Harpsichordist and conductor Trevor Pinnock is one of the leading figures on the international period-instrument scene, with numerous recordings to his credit both as a soloist and as leader of the English Concert, the period instrument group he founded.
Pinnock was a singer in the boys choir at Canterbury Cathedral, where his musical education began. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London. At the time he studied there it was becoming increasingly recognized that the common performing traditions of Classical Era and Baroque music had been very much altered from their original starting point by later changes in musical tastes, particularly those of the Romantic Era.
One of Pinnock's areas of study was authentic performance style, which was being rediscovered by study of treatises on playing, ornamentation, and interpretation written during the relevant period. in addition to other evidence. Many recitalists had used instruments built in Bach's or Haydn's time and restored to the conditions prevalent in that era, but there was a wide-spread feeling that either these instruments were inferior to their modern descendants, or that their players were not up to the standards of the colleagues who used regular instruments.
Pinnock and others recognized that the sounds of these instruments differed, often in striking ways, from today¹s models and that an orchestra of these instruments was necessary to recapture the composers' intended sound. In 1973 Pinnock founded the English Concert, one of the first period instrument ensembles, selecting players who had studied and mastered the special techniques needed to play them at a professional level.
Since then, he has led the Concert in several dozen recordings on Deutsche Grammophon's "Archiv" label, winning many prizes and other international recognition. Her has been their music director throughout its entire existence. Their recordings include the complete Mozart symphonies, leading Baroque operas and oratorios, Haydn Masses and oratorios, and symphonies, concertos, and orchestral music of Purcell, Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, and many others.
In addition, he has conducted many of the world's major standard instrument symphony orchestras. He also has an interest in contemporary music, and has recorded Poulenc's harpsichord concerto. From 1991 to 1996 he was Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Canada¹s National Arts Centre Orchestra, Ottawa, which specializes in contemporary Canadian music. He plays a two-manual harpsichord built by D.J. Way in 1985. ~ Joseph Stevenson