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Abell Keyboard Gallery

2014 Meeting of
The Historical Keyboard Society of North America
Four Centuries of Masterpieces:
Keyboards and Their Music

Hosted by
The National Music Museum
on the Campus of the University of South Dakota
Vermillion, SD
May 14 to 17, 2014

Registration Form

The 2014 HKSNA meeting will be hosted by National Music Museum in Vermillion, South Dakota, May 14th to 17th. Inspired by the breadth of the NMM's superlative collection of historical keyboard instruments, the theme "Four Centuries of Masterpieces: Keyboards and Their Music" will be celebrated in a dazzling series of events over three days and four nights. Featured performances by internationally renowned artists will explore repertoire and instruments spanning the centuries from the early 1500s to the mid-1800s.

Founded in 1973 on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, the National Music Museum is one of the great institutions of its kind in the world. Its renowned collections, which include more than 15,000 American, European, and non-Western instruments from virtually all cultures and historical periods, are the most inclusive anywhere. The NMM is a partnership between the USD, which provides staff and facilities for preservation, teaching, and research, and the Board of Trustees of the NMM, a non-profit corporation that is responsible for acquisitions, public exhibiting, and programming. The Museum's meteoric rise to world-class status has attracted international attention, and each year it attracts thousands of visitors and researchers who make the journey to Vermillion from all fifty states and many other countries.

The NMM is housed in a 20,000 square-foot, climate-controlled building in which where 1,100 representative instruments are exhibited in nine galleries. The Museum's Arne B. Larson Concert Hall, where many of the HKSNA events will take place, has superb acoustics, providing an ideal ambience for performances on historical instruments.

The meeting will begin on Wednesday evening with a reception followed by pianist Stephanie Gurga's program of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century fantasies, and proceedings will conclude on Saturday evening with a banquet after which harpsichordist James Richman will perform eighteenth-century works on the NMM's well-known but newly refurbished harpsichord by Jacques Germain, Paris, 1785. Thursday evening will showcase Chilean-born artist Catalina Vicens playing the NMM's splendid sixteenth-century Neapolitan harpsichord. On Friday evening harpsichordist Byron Schenkman will perform works of seventeenth-century masters on instruments of the period.

Daytime events will be no less impressive, with an outstanding array of mini-recitals, papers, and lecture-recitals. A panoply of special presentations will include a keynote address by Laurence Libin, Editor-in-Chief of the new Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments and emeritus curator of musical instruments at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Performances on instruments in the NMM collection will be given by such esteemed musicians as Karen Flint, Robert Parkins, Gregory Crowell, and Frances Fitch.

A themed session on Friday morning will provide in-depth consideration of Domenico Scarlatti's sonatas. After lunch, the theme will be taken up by USD's own Susanne Skyrm playing works by Scarlatti and Iberian composers influenced him. The afternoon will conclude with a recital by Spanish harpsichordist Luisa Morales performing works of Scarlatti and Jean-Philippe Rameau. Friday morning will center around C.P.E. Bach in observation of the three-hundredth anniversary year of his birth.

In addition to the Neapolitan and Germain harpsichords, other superb instruments in the NMM collection to be featured in performance include harpsichords by Giacomo Ridolfi, Rome, about 1675, José Calisto, Portugal, 1780, and Joseph Kirckman, London, 1798; spinets by Charles Haward, London, 1689, and J.H. Silbermann, Strasbourg, 1785; clavichords by an anonymous Swede, about 1780, J.P. Kraemer & Sons, Göttingen, 1804, and Henric Johan Söderström, Stockholm, 1815; a Tangentenflügel by Spath & Schmahl, Regensburg, 1784; and grand pianos by Manuel Antunes, Lisbon, 1767, Anton Martin Thym, Vienna, about 1815, and John Broadwood & Sons, London, about 1857.


Early registration fees (postmarked or received by e-mail or fax by April 15) are: Student, $155; Regular, $215; National Music Museum member, $190. After April 15 the fees are: Student, $190; Regular, $250; National Music Museum member, $225. Registration will include admission to the NMM, all meeting sessions and recitals, receptions, refreshments, and the banquet.

Link to Registration Form


Instrument makers, publishers, authors, recording artists, and others are encouraged to bring items for other attendees to see, hear, and play. There will be no charge for exhibiting, but please make arrangements in advance by e-mailing John Koster before April 15 so that suitable space can be reserved. Plenty of free time is included in the schedule for visiting the exhibits.


Vermillion is served by one bed & breakfast and by five motels, most within reasonable walking distance of the NMM. Rates are generally competitive. Click here for links to make inquiries and reservations.

Traveling to Vermillion

Vermillion is about equidistant between regional airports in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Sioux City, Iowa, each an easy hour's drive away. Also a possibility, offering more flights and often more competitive fares, is Omaha, Nebraska, an easy two-and-a-quarter hour drive. Sioux Falls (FSD) is served by Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, and United; Sioux City (SUX) by American; and Omaha (OMA) by Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, United, and US Airways. Attendees flying American Airlines or American Eagle can receive a 5% discount by using group discount code 4554BZ online at This code is valid for travel to Sioux Falls or Sioux City from May 11 through 20, 2014.

Major rental car companies operate at all three airports, but there is no regular shuttle bus or car service between them and Vermillion. Taxi fare one way from Sioux Falls is approximately $140. Options for meeting attendees to set up ride sharing will be posted when available.

©National Music Museum, 2014
Most recent update: April 2, 2014

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