Philadelphia native Sylvia Berry has performed extensively at home and abroad as a soloist and chamber musician. Her debut CD on the Acis label– a disc of Haydn’s “London Sonatas” recorded on an 1806 Broadwood restored by Dale Munschy – was hailed by Early Music America as “A wonderful debut that augurs more wonders to a come." She was also described in this review as “a complete master of the rhetoric throughout, whether in the driving passagework of the allegros or the cantabile adagios.” A review in Fanfare stated, “To say that Berry plays these works with vim, vigor, verve, and vitality, is actually a bit of an understatement.” Ms. Berry specializes in performing on early keyboard instruments (fortepiano, harpsichord) as well as the performance practices of the 18th and early 19th centuries. She is known not only for her exciting performances, but for her engaging commentary about the music and the instruments she plays. Benjamin Dunham of Early Music America stated: “… [she] revealed a poetic sensibility and a willingness to draw listeners in with spaces to pause and reflect. These qualities contrasted nicely with up-tempo movements, which were handled with verve.”
Her new ensemble, The Berry Collective, will feature a rotating cast of some of today’s best performers in the field of Early Music. They are musicians who perform in orchestras such as The Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Tafelmusik, A Far Cry, and others. The focus will be on music from Schobert (a little-known German composer working in France whose music was very influential to composers such as Mozart and Boccherini) to Schubert, a beloved titan whose music shines forth with new brilliance when performed on historical instruments. The Berry Collective is now able to receive tax-deductible donations through Fractured Atlas, and plans for the 2015-16 are underway.
Highlights of past performances include appearances on the Fringe Series of the Utrecht Early Music Festival (The Netherlands); the Benton Fletcher Collection at Fenton House (London); “Drive Time Live” on WGBH Radio; the Cambridge Society for Early Music Candlelight Series; the Connecticut Early Music Festival; the Portland (ME) Early Music Festival. She is also active as a writer, penning numerous sets of CD liner notes as well as articles for magazines and journals such as Early Music America, Keyboard Perspectives (the yearbook of the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies) and the Journal of European Piano Teachers Association: Netherlands Edition. Ms. Berry studied at the New England Conservatory, the Oberlin Conservatory (where she received an MM in historical keyboard instruments and historical performance practice), and the Royal Conservatory in The Hague.