CSI: Keyboards

The Sigal Music Museum will present a series of 5 free lectures from November 2019 – February 2021 titled “CSI: Keyboards” that will engage the public in learning about the history of musical instruments, instrument makers, musicians and their historical time periods, and more. The first program will take place virtually on November 22, 2020. SC Humanities supported this programming with a Major Grant.

Through this innovative lecture series, the Sigal Music Museum curator and other humanities scholars will discuss the restoration process for several historic keyboard instruments that are part of the significant Sigal Collection bequeathed to the museum in 2019. The programs will touch on the humanities disciplines of art history, music history, and historical research.

The first lecture is titled “Conservation Conversation – Early Pianos” and will be an introduction to the various approaches to the early piano as a musical instrument, the display and conservation of early pianos, and the disposition of pianos being investigated throughout the series. Program details are below.

Conservation Conversation – Early Pianos
Speakers: John Watson, Tom Strange, Alexandra Cade
When: November 22, 2020, from 3-5 pm
Cost: Free
Platforms: Facebook Live & Zoom
Sign-Up for Zoom Webinar Here
Watch on Facebook Live Here

Materials Matter
A deep dive into unique piano case craftsmanship and furniture making, the metals and leathers compatible with early pianos, and the decorative place in the early American home.
When: Sunday, December 13 from 3-5 pm
Cost: Free
Platforms: Facebook Live & Zoom
Sign-Up for Zoom Webinar Here
Watch on Facebook Live Here 

The Sole Survivor 
In our third installment of the CSI: Keyboards lecture series, Sigal Music Museum will investigate the Johann Ehrlich grand piano, made circa 1815. Ehrlich was born in Jauer, Poland in 1782 and died in Vienna in 1832. Both Ehrlich and his son August were victims of the cholera epidemic. He was survived by his wife Josepha and seven children, none old enough to take up their family work. Reports from Vienna at that time indicate that his pianos were well thought of although he was a small-scale builder, making perhaps 4 or 5 instruments a year. It is estimated that he made about 100 pianos in his lifetime, such that perhaps one or two more will someday surface as survivors. The featured piano is the only known surviving instrument by Ehrlich and is in a state of advanced decay, but retains all of its original elements with no previous restorations.
When: Sunday, January 24th from 3:00 – 5:00pm 
Cost: Free
Platforms: Facebook Live & Zoom

Beautiful but Broken
In our fourth and final installment of the CSI: Keyboards lecture series, we will be investigating the John Isaac Hawkins upright piano, formerly in the Broadwood collection of early pianos in London. Hawkins was never a major piano builder and the three surviving known Hawkins pianos may constitute a high percentage of all that he ever made. He is important as an innovator and is credited with being among the first people to ever envision and make an upright piano, where the strings start near the floor and prevent the case from appearing to be ungainly tall and awkward. Thomas Jefferson was his first client for this piano style, and the Jefferson piano is in the Smithsonian. The remaining two known Hawkins pianos are in the Sigal Collection
When: Sunday, February 21st  from 3:00 – 5:00pm 
Cost: Free
Platforms: Facebook Live & Zoom

For questions, contact the museum at info@sigalmusicmuseum.org or call 864-520-8807.

The Sigal Music Museum is also currently open to the public with an exhibit featuring the Sigal Collection on display. Sensational Sigal is a debut of select pieces from the late Marlowe A. Sigal’s renowned 700-instrument private collection dating from the 16th century. More information about the Sigal Music Museum can be found on their website at: https://sigalmusicmuseum.org/.

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 21-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.