Renowned harpsichordist comes to University

Harpsichordist, John Paul, will be performing a recital today at 7:30 p.m. in Jones Recital Hall. Paul will be playing music from Handel, Dowland, Haydn, Scarlatti and Rameau.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for non-JBU students and free for JBU students with a student ID.

Every four to five years, Paul is invited to play his harpsichord at John Brown University. Since the harpsichord is not widely known, it gives people a chance to discover what it is, said Jan Lauderdale, Artist Series events coordinator.

“He always invites the students to come up and play,” said Lauderdale, explaining that it is likely students will again be invited to play the harpsichord after the recital.

Paul is a native to Lyme Regis, England. There he taught himself the harpsichord until the age of 18, when he was accepted to the Royal Academy of Music in London. After earning performance diplomas from the Royal Academy of Music and an honors degree from the University of London, he moved to Jackson, Miss.

In Jackson, he became the organist and choirmaster at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral, where he has served for over 50 years.

Since the 1980s, Paul has toured as a harpsichordist. He has performed concerts, workshops and informances, or informative performances, in the United States, South America and Europe.

He is a musician in every sense of the word, said Lauderdale.

John Paul was awarded the prestigious Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts by the Mississippi Arts Commission in 2002.

A harpsichord is an instrument that can play on the bass and treble clef like a piano. Unlike a piano, a harpsichord plucks the strings. Plucking the strings gives it gives it a “bright vibrant feel,” said Ethan Zuck, a senior philosophy and music major. A piano, on the other hand, has hammers that hit the strings instead of plucking them.

The harpsichord is an instrument that is not used frequently, but “it is the precursor to the piano,” said Lauderdale.

“Around the time of Beethoven is when the switch was made,” said Lauderdale.

Zuck said that it is a wonderful experience to listen to a harpsichord, and this recital provides an opportunity that students might not get otherwise.

Jones Recital Hall is an intimate setting, which is preferred for the harpsichord because it is a quieter instrument, said Lauderdale.

“Paul is a master with a wide repertoire,” said Lauderdale.

“We are so pleased to provide such a unique musical opportunity to our community.”