Joan Benson visits Indiana University
Tangents/The Bulletin of the Boston Clavichord Society, Fall 2007
by Wendy Gillespie, Chair of Early Music
In early October, at the invitation of the Dean of the Jacobs School of Music and the urging of several Bloomington friends, Joan Benson emerged from her peaceful life in Oregon for two weeks of intense involvement with gifted keyboard students at the Early Music Institute of Indiana University.
Joan had been kind enough to locate a fine Dolmetsch-Chickering clavichord for Indiana to use in her classes and lessons. Keyboard technician David Jensen prepared it on short notice, and also offered a clavichord of his own making.
The students’ first exposure to this unfamiliar keyboard instrument and its special playing technique left many heads spinning. The intensity of Joan’s teaching opened the students’ minds to a reconsideration of all their keyboard playing. As anyone familiar with the “terroriste of the pianissimo” can attest, a lesson with Joan Benson is never a neutral or passive experience!
As part of her visit, Benson was featured in a nine-hour video, scheduled to be condensed and released. It shows her in action with talented students and in discussions with colleagues concerning the clavichord and her fascinating career.