David Ponsford - Organist, Hapsichordist, Musicologist Back background



David Ponsford has developed a distinguished and successful career by combining scholarship with the highest level of performance. He is an acknowledged authority on the keyboard music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and regularly performs on harpsichord or organ as a soloist, with chamber ensembles and many orchestras. He conducts the Chamber Orchestra at Cardiff University, where he also lectures in performance practice and supervises MA and PhD students. David also teaches organ and harpsichord at Bristol University and regularly delivers weekend courses at Madingley Hall, University of Cambridge.  

In performing and teaching he aims to combine executant skill with intellectual understanding, to bring the music alive with authority and meaning.  

Following the publication in 2011 by Cambridge University Press of his book ‘French Organ Music in the Reign of Louis XIV’, he is currently engaged by Nimbus Records to record a series of CDs of the essential French Baroque organ repertoire on historic French organs, of which the first three CDs have been released and have met with critical acclaim. Future releases will include a recording of Nivers and Lebégue from Auch Cathedral, and in 2015 David will be both recording the complete organ works of Nicolas de Grigny and producing a new edition of his Livre d'orgue for Ut Orpheus, Bologna.  

David held the Greenwood Exhibition at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and while there served as Organ Scholar and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. He was extremely 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, he was appointed Assistant Organist at Wells Cathedral. Later, he studied for a PhD on performance practice in French Baroque organ music with Professor Peter Williams.  

In addition to the French organ series, recordings include Bach's complete violin sonatas with Jacqueline Ross, ‘Parthenia’ (1612), J. S. Bach's Clavierübung Part 3, the complete Handel recorder sonatas with Alan Davis, and a recital of early seventeenth-century English songs and keyboard music with his son, Simon Ponsford (countertenor).  

In recent years, he has 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, David has played with many of the major UK chamber orchestras and choral societies, and now plays regularly with Orchestra of the Swan and Armonico Consort. With Ex Cathedra he has appeared in festivals in Belgium, France, Finland, the BBC Proms, and made recordings on the ASV and Hyperion labels.  

David has been Publications Officer for the British Institute of Organ Studies, and together with Anne Page he founded the Cambridge Academy of Organ Studies. His edition of Biber's Mystery Sonatas was published in 2007 by Ut Orpheus, Bologna, after a BBC broadcast of these pieces with Baroque violinist Micaela Comberti. He is regularly asked to contribute reviews and articles to range of journals, among them Choir & Organ.  

David is 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.