Skip to content

July 2019


To get us started this month we thought we'd share some information about a delightful instrument you may not hear played very often - the fortepiano.

Fortepiano"The fortepiano is the earliest version of the modern piano. It was developed by a Italian harpsichord-maker named Bartolomeo Christofori, who was employed by the Medici family of Florence. Christofori seems to have produced the first of these instruments before 1700, and he continued to develop his great invention over many years.

Unlike the earlier harpsichord, the strings of the fortepiano were struck instead of plucked. The leather-covered hammers produced a sound whose volume could be varied depending upon how the keys were played. Christofori’s hammer mechanism was a brilliant innovation, one that would have a tremendous impact on music.

The fortepiano grew increasingly popular, ultimately displacing the harpsichord. The instrument’s octave range expanded, and continuing innovations provided damper mechanisms to sustain sound. Hand and knee pedals – rather than the foot pedals of a modern piano – were among these early enhancements.

The name fortepiano derives from the Italian words forte (strong or loud) and piano (soft or level), an indication of the range of sound that could be provided. The terms fortepiano and pianoforte were used interchangeably in the 18th century, although in time the shortened name piano became common.

The instrument evolved into the modern piano during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This evolution occurred, in large part, because of the industrial revolution – which produced the materials and methods needed to create big, solid, heavy instruments. Today, the name fortepiano is generally reserved to designate instruments built according to 18th-century specifications." ©2015 Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.

If you're interested in hearing the beautiful sound of the fortepiano be sure to join us for Nicholas Mathew's recital on Saturday 10 August – full details below.

Lunchtime Concerts

Season Two of the lunchtime concert series begins in just a few short weeks. We're thrilled to bring you a "bonus" concert a week earlier than the anticipated start date. On Friday 9 August, Brisbane trio Ensemble Q will be joined by Elizabeth Layton (violin) for a performance of Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time. Ensemble Q is Ensemble in Residence at Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University and run by co-Artistic Directors Paul Dean and Trish O'Brien. Gold Pass holders for season two or the full year will be granted free entry to the concert. General admission tickets are available to purchase for $14 at the door. Doors open at 12pm. The concert begins at 1:10pm, however we invite you to join us for a pre-concert talk with the performers from 12:15pm - 12:45pm. Please note, this concert may run 5-10 minutes longer than usual.

Please note that there is no mid-year bulk mail-out of concert series brochures. Information on the full year of concerts is now contained in the single brochure sent out at the beginning of the year. If you would like a new or replacement brochure please phone 8313 5286. The full line-up of concerts can also be viewed on the website.

Evening Concert

Nicholas MathewJoin us for treasured works from Beethoven and CPE Bach performed on the fortepiano by Nicholas Mathew. Educated at Oxford University, the Guildhall School of Music and Cornell University, Nicholas is now Associate Professor at UC Berkeley and a specialist in early pianos. He is the author of two books, Political Beethoven and The Invention of Beethoven and Rossini: Historiography, Criticism, Analysis, both published by Cambridge University Press.

This rare and intimate performance, informed by deep knowledge and insight of the repertoire, will be a special occasion not to miss.

Saturday 10 August, 6:30pm, Elder Hall
Tickets: Adult $25, Concession $20, Student $15, available by calling 8313 5286 or visiting

C. P. E. Bach Rondo in C minor from Kenner und Liebhaber V, Wq. 59 (1785)
Beethoven Piano Sonata in G, Op. 14 No. 2 (1798)
Beethoven Piano Sonata in E, Op. 14 No. 1 (1798)
C. P. E. Bach Free Fantasy in F from Kenner und Liebhaber V
Beethoven Piano Sonata in C minor, Op. 13 ("Pathétique") (1798)



Last Month's Winners

Evening Concert Giveaway: R. Stokes and R. Cuthbertson
Musica Viva Giveaway: C Parker and V Meng

Upcoming Concerts

Adelaide Guitar FestivalFriday 19 July, 7:00pm
Adelaide Guitar Festival

The Gathering

Mozart at ElderWednesday 24 July, 11:30am
Adelaide Symphony Orchestra

Mozart at Elder

Stephen KovacevichThursday 25 July, 7:00pm
International Piano Series

Stephen Kovacevich

Graduate SingersSaturday 27 July, 7:30pm
Graduate Singers

Beneath the Moon

Maz JobraniSunday 28 July, 6:00pm
Maz Jobrani

Peaceful Warrior

Fortepiano recitalSaturday 10 August, 6:30pm
Evening Concert

Fortepiano Recital

Visit our Venue Diary for a full listing of upcoming events.

Elder Conservatorium of Music


T: +61 8 8313 5286

Follow us:

Concert Series on Facebook  Concert Series on Twitter  Concert Series on YouTube