2013 Colonial Willamsburg Joint Conference

DSC_7000 Society to Meet in Williamsburg, May 30-June 1, 2013.


The 2013 HKSNA meeting will be held jointly with the American Musical Instrument Society in historic Colonial Williamsburg. Themed “Roots of American Musical Life,” the presentations cover wide-ranging topics.

After the American Revolution, the capitol of Virginia moved to Richmond, saving Williamsburg from the urban transformation of other capital cities. Restored to its eighteenth-century character, Colonial Williamsburg has 88 original buildings and extensively researched reconstructions of others, including the magnificent Governor’s Palace and the capitol building itself. The world’s first and largest living history museum, the town lives up to its motto, “That the Future may Learn from the Past.”

Come early and stay late to experience the colonial city with its architecture, historic trades, and character actors interpreting the Founding Fathers and Mothers from Williamsburg’s past. Enjoy the cultural enrichments and diversions of the colonial capitol, including instrumental and vocal music and dance.

Discover also one of the nation’s principal museums of eighteenth-century Anglo-American life and art, serving as venue for some of the sessions and concerts. The backdrop for the meeting is a major new exhibit entitled “Changing Keys: Keyboard Instruments for America 1700−1830. (See photos at http://www.jrw1.com/CK/gallery/). Twenty-eight spinets, harpsichords, organs, and square and grand pianos are featured, most exhibited for the first time. The exhibit traces the transition from harpsichord to piano and the early-nineteenth-century struggle for independence from the British monopoly on musical instruments towards the early burgeoning of the American keyboard industry.

For much more about Colonial Williamsburg, its programs, history, museums, buildings and publications, go to www.History.org.




The collection in Williamsburg focuses on instruments of all types known in colonial America through the early Federal era. A particular strength in keyboard instruments resulted from a succession of music consultants, conservators and curators from that specialty, beginning in the 1930s with Lotta van Buren and Ralph Kirkpatrick. An early catalyst in America’s colonial revival phenomenon, Colonial Williamsburg also participated in the early music revival, evolving through decades of changing approaches to eighteenth-century music for current audiences.




Palace BallroomThree evening concerts will celebrate the heritage of music in early America, which drew from the best English, Continental, and domestic composers. The first will be held in the elegant candle-lit ballroom of the Governor’s Palace with The Governor’s Musick, Colonial Williamsburg’s resident performing ensemble. The program will include selections by composers whose music was listed for sale in Virginia and throughout the colonies in the eighteenth century.

Night two features “A Monticello Miscellany or ‘All that was good of its kind.’” Join Joe Gascho and his ensemble of seven musicians performing music for domestic entertainment from the library of Thomas Jefferson and his family. This early-evening concert will be followed by the annual banquet.

The conference closes in style with “Music at Home: Fifty Years of Gathering at the Piano” with forte-pianist Andrew Willis and featuring his ensemble on piano, violin, flute and cello in music of European an early American composers.

Williamsburg, VA / May 30 - June 2, 2013

The Roots of American Musical Life