the Power of Music - David Ponsford (RVRCD78)
Dr David Ponsford
‘What one hears is a kaleidoscope of sound which combines virtuoso brilliance with scholarship’ (Musical Opinion).
This review of David Ponsford’s first solo recording (made on the organ at Wells Cathedral) has been a hallmark of his performances throughout his career. As an organist, harpsichordist and conductor, he has travelled all over Europe, to America and to the Far East. His solo recordings for harpsichord and organ have been acclaimed in the national press, and he is regarded as one of the foremost experts in the performance practice of Baroque music, matching skills as a performer with those of a scholar. He has recently recorded J. S. Bach’s Clavierübung Part 3 for Guild Records, Parthenia (virginal music by Byrd, Bull and Gibbons) for Riverrun Records, and J. S. Bach’s complete sonatas for violin and harpsichord with Jacqueline Ross for ASV Gaudeamus.
Born in Cardiff, South Wales, he won an exhibition to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he gained the Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists. Among his teachers, he studied organ with Peter Hurford, Lionel Rogg and Piet Kee, and with an Arts Council scholarship studied harpsichord with Kenneth Gilbert in Paris and Gustav Leonhardt in Amsterdam. More recently he held a Research Studentship at Cardiff University, where he was awarded a Ph.D for his doctoral dissertation in French Baroque organ music, studying with Professor Peter Williams. Currently he is the recipient of a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to write a book about French Baroque organ music for Cambridge University Press.
He began his career as Assistant Organist of Wells Cathedral, subsequently becoming conductor of Cheltenham Bach Choir where he directed many performances of major choral works by J. S. Bach, Handel and Monteverdi. Later, he served as an adviser to Yehudi Menuhin, for performances of Handel’s Messiah in France. He has played and recorded with many chamber orchestras and choirs in the UK, appearing in major European festivals including BBC Promenade Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. For Ex Cathedra’s recording of Charpentier’s Messe à quatre choeurs released by Hyperion in 2004, he recorded several organ improvisations in French Baroque style.
Presently, David Ponsford holds the post of Conductor of Cardiff University Chamber Orchestra, where he is also Associate Lecturer in Performance Practice. He has been invited to give lectures at Edinburgh, Belfast, Bristol and Cambridge Universities, and has published articles in The Organ Yearbook, Musical Times, Choir & Organ and the Journal of the British Institute of Organ Studies. In 2004 he was invited to lead the inaugural meeting of the Cambridge Academy of Organ Studies whose aim is to bridge the disciplines of scholarship and practical performance.