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Bessaraboff Prize Awarded to The Golden Age of Flemish Harpsichord Making

This year’s Bessaraboff Award was presented to Pascale Vandervellen and principal contributors Alexandra de Poortet, Stephanie Vaïedelich, Karel Moens, Marcel Vekemans, John Koster, Emily Akkermans, Patrick Storme, Steven Saverwyns, Marina van Bos, Sandie le Conte, Arjan Versteeg, Pascale Fraiture, Armelle Weitz, Philippe Gerrienne and Alain Anselm for The Golden Age of Flemish Harpsichord Making: a Study of the MIM's Ruckers Instruments (Brussels: Musical Instruments Museum, 2017, ISBN 13: 978-9-090-10838-4).

This collective effort of scholarship represents the culmination of sustained, original, wide-ranging research into the work and instruments of the Ruckers dynasty. Beautifully produced, generously illustrated and thoughtfully organized and presented, this  volume stands out both for the depth and breadth of material presented. Detailed, extended catalogue entries on each of the Ruckers instruments held in the Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels are complemented by insightful contextual essays that illuminate the world of harpsichord making, consumption and performance in the Low Countries and the representation of Ruckers instruments in paintings. The results of a range of scientific investigative techniques including dendrochronology, acoustics and materials analysis are lucidly interpreted and deployed to shed further light on this remarkable group of instruments. In bringing together and orchestrating their diverse expertise, the authors and collaborators have produced an impressive work where individual contributions amplify each other to create a cohesive whole that is more than the sum of its parts. All are to be commended for a significant and authoritative contribution to organological literature. 

2019 Bessaraboff Award Committee

Bradley Strauchen-Scherer (chair)

Stephen Cottrell

Stewart Carter


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