here’s the E minor Op 29, at the desk before supper this evening https://yout

 8 21

On the desk this evening. Some wonderful photos by dear friend Richard Bram – here I am with another inspiring friend and colleague, the naturalist and writer  Laurence Rose – enraptured by Nature, on Farnham Heath. For more of Richard’s work, go to https://www.richardbramphoto.com/

Working on our ‘Back from the Brink’ Project. With Laurence Rose, Farnham Heath, July 2019

Karol Lipinski in the woods 20 8 21

A perfect day, a walk with Malene Sheppard Skaerved in the woods from Epping to Woodford to wonderful afternoon and supper with Susan Sheppard & Tony Sheppard. Started at the desk with this haunted Impromptu by the great Karol Lipi?ski – here 

 

Morning coffee with Svend Asmussen 19 08 21 

 

I fell in love with Svend Asmussen’s playing in my teens. I am not a jazz violinist, but I learnt such a lot from him about line, colour, timbre, wit, and silence. Here’s a little thankyou, at the desk before breakfast today

Abel at the Desk 17 8 21

 

First listen 10 8 21

After two days in front of the mic., I am even more enraptured with Julius Röntgen’s astonishing 6 Suites and Sonatas – the equal (at least) of any other set of solo works written last century. Here’s the heart cycle, with a beautiful fugue and a Chaconne on a them by Tovey.

First chance to hear some of our up-coming Edward Cowie release! 5 8 21

Very proud to be a small part of this!

Writing 2 8 21

No photo description available.

Finally editing. 2 8 21

Long overdue: this summer, a couple of books finally have to be finished. The first, a little niche, on Practice. Tea helps.

Duos 27 7 21

Recording with Olwen Foulkes 27 7 21 (St George Headstone)

today I was privileged to record the Gottfried Finger sonatas (publ. London 1688) with Olwen Foulkes . This is wonderful music, and I can’t imagine a more inspiring colleague to explore it with

Longbow back in action! 26 7 21

Longbow recording Gorton! St George Headstone 26 7 21

One of the best days – Working with dear friends/brilliant artists Olwen Foulkes, Rachel Meerloo, Valerie Welbanks, Dan Shilladay, Salomé Rateau, Tanya Sweiry-Solomons, Alice Barron, Nazrin Rashidova on David Gorton’s exquisite concerto based on material by Torelli, with my fantastic collaborating engineer Jonathan Haskell at the helm. Creativity, comradeship, adventure and a lot of laughter.

The Strad reviews my Hallgrímsson disc 21 7 21

Hafliði Hallgrimsson at our rehearsal in Reykjavik. 28 9 19

Violinist Peter Sheppard Skærved first asked Icelandic-born, long-time Scottish resident composer Hafliði Hallgrímsson for a few short pieces for solo violin in 2005, for a concert he was about to give in a Mexico City art gallery. Hallgrímsson duly obliged, returning to the pieces several years later and adding a second book. The results are his two volumes of Klee Sketches, brief, tongue-in-cheek, quirky miniatures that seem to capture the homespun, unconventional imagery of the Swiss-born artist (himself a violinist), and which undoubtedly find an ideal interpreter in Sheppard Skærved.

There’s a certain raw directness about some of his playing – in the opening ‘Klee practising an accompaniment for a popular song’, for example – that gives his accounts a rewarding authenticity, and a sense of vivid, unhurried storytelling, too, for instance in the Ligeti-like workout of ‘Klee experimenting with a new scale’ or the remarkable range of colours he uncovers in ‘Do not neglect your pizzicato Herr Klee’. There’s a lot of humour here, and unconventional musical demands that send Sheppard Skærved scurrying into all manner of extended effects, but these are deeply considered musical utterances too – none more so than the gently glowing lullaby of ‘Frau Klee is sleeping’, in two related versions.

Far more serious-minded, however, is the Offerto, almost a four-movement sonata written in memory of Icelandic visual artist Karl Kvaran, whose broader structures Sheppard Skærved approaches with a similar sense of spaciousness and narrative drive. It’s a seriously playful disc, conveyed in considered, committed performances, and captured in close, generous sound.

DAVID KETTLE

 

https://www.thestrad.com/reviews/peter-sheppard-sk%C3%A6rved-hallgrimsson/13179.article

First Listen! 17 7 21

 

It has been a very busy couple of weeks in the studio. Here’s just a breath of what I have been doing. A lovely little Allemanda by Giuseppe Colombi, recorded on a fantastic Andrea Amati.

 

A New Duo project

Rehearsing with the brilliant Olwen Foulkes. 14 7 21

A wonderful afternoon working with the amazing recorder player Olwen Foulkes on fascinating/beautiful duets by Gottfried Finger and Jacques Paisible – the next stage in exploration of the music of Stuart London. Really great to play chamber music at home again. We will be recording our first disc together in a few weeks time! Watch this space!

Preludes & Vollenteries Reviv’d

Back in St Vedasts Foster Lane. Photo Richard Bram

We were back in at the wonderful Wren church on Foster Lane  on the 9th July with a fantastic and thoughtful audience. Come to the next concert -22nd July at St Margaret Lothbury. Contact me for bookings : ptrshpprdskrvd@aol.com

Just a reminder – 4 7 21

George_Bridgetower_by_Henry_Edridge_1790

Here’s the Kreutzer Sonata, recorded a LONG time ago, with the Bridgetower cadenza response to Beethoven’s piano outburst. There seems to be a little bit of excitement on Radio 3 about ‘restoring’ theh Kreutzer to ‘Bridgetower’. Some of us have been exploring this relationship for some time. Just saying:

Opening and dedication of the Sonata orginally dedicated to Bridgetower

More reaction to The Great Violins! (2/7/21)

Girolamo Amati violin,the star of this CD!

More thoughtful response to Vilsmayr. Shoutout to Stephen Sutton for perfect production and collaboration, and the Jonathan Haskell, my engineer, for understanding how I hear the violin, and sharing it ! LINK – https://earlymusicreview.com/the-great-violins/

Bagatelle Solitaire, live in Sweden (posted 2 7 21)

This just popped up – Erik Valdemar Sköld ‘s haunting solo piece. Live in Malmö – it is such a joy to work with the community of composers there! 

 

More acclaim for Hafliði Hallgrimsson’s ‘Offerto’  

Hafliði Hallgrimsson at our rehearsal in Reykjavik. 28 9 19

‘all played with conviction and finesse by Sheppard Skærved’ The whole Note

Link: https://www.thewholenote.com/index.php/booksrecords2/booksrecords2-2

 

A treasured handwriting: but whose?

A fragment from the most important incomplete violin method. But who wrote it?

Here’s a clue https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLa6jLsEuw6Umy1P2L1lvEC3WYwRciYvM2

and see below!

Viotti walks out!

Viotti walks out of a lesson with a feckless nobleman… Lithograph published by Chez Martinet (ca. 1814)

About to announce a new leg in my long-running exploration of the violins in the years following the French Revolution. In the meantime, here’s my favourite image of a violin lesson, and of the greatest of all teachers. Click on the link to explore this complex picture in absurd detail

Talking/playing about Kreutzer! 23 4 21

Kreutzer Caprice 12 – with technical realisation 23 6 21

Just gave a class on Kreutzer 12 for Gwendolyn Masin’s The Exhale/Meisterkurs. People wanted my fingerings-under normal circumstances, no way, but these are not mine, they are Kreutzer’s! Here’s the score of this delightful little caprice – with a wonderful 3-4 augmented 4th extension (go on, violinists, find it!). Come to the next class – next Wednesday! Details here: LINK

Favourite scordatura! 21 6 21

My favourite scordatura: GDgb! – a little sarabande by Colombi. To hear more- there are still a FEW places left for Thursday’s concert in a wonderful Wren church in the Square Mile.

Martin Ellerby, a homage to Hans Werner Henze (editi g 19 6 21)

Schönheit des Morgens: editing Martin Ellerby’s exquisite hommage to Henze ‘Canti di Colore’, which Roderick Chadwihttps://youtu.be/ydAQvDYJQ9Yck and I recorded in the spring. Here’s the 3rd mvt

Mihailo Trandafilovski -Song

Tools of the trade/work in progress. This very early stone tool came from my teacher Beatrix Marr’s kitchen garden in South Devon (not far from the famous Broom find on the river Blackwater). It’s a great companion on the work desk for Mihailo Trandafilovski‘s exquisite new ‘Song’, which can be heard LIVE on the 9th July at my third Preludes & Vollenteries Reviv’d concert –

Concert 3 -St Vedast Foster Lane, Friday July 9th , 6pm
Admission, payable on pre-booking £15 (£7 concessions)
From  ptrshpprdskrvd@aol.com

A lot of Henze!

There was a lot of interest in the Henze viola sonata recording and post overnight. So here’s my YouTube playlist – All four works for violin with orchestra, and all the works for violin and piano, viola and piano and solo violin. And the solo violin and viola works. Enjoy!

 

Review of Gregory Rose’s wonderful Concerto 7 6 21

With the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, and composer/conductor Gregory Rose. Angel Studios 11 11 19

‘The “Violin Concerto” (2017) centers around a brilliant frisson between solo violin and orchestra, with strident exclamations and marked aural spectacularizing gestures both exciting and deeply complex, with contrastingly contemplative rejoiners that give pause and set up the listener for dynamic narrations to come. It is a capital /M/ High Modern tour de force that needs to be heard and explored as it is in this fine performance with soloist Peter Sheppard Skaerved taking on the Promethean role with heroic fervor and poetic grace. It is a concerto that deserves to be more widely performed, surely.’

https://classicalmodernmusic.blogspot.com/2021/06/gregory-rose-orchestral-works-royal.html?fbclid=IwAR2OFtPLiWQ_ajnH-yX81ZHY0VYEQHdo9BsQrUK3Xwzae852ZPfQtIHTmrE

Anonymous early 17th century wonder…. 7 6 21

Some of the earliest music for violin alone. From the wonderful Breslau 114 MS. If you know your Bassano (Ricercate) and Ortiz (Clasulas) you will recognise scraps of this… at the desk this morning 

Westhoff on the glorious 1572 Amati (3 6 21)

First listen – the glorious 1572 Amati playing Westhoff yesterday. No edits, no EQingin, one take. Heaven for me in my favourite place to record With thanks to Ben Hebbert

Nicola Cosimi on violin by a London Maker he admired 31/5/21

Mezzo-tint of Kneller's lost painting of Nicola Cosimi

Cosimi was one of the first Italian virtuosi to play and export the violins by the English maker, Robert Cuthbert, which is likely what is depicted here (Mezzo-tint of Kneller’s lost painting of Nicola Cosimi)

Returning to Rome in 1705, the Italian virtuoso Nicola Cosimi took at least one violin by the London luthier Robert Cuthbert. Here’s his A Major prelude, played on a lovely 1676 example of that maker’s art.

29th May – in the Studio with the Kreutzers

‘From this week’s Kreutzer Quartet recordings: Robert Schumann, Heinrich Heine, David Matthews, I, Mihailo Trandafilovski, Clifton Harrison, Neil Heyde.
 
‘in the wonderful month of May
as all the buds were springing-
then in my heart
love was born
 
in the wonderful month of May
as all the birds were singing – then
I told her all my yearning
my torment, my longing

25th May

Saturday’s concert will include Baltzar, both Matteis, Westhoff, Purcell, Coreen Morsink and my by-myself version Biber’s ‘Presentation’ sonata. Here at the desk to whet your interest. Mystery prize to the first one who identifies the arch and pediment

24th May – Westhoff on the Andrea Amati!

At the desk this morning – the 1572 Andrea Amati explores Westhoff’s ‘imitation of bells’. With thanks to Ben Hebbert. To hear this violin LIVE, there are still a FEW tickets left for this Saturday’s ‘Preludes & Vollenteries reviv’d’.  (message me to book ptrshpprdskrvd@aol.com) 

21st May – watch and listen today! 

Do listen at 5pm! New work by Tom Metcalf and a classic quartet by Anne Boyd

17th – 18th May – Recording Edward Cowie ‘Bird Portraits’ 

Here’s just a scrap of what we did in the last two days. The astonishing Skylark which ends book 3 of Edward Cowie‘s ‘Bird Portraits’. Session outtake, unedited, raw. With Roderick Chadwick (and this is the sky over West Harrow station on the way home yesterday) 

16th May – First chance to hear a great violin

First chance to hear an amazing violin (click on the film to find out what!) – many thanks to Ben Hebbert for enabling it – and great to go back my much loved Klagenfurt Manuscript Anon (Klagenfurt MS ca.1685) – Praeludio & Saraband 

14th May. A day in the Holywell Music Room, Oxford

The Kreutzer quartet with composer Tom Metcalf. Holywell Music Room, Oxford 14 5 21

The end of an inspiring day of new and old music, in the oldest purpose-built music room in Europe. The Kreutzers in the Holywell Music Room today, with Tom Metcalf – whose wonderful quartet we premiered to camera. With Neil Heyde, Mihailo Trandafilovski, Clifton Harrison. Listen to Tom’s related solo piece here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMnoEFrjHhE

The Strad magazine reacts to my Vilsmayr disc

Sneak peak 8 5 21

A first whisper of this album, recorded on the 1664 ‘Charles II’ violin. Some sinuous gut for your morning. 

 

 

Review of my Vilsmayr disc from Canada  6 5 21

Peter Sheppard Skærved continues his fascinating exploration of outstanding violins with The Great Violins Vol. 4: Girolami Amati, 1629, performing the Six Partias for solo violin by Johann Joseph Vilsmaÿr (1663-1722)./The Partias, all consisting of eight, nine or ten very short movements, are described as “an extraordinary bridge” from the solo compositions of German composers like Biber to the later masterpieces of Bach and Telemann. They receive beautifully nuanced performances in a generous CD of almost 82 minutes./As always, Sheppard Skærved’s booklet essay is remarkably erudite and informative, examining the use of scordatura and the emotional effects attached to specific key signatures in order to understand the physical and emotional structure of the music.

Terry Robbins (The Whole Note)

 

Kreutzer etudes and far more at the Exhale – Book here! 5 5 21

Talking about Kreutzer 5 for The Exhale this evening. Book here for my next sessions ‘ Celebrating Collaboration’ https://www.the-exhale.com/class/celebrating-collaboration-13-5-21

Violin and Pencil (a new series)

From today, separate from the ‘at the desk’ series, I am presenting a sequence of recent live performances, of music of our time, in conversation with drawings made over the past few years. To start with Isobel Mundry’s wonderful ‘Balancen’, live in Munich. 

Something very new from Naki Hakim!

 

Yesterday my dear friend Naji Hakim sent me this new Toccata. It’s fabulous – here it is with my favourite view of Richard MacCormac’s jaw-dropping Southwark Underground station, filmed a few days ago. 

Preludes & Vollenteries reviv’d!

St Mary Abchurch, London. Saturday May 29th 6pm

The first of four concerts – the return of Peter Sheppard Skaerved’s ‘Preludes & Vollenteries series.
In association with ‘The Friends of the City Churches’
Programme to include works by Biber, Baltsar, Purcell, Matteis
AND
Coreen Morsink – ‘Lockdown Sketches’
This will be a socially distanced concert and there is a cap of 30 places available.
Admission, payable on pre-booking £15 (£7 concessions)
To pre-book E mail ptrshpprdskrvd@aol.com

PSS in St Mary Abchurch 28 4 21

Further concerts:
Thursday June 24 – St Mary Aldemary

Rehearsal. Colin Still setting up to record Preludes & Vollenteries in St Mary Aldemary

Friday July 9th – St Vedasts Foster Lane

Thursday July 22 – St Margaret Lothbury
‘Preludes & Vollenteries’ is to-date, a 30 – concert rolling series, inspired by, and performed in, Wren, Hawksmoor, Hooke, and Dance churches in London’s Square Mile. It explores solo works from the period marked out by these ‘City Churches’, including many anonymous works. In addition new work by Peter’s collaborators are featured in each concert, including premieres inspired by the series by Nicola LeFanu, Michael Hersch, and Hafliði Hallgrimsson (to name just a few). There have been spin-off concerts across the UK, Scandinavia, and the USA (including the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York City), and linked research events at institutions including Peabody Conservatoire (Baltimore), Cambridge University Music Department Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum (Tromsø), and the RNCM. The series is driven and inspired by both the stakeholders in the buildings and the audience/community which gathered around the concerts, always given as early evening salons.
Initial inspiration came from Walsh’s ‘Preludes & Voluntarys’ (1700), published and sold from his shop behind the Royal Exchange, in 1700. This is the most important collection of works for solo violin alone to appear in the UK, featuring works by London violinists and composers ranging from Nicola Matteis senior and Henry Purcell to major mainland-European figures who never visited the UK, such as Torelli, Biber, Corelli and Lonati.
The series also draws attention to the importance of lutherie in the Square Mile during the period, and its relationship to making in Italy and elsewhere. Instruments heard in the series include Richard Meares, Barak Norman, Jacob Rayman, the 1664 Charles II violin, Stradivari, Amati (Andrea, Girolamo, Nicolo), Maggini, to name just a few. These instruments come from a number of institutional and private collections in Europe and UK

Exploring Westhoff …

A handful of ideas (in progress) running up to my upcoming recording of the Westhoff suites/partitas LINK: https://wp.me/pH1iH-7FB

Detail ‘The Banquet of Esther’ Sébastien Bourdon (2 February 1616 – 8 May 1671)

First look! Cover of the new disc for Athene/Divine Art

Coming soon! Works by 25 composers heard or published in Wren and Aphra Behn’s London, on the Charles II 1664 Violin

A new quartet from David Matthews arrives! 19 4 21

It is a day of wonderful new music: in the morning light, this arrived, the printed score of David Matthews’ newest quartet, which we will premiere as soon as we can!!!!

Edward Cowie’s ‘Bird Portraits’ 19th April 2021

Another astonishing afternoon with Edward Cowie ‘s 4-book cycle ‘Bird Portraits’. Roderick Chadwick bringing colour and inspiration 19 4 21

This May, Roderick Chadwick and I will record Edward Cowie’s astonishing hour-long cycle ‘Bird Portratist’. If you want to hear more of his music, here’s a recent solo work!

‘Lockdown Music’ hits 270 recordings

My ‘Lockdown Music’ playlist, recorded over the past 13 months, mainly at the desk where I am sitting writing, just hit 270 little recordings/films. There’s music from 5 centuries, and over 80 works written for me, by friends too numerous to mention here. At least 250 of the pieces are for solo violin or viola, and I am not even close to running out of things to do. So, if you are interested, you can put this list on shuffle….enjoy (or not!!!) 

 

RIP Simon Bainbrige

With Simon Bainbridge 18 12 18

I am so grateful to have been able to know Simon. The Kreutzers were blessed to work intensely with him on his astonishing chamber music. He offered us a vision of grace and joy, which we treasure and honour.

Overnight, literally! 26th February 2021

Overnight, literally. My online performance of Michael Alec Rose’s ‘Air’, at the desk (with Zoom doorbells) for The Exhale, last night. And drawing to playback, with coffee, this morning.

A treasured moment just before Lockdown.

On this dark winter evening, (8 2 21) 5 minutes of unexpected Mozart, arranged by our dear friend David Matthews. With Neil Heyde, Mihailo Trandafilovski, Clifton Harrison

 

NEW RELEASE!

Wonderful design from Divine Art!

It’s here. My recording of the wonderful Vilsmayr Partitas was complete in between lockdowns and edited with my engineer (which equals Duo-partner) Jonathan Haskell over zoom. Thanks to Stephen Sutton at Divine Art/Athene for amazing work. You can order it here: https://divineartrecords.com/composer/johann-joseph-vilsmayr/
or here if you want to get it on prime in the US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08SFZCVCQ
or message me for special personalised service!!!! (use the ‘contact’ link)

Follow along with Zimmermann!

Someone has posted my recording of the Zimmermann Sonate with score . These are not my fingerings!!!! One of the great post-war works for violin, and a wonderful challenge;

12th January – Schubert Sonatas acclaimed

My disc of the three 1816 Schubert sonatas, with the great Juli

an Perkins playing Square piano, has been selected for the Critics Choice 1820 by the American Record Guide. Very proud of this, and we are planning more … ! Buy it here https://divineartrecords.com/recording/schubert-3-violin-sonatas/

11th January – Consolation from Nicola Matteis

5th January, 5th at the desk recording for the new year.
Ronald Stevenson – Fugue mar Piobaireachd. Pibroch-Fugue(Scots Suite 1984) (the rest of this fantastic suite will follow soon)

A clean slate for a new year. We begin with practice! Link here to my overnight pratice-blog

https://wp.me/pH1iH-7yj


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