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Elizabeth de la Porte (Harpsichord)

Born: 1941 - Johannesburg, South Africa

The South African harpsichordist, Elizabeth de la Porte, studied at the Kingsmead College in Johannesburg. She won the University of South Africa’s Overseas Scholarship on the strength of her playing of Bach's C minor Partita. This led her to the Vienna Academy and the Royal College of Music in London and to private teaching from Jane Clark and Rafael Puyana.

Elizabeth de la Porte has long been recognised as a harpsichordist of unusual talent and personality. At the time of her original London appearances The Daily Telegraph described her as ‘a mind that contemplates and acts imaginatively on intimate stylistic knowledge’ - and her playing achieves a happy synthesis of authenticity and imagination. Then, as now, meticulous scholarship is not for her the goal, but rather the starting point from which to encompass the expressive scope of the music - its drama, brilliance or poetry. She has had deepest affinities for J.S. Bach and François Couperin since her childhood in Johannesburg.

During the 1970's Elizabeth de la Porte appeared in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, as well as the UK and her native South Africa. She made appearances on BBC television. She played all Bach's French Suites (BWV 812-817) at a special series at St John’s, Smith Square, London and she set something of a record for the 1970's by selling out the Purcell Room for an all F. Couperin recital. For her concluding appearances of that period, in Vienna, Geneva and London, she concentrated on J.S. Bach’s Six Partitas (BWV 825-830).

Elizabeth de la Porte has been harpsichord tutor at Morley College in London since 1968, and teacher at the Royal College of Music (Junior Department) in London since 1964. She is married to Paul Dawson-Bowling, a doctor, and has three children. Hobbies: travel, literature, cooking, languages. She lives in Faversham in East Kent.


Source: London Independent Records Website; International Who's Who in Music & International Directory (6th Edition, 1972)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2007)

Elizabeth de la Porte: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

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Last update: ýNovember 11, 2008 ý15:30:28