Dr David Ponsford
MA PhD FRCO ARCM
- Room 0.17, 37 Corbett Road
- Media commentator
I have developed a successful career by combining scholarship with the highest level of performance. My research has focused on keyboard music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and I regularly perform on harpsichord and organ as a soloist, with chamber ensembles, and many orchestras. For ten years I conducted the Chamber Orchestra at Cardiff University, where I lecture in notation and editing, performance practice, and supervise MA and PhD students. I also teach organ and harpsichord at Bristol University and regularly deliver weekend courses at Madingley Hall, University of Cambridge.
I was fortunate to be able to study organ with Peter Hurford, Lionel Rogg and Piet Kee, and harpsichord with Kenneth Gilbert and Gustav Leonhardt. On graduating from Cambridge, I was appointed Assistant Organist at Wells Cathedral. Later, I studied for a PhD on performance practice in French Baroque organ music with Professor Peter Williams.
In recent years, I have given concerts in Singapore, Poland, Germany, France, New York and Montreal, in addition to those in the UK such as organ recitals at King's College, Cambridge, Westminster Cathedral and the London Oratory, and harpsichord recitals in the Purcell Room, London, as well as various festivals. As a continuo player, I have played with many of the major UK chamber orchestras, and I now play regularly with Orchestra of the Swan and Armonico Consort. With Ex Cathedra I have appeared in festivals in Belgium, France, Finland, the BBC Proms, and made recordings on the ASV and Hyperion labels.
I am committed to continuing to perform, research and teach in order to bring a greater understanding of the music to as wide an audience as possible. For full details of my publications and recordings, please see my website.
- Madingley Hall Cambridge University
- McGill University Montreal
- Oxford University
- Bristol University
I have had a wide range of experience teaching organ and harpsichord at specialist music schools, conservatoires and universities, namely Wells Cathedral School, Bath Spa University, Birmingham Conservatoire and Bristol University. At Cardiff University my teaching has focused on lectures on Performance Practice, Notation and Editing, and on Handel's Messiah as the focus in the Full Works module.
As an organist and harpsichordist, my research has focused on historical performance practice. For my PhD, I researched the question of notes inegales in French Baroque organ music, during which time I realised that the standard narratives about French organ music in the reign of Louis XIV were misguided. Hence my book 'French Organ music in the reign of Louis XIV' (C.U.P., 2011), and articles on similar topics, is an attempt to write about the repertoire in a generic manner, rather than adopting the traditional composer-chronology format. My current project with Nimbus Records to record the essential repertoire on French historic organs is intended as a justification of ideas expressed in my book.
Future research projects are also based around performances. My recent acquisition of the 1766 Jacob Kirckman harpsichord will be the catalyst for a book on eighteenth-century English harpsichord music, accompanied by recordings. The pan-European recording project of early seventeenth-century Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, together with seven other harpsichordists from France, Germany and Switzerland, will be accompanied by a project to digitalise the manuscript to make it accessible on the internet.