Alan Curtis (harpsichordist, musicologist, and conductor)

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Alan Curtis (November 17, 1934 – July 15, 2015) was an American harpsichordist, musicologist, and conductor of baroque opera.

Born in Mason, Michigan, Curtis did graduate studies at the University of Illinois, and received his PhD in 1960, with a dissertation on the keyboard music of Sweelinck. He then relocated to Amsterdam to work with Gustav Leonhardt, with whom he subsequently recorded a number of the Bach concerti for multiple harpsichords. In the 1960s and 1970s, he made a number of recordings of solo harpsichord music, including albums dedicated to the keyboard music of Rameau and the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, such as his recording of the Goldberg Variations made on a 1728 Christian Zell harpsichord.

Following an academic career divided between UC Berkeley and Europe, Curtis devoted his time to performing dramatic music from Monteverdi to Mozart. As a student in the 1950s, he was the first modern harpsichordist to examine problems surrounding Louis Couperin's unmeasured preludes for harpsichord, to commission the first modern copy of a chitarrone and the first chromatic (split-key) harpsichord constructed in the 20th century. He also researched operas from the baroque and pre-baroque eras, using period instruments and authentic choreography.

In the late 1970s, Curtis founded the European ensemble Il Complesso Barocco, with which he made a number of commercial recordings for such labels as Virgin Classics, Deutsche Grammophon (Archiv), and Deutsche Harmonia Mundi.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1989 Goldberg-Variationen, BWV 988 Johann Sebastian Bach; Alan Curtis 1
1995 Libro VI delli Madrigali a 5 Voci, 1613 Carlo Gesualdo; Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis 1
2001 Arminio Handel; Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis, Vivica Genaux, Geraldine McGreevy, Dominique Labelle 1
2006 Motezuma Vivaldi; Vito Priante, Marijana Mijanovic, Roberta Invernizzi, Maite Beaumont, Romina Basso, Inga Kalna, Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis 1
2007 Floridante Handel; Marijana Mijanovic, Joyce DiDonato, Roberta Invernizzi, Vito Priante, Sharon Rostorf-Zamir, Riccardo Novaro, Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis 1
2008 Tolomeo Handel; Ann Hallenberg, Karina Gauvin, Anna Bonitatibus, Romina Basso, Pietro Spagnoli, Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis 1
2011 Ezio Gluck; Alan Curtis, Il Complesso Barocco 1
2012 Drama Queens Joyce DiDonato & Alan Curtis 1
2012 Giulio Cesare (Lemieux, Gauvin, Curtis, Il Complesso Barocco) George Frideric Handel, Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis 1
2013 Hidden Handel Handel; Ann Hallenberg, Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis 1
"Floridante" George Frideric Handel; Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Alan Curtis, Catherine Robbin, Linda Maguire, Nancy Argenta, Ingrid Attrot, Mel Braun 1
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cembalokonzert d-moll / Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach: Doppelkonzert F-dur für 2 Cembali, 2 Hörner, Streicher und B.c. Johann Sebastian Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach; Gustav Leonhardt, Alan Curtis, Collegium Aureum 1

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
J.S. Bach - Suite Inglesi & Francesi Alan Curtis 1

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