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Dr David Ponsford


David Ponsford Position: Associate Lecturer and Conductor, Cardiff University Chamber Orchestra Email:
Telephone: +44(0)29 208 70405
Fax: +44(0)29 208 74379
Extension: 70405
Location: 37 Corbett Road (Annexe), Room 0.18

David Ponsford is both a scholar and a professional organist and harpsichordist, and is an authority on keyboard music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He studied at the University of Cambridge, and studied organ with Peter Hurford, Lionel Rogg and Piet Kee, and harpsichord with Kenneth Gilbert and Gustav Leonhardt. He has held the posts of Assistant Organist at Wells Cathedral, Conductor of Cheltenham Bach Choir, and for ten years was tutor in organ, harpsichord and academic studies at Birmingham Conservatoire. Subsequently, he gained a Ph.D for research in French Baroque organ music at Cardiff University, where he is now Associate Lecturer. In addition, he teaches organ and harpsichord at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, organ at Bristol University and harpsichord to specialist musicians at Wells Cathedral School. He is also a part-time lecturer at Madingley Hall (University of Cambridge), Director of Publications for the British Institute of Organ Studies, and a director of Cambridge Academy of Organ Studies.

As a performer, he is in regular demand as an organist and harpsichordist, both as a soloist and in chamber music, appearing in BBC Promenade Concerts as well as many international festivals. Current organ recitals include the Bornholm International Organ Festival (Denmark), St. Albans (annual meeting of the Institute of British Organ Builders), The Queen’s College, Oxford, St Botolph without Aldgate, London (English Restoration music on the restored 1702 Renatus Harris organ, plus the first performance of Edmund Jolliffe’s Quiet Rush), and King’s College, Cambridge. He has also played organ and harpsichord concertos and continuo with many professional orchestras consisting of both ‘modern’ and ‘period’ instruments, and has recorded for the BBC, Guild Records, ASV Gaudeamus, Hyperion, Nimbus, Riverrun and NPC Records.

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Selected Publications

In press

‘A Question of Genre’, in Shirley Thompson (ed.), New Perspectives on Marc-Antoine Charpentier(Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009)

Book Chapters, Journal Articles and Published Papers

‘Spirit of the Age’ [Tercentenary article on Buxtehude’s choral music], Choir & Organ, 15/3 (May/June 2007), 29-31

‘Touching the Past’, International Piano, 51 (May/June 2007), 20-23

‘Charpentier’s Messe pour plusieurs instruments au lieu des orgues (H 513)’, The Organ Yearbook, 33 (2004), 63-72

‘Towards a reappraisal of François Couperin’s organ masses’, Journal of the British Institute of Organ Studies, 27 (2003), 40-57

‘J. S. Bach and the Nature of French Influence’, The Organ Yearbook, 29 (2000), 59-74

‘Inégalité and Récits: Genre Studies in Seventeenth-Century French Organ Music’, The Organ Yearbook, 28 (1998/1999), 61-77

‘Unwriting the Unwritable’, Musical Times, 138 (April 1997), 24-26

‘The Organs of Gottfried Silbermann’, Choir & Organ (March 1997), 16-18, (May, 1997), 16-18, (July 1997), 22-24


Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber: Mystery (Rosary) Sonatas (Bologna: Ut Orpheus Edizioni, 2007)

preface to J. S. Bach, ‘48 Preludes & Fugues’ (Stowmarket: Kevin Mayhew, 2003)

Selected Recordings

The Father Smith/Robert Gray organ (1670/1775) at Dingestow Court (Riverrun, RVRCD 78, 2007)

Music from Croft Castle: the 1786 Samuel Green Chamber Organ (DRD 087, 2006)

Handel Recorder Sonatas with Alan Davis (recorder) (Guild Records GMCD 7301, 2006)

J. S. Bach: Clavierübung III (Guild Records: GMCD7262/3, 2003

J. S. Bach Violin Sonatas with Jacqueline Ross (violin) (3 CDs: ASV CD GAU 228, 308 and 345, 2001-02)

Parthenia (1612/13) (Riverrun Records: RVRCD 61, 2001)

Annus Mirabilis 1685: harpsichord music by J. S. Bach, Handel, Scarlatti, and Sandoni (first recorded performance) (NPC 003, 1999)

Vive le Roy: J. S. Bach’s French-inspired organ music together with their ‘supposed’ French models, Grigny, Couperin and Raison, from Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh (NPC 002, 1999)


David Ponsford is currently writing a monograph The French Organ in the reign of Louis XIV: Inspiring the Baroque from Couperin to J. S. Bach (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). He is also contributing a chapter on seventeenth-century performance practice for The Cambridge History of Musical Performance (CUP, 2009), and is collaborating with Professor Kenneth Gilbert on a new edition of the Livre d’orgue by Nicolas de Grigny for L’Oiseau-Lyre.

Selected Performances


The Queen's College, Oxford (Sweelinck 450th anniversary organ recital), 18 January 2012

King's College, Cambridge (organ music by J. S. Bach, Vierne, Liszt), 14 June 2008

Frauenkirche, Dresden (organ music by J. S. Bach, de Grigny), 19 April 2008

Holywell Music Room, Oxford (Oxford Organ Conference), 10 April 2008

Berkeley Castle, with the English String Orchestra (J. S. Bach Harpsichord Concerto in A), 2 December 2007

St Botolph without Aldgate, London (Restoration organ music plus world premiere of Edmund Jolliffe Quiet Rush), 24 November 2007

The Queen's College, Oxford (Buxtehude, Raison, J. S. Bach), 7 November 2007

Madingley Hall, Cambridge (harpsichord music by Buxtehude, Couperin, J. S. Bach), 29 September 2007

Bornholm International Organ Festival, Denmark (Buxtehude, J. S. Bach, Liszt), 11 August 2007