A Brief History of the BCS

The Boston Clavichord Society was founded in 1995 “to promote understanding and appreciation of the clavichord among musicians and the general public.” Alan Durfee, Peter Sykes, and Beverly Woodward were the co-founders. At the initial exploratory meeting the name “Boston Clavichord Society” was chosen, with the understanding that the society would seek friends and supporters across the U.S. and beyond. As the minutes of this meeting record, “the focus of the society would be the clavichord: study of the instrument and the music written for it, presentation of performances on the clavichord, and the examination of other areas of interest connected with the clavichord.” By March 1995, the BCS was incorporated and registered with the state of Massachusetts and by December of the same year it had received provisonal tax-exempt status from the IRS (now no longer provisional).

The first public presentation by the society was at the Boston Early Music Festival on June 16, 1995: an open meeting in which Alan Durfee, the first president of the BCS, gave a lecture on the clavichord followed by discussion of the society’s plans. On June 18, Peter Sykes gave a well-attended recital—using several clavichords—at the French Cultural Center and Library.

Since then, the society has presented numerous concerts (now generally four each season), as well as master classes, lectures, “Clavichord Days,” “Clavichord Weekends,” and clavichord demonstrations at music schools and elsewhere. The society has participated in many Boston Early Music Festivals.

The society has a biannual publication. In 2004, it was renamed Tangents: The Bulletin of the Boston Clavichord Society. The first editor was Alan Durfee. The present editor is Beverly Woodward. The bulletin contains both clavichord-related news and scholarly explorations of clavichord-related topics. It is currently received and catalogued by libraries at twenty-six colleges, universities and conservatories. The society also distributes a set of pamphlets intended to familiarize newcomers with various aspects of the clavichord.

From the outset, the society has had a website. The website is at: www.bostonclavichord.org. The webmaster is Paul Monsky. To contact him, please use our Contact form. The site includes information about the current concert season, a builders’ directory, a discography of available clavichord CDs, information about the society’s bulletin, audio samples of clavichord performances, and links to clavichord-related sites.

Friends of the BCS are currently found in twenty-eight states, as well as in Canada and several European countries. The society maintains ties with other clavichord societies in Europe and makes available to its friends the opportunity to subscribe to Clavichord International and to The British Clavichord Society Newsletter.

The BCS has a nine-member Board of Directors as well as a Board of Artistic Advisors. The current president of the BCS is Peter Sykes. Christa Rakich is vice-president.

A copy of a more detailed history of the society’s first fifteen years can be requested from the society.

~ Beverly Woodward


Benefits include:

•  Our Bulletin, published biannually in the spring and the fall.

•  Reduced price admission to BCS-sponsored events.

•  The opportunity to subscribe to Clavichord International, the international magazine for the clavichord, and also The Newsletter of the British Clavichord Society, and pay in U.S. currency. (Details are available from the address below.)

•  Ready access through our bulletin and website to other clavichord enthusiasts, builders, players, teachers, and researchers and to information about recording releases and new developments in the clavichord world.

How does one join the Boston Clavichord Society?

The annual contribution for Friends of the Boston Clavichord Society is $20 (or $10 for the bulletin alone). Please send your name, address, and telephone number (and email address, if you wish) to: The Boston Clavichord Society, P.O. Box 540484, Waltham, MA 02454.

For further information, contact the coordinator, Beverly Woodward, or any member of the Board of Directors.

Clavichord after Hoffmann (1784) made by Chickering and Sons, Boston, under the direction of Arnold Dolmetsch; No. 31, 1908.
Dolmetsch (1858-1940), one of the pioneers of the early music revival, made clavichords, harpsichords, and other instruments as director of a special department at the Chickering and Sons piano factory on Tremont Street in Boston between 1905 and 1910.

Board of Directors

•  Peter Sykes, President
•  Christa Rakich, Vice President
•  Beverly Woodward, Coordinator/Treasurer
    and Editor of Tangents

•  Paul Monsky, Assistant Treasurer
•  Paul Rabin, Clerk
•  Elizabeth Harris, Assistant Clerk
•  Margaret Angelini
•  Tim Hamilton
•  David Schulenberg

Board of Artistic Advisors

•  Joan Benson
•  Clifford Boehmer
•  Bernard Brauchli
•  Lynn Edwards Butler
•  Christopher Hogwood (1941-2014)
•  Margaret Irwin-Brandon
•  Mark Kroll
•  Darcy Kuronen
•  William Porter
•  Howard Schott (1925-2005)