First performance on rare

1814 Butcher Square Piano

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SQUARE PIANO HIGHLIGHTS

CONNECTICUT EARLY MUSIC CONCERT

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(New London, CT) — The Connecticut Early Music Society (CEMS) will premiere a virtual concert celebrating the 1814 Thos. Butcher square piano on Sunday, April 18th at 3 pm. The square piano was recently donated to the New London Maritime Society (NLMS) by the Grady-Keith/ Keith Schumacher Family of Ledyard, Connecticut.
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Square pianos are keyboard instruments developed in the mid-18th century that enjoyed tremendous popularity in England, Europe, and America. They were owned by Jane Austen, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, among others. Square pianos aren’t actually square. They consist of a rectangular wooden case mounted on four legs with a shorter keyboard than today’s piano. Square pianos were gradually superseded by larger, more powerful instruments in the mid- 19th century. Fortunately, examples of early square pianos have survived, which allow the audience to hear music composed for them as it was intended to be heard.
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CEMS Artistic Director Ian Watson has programmed works composed in the same period as the instrument. The concert, recorded in the Custom House Maritime Museum, takes its cue from the nautical venue, and the music will be familiar to fans of Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey/Maturin novels. The concert features Ian Watson, square piano; Susanna Ogata, violin; and Guy Fishman, cello.  
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The program showcases both the fine instrument and the historic setting.
  • J. C. Bach, Sonata in D Major Opus 16, No 1 for Violin and Keyboard
  • Franz Josef Haydn, Duet for Violin & Cello in D major
  • Luigi Boccherini, Sonata for Cello and Keyboard in A major
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Variations on Rule Britannia
  • Boccherini, Duet for Violin and Cello
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The concert will be preceded by a lively conversation between Ian Watson and Susan Tamulevich, Museum Executive Director. “Viewers will enjoy our discussion of the two-hundred-year-old square piano, special concert program and the remarkable Custom House Maritime Museum,” says Watson.  
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 A first-time collaboration between Connecticut Early Music Society and New London Maritime Society, concert proceeds will benefit both organizations. Tickets are $65 and available at www.ctearlymusic.org The concert & conversation may be viewed by ticket holders until May 10th.
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Connecticut Early Music Society (CEMS), founded in 1982, promotes the knowledge and appreciation of Early Music in New London County and RI. CEMS presents concerts, lectures and festivals that feature Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and early Classical music performed in historically appropriate style.
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New London Maritime Society (NLMS) was founded 38 years ago for the preservation of New London’s 1833 US Custom House. Today NLMS runs the Custom House Maritime Museum and preserves and makes accessible three local historic sites: New London Harbor, Race Rock, and New London Ledge Lighthouses.
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Master piano technician Ken Huebner and pianist Aymeric Dupré la Tour
delivering the Thos. Butcher piano in September 2020

New London Maritime Society – local friendly authentic

Telling the stories of New London’s waterfront

& preserving four historic maritime sites

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Custom House Maritime Museum
150 Bank Street, New London, CT 06320 | 203-444-2884
Our doors are closed but we are open online | Visit us on social media and our website | Facebook | Instagram |NL HarborCam

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AAQ / Resource

Riverhead Ford | Riverhead Lincoln

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