Jane Chapman

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Chapman has been called hip and progressive, well-meaning descriptions that hardly convey the depth and scope of her artistry.
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Harpsichordist Jane Chapman has been called hip and progressive, well-meaning descriptions that hardly convey the depth and scope of her artistry. Her advocacy of contemporary music, which has included performing a fair number of electro-acoustic compositions as well as scores using visual and aural effects, undoubtedly accounts for these trendy sorts of labels. But Chapman is quite dedicated and serious in her artistry, whether in contemporary music by Elliott Carter and Louis Andriessen or in Renaissance-era and Baroque fare. Her readings of J.S. Bach keyboard music are as critically acclaimed as her Berio or Górecki. Chapman has premiered over 200 compositions (many written specifically for her), collected and edited music for two issues of Contemporary Music Review, and written numerous articles for other music publications. She has regularly concertized throughout England, especially in London (South Bank), Europe, and the U.S., and has appeared on BBC Radio 3 and a variety of international broadcasts. She regularly plays in or with various ensembles, including Keynote+ (with pianist Kate Ryder), Composers Ensemble, Exposé, Rout, and several others. Chapman is also professor of harpsichord at the Royal College of Music in London. Her recordings are available on NMC, Mode, Sargasso, Argo, Collins Classics, and Dark Energy Music.

Jane Chapman was born in London in 1961. Her father and grandfather were clarinetists. In her youth Chapman played both the harpsichord and cello. She studied music at the Dartington College of Arts and Royal College of Music. She had further studies with Ton Koopman at the Amsterdam Conservatory.

Chapman first focused on Renaissance-era and Baroque works and by the 1990s was making a series of acclaimed recordings for the Collins Classics label. One of these, The Lady's Banquet, Vol. 1, a collection of early 18th century harpsichord works, was selected as a top recording for 1995 by BBC Music Magazine.

By then Chapman had already become interested in contemporary music, and in the late '90s she made a series of recordings for Sargasso Records. Among them were Elegant Enigmas (1999), with music by Daniel Biro, and Frantic Mid-Atlantic (1999), featuring works by Evelyn Ficarra.

In the new century Chapman has had a spate of successful recordings, and her concerts -- often performed as part of a project -- have drawn critical acclaim. In November 2009 she launched her Wired 2 project, inspired by her NMC CD Wired (issued February 2009). Wired 2 featured harpsichord music with electronics and dance.