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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.




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


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.’


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
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



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