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     Skip Sempé, virtuoso harpsichordist, director and founder of Capriccio Stravagante, is at the forefront of today’s musical personalities in Renaissance and Baroque music. Sempé grew up in New Orleans, studied music, musicology, organology and the history of art in the United States at the Oberlin Conservatory and completed his training in Europe with Gustav Leonhardt in Amsterdam. His distinctive harpsichord playing, musicianship and interpretive flair were immediately recognized as the invention of an exotic, multi-dimensional and uncompromising musical personality. Sempé remained in Europe to embark on his own pioneering reconsideration of well and lesser-known repertoire ranging from 1500-1750.

Capriccio Stravagante now incorporates the chamber ensemble, the Capriccio Stravagante Orchestra, the Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra and Capriccio Stravagante Opera. The diverse vocal and instrumental formations of Capriccio Stravagante feature the finest European, American and Canadian musicians. Since the beginning, the magic combination of nonchalance and power which are the trademarks of Skip Sempé and Capriccio Stravagante’s live and recorded performances has been rewarded with outstanding critical praise worldwide.
As a solo performer, Sempé has focused on developing a superb sense of idiomatic harpsichord touch and a finely tuned ear for achieving variation in the instrument’s sonority. Performing and recording on the world’s most prestigious harpsichords, made by Ruckers, Skowroneck, Kennedy and Sidey, Skip Sempé is particularly known for his interpretations of the French classical harpsichord literature including Chambonnières, d’Anglebert, Forqueray, Louis and François Couperin and Rameau, for his adventurous and ground-breaking Bach and Scarlatti, and for the earlier virginalist repertoire of Byrd and his contemporaries. Solo performances from Seattle to Tokyo – including recitals at the Festivals of La Roque d’Antheron and Urbino, dedication concerts for the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Chateau de Versailles – as well as harpsichord master classes for the Leipzig Bach Festival, the Berkeley Early Music Festival, Stanford University, Mc Gill University and the University of Montreal have attracted a particularly enthusiastic following. Prizewinning recordings include Pavana – The Virgin Harpsichord, featuring Elizabethan music for one, two and three harpsichords with Olivier Fortin and Pierre Hantaï.
He collaborates regularly with the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, from performances to recording co-productions, serving the common goal of promoting French repertoire for harpsichord, chamber and orchestral forces. This ongoing relationship has contributed to Skip Sempe’s reputation as one of the major interpreters of French Baroque music.
Skip Sempé combines the rare synthesis of uncompromising musical moderator and admired virtuoso performer. He is in constant demand as a recording artist, having succeeded Gustav Leonhardt for the Deutsche Harmonia Mundi label and Jordi Savall for Astrée. As a solo harpsichordist or as a basso continuo player of infinite finesse with Capriccio Stravagante, Skip Sempé has assured the ongoing traditions of those pioneers and vast repertoires with more than two dozen prizewinning recordings. Season after season of prestigious concert appearances and recordings document Skip Sempé’s dedication to strategic planning of repertoire, artist and programming, having featured Julien Martin, Josh Cheatham, Olivier Fortin, Sophie Gent, Doron Sherwin, Guillemette Laurens, Judith van Wanroij, Philippe Jaroussky, Karina Gauvin, Maria Bayo, Jay Bernfeld, Manfredo Kraemer, the Collegium Vocale Gent, Chanticleer with Joseph Jennings, Les Voix Humaines, the Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montreal, The Helsinki Baroque Orchestra, B’Rock and the Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin.
For 2006/07, Skip Sempé was named Artist-in-Residence for BOZAR Music in Brussels, with a ‘carte blanche’ of five concert appearances, in recital, with Capriccio Stravagante, the Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra, the Collegium Vocale Gent and B’Rock – and including a special event of Masterclasses and Lectures for the Orpheus Instutite in Ghent in the ‘Artistic Witness’ series.
Following fifteen years of prizes and awards with three prestigious labels, Skip Sempé founded the Paradizo label in 2006. The label will release all of Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempe’s new recordings, assuring Capriccio Stravagante’s own tradition of presenting important new instrumental and vocal soloists.
Regarding his recording techniques, in production as well as post-production, The New Grove has written that Sempé strives “to transfer the spontaneity of a live performance to the recorded medium”. In founding the Paradizo label, Skip Sempé adds the role of impresario to his ever-growing list of activities as harpsichordist, musical director of Capriccio Stravagante, guest musical director, coach, teacher and lecturer.
Among the distinctions Skip Sempé has received for his recordings are the Choc de l’Année du Monde de la Musique, Diapason d’Or, Grand Prix du Disque de l’Academie du Disque Français, Gramophone Critic’s Choice, Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Goldberg 5 Stars, Télérama ffff, Opéra International 4 croches, Stereo Review Best of the Month, Penguin Guide Yearbook Award, Top 10 Classics USA, Gramophone Editor’s Choice, 10 de Repertoire, 10 de Classica, CD Classica Scelte d’Editore, and a Grammy Award Nomination for the début recording of the Capriccio Stravagante Orchestra.

     Capriccio Stravagante now incorporates Capriccio Stravagante, the Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra and Capriccio Stravagante Les 24 Violons. The diverse vocal and instrumental formations of Capriccio Stravagante feature the finest European, American and Canadian musicians. Since the beginning, the magic combination of nonchalance and power which are the trademarks of Skip Sempé and Capriccio Stravagante’s live and recorded performances has been rewarded with outstanding critical praise worldwide.

     As a solo performer, Sempé has focused on developing a superb sense of idiomatic harpsichord touch and a finely tuned ear for achieving variation in the instrument’s sonority. Performing and recording on the world’s most prestigious harpsichords, made by Ruckers, Taskin, Goujon, Skowroneck, Kennedy, Humeau and Sidey, Skip Sempé is particularly known for his interpretations of the French classical harpsichord literature including Chambonnières, d’Anglebert, Forqueray, Louis and François Couperin and Rameau, for his adventurous and ground-breaking Bach and Scarlatti, and for the earlier virginalist repertoire of Byrd and his contemporaries. Solo performances from Seattle to Tokyo – including recitals at the Festivals of La Roque d’Anthéron and Urbino, dedication concerts for the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Chateau de Versailles – as well as harpsichord master classes for the Piccola Accademia di Montisi, Hochscule für Künste Bremen at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Leipzig Bach Festival, Juilliard School, Orpheus Institute in Ghent, Festival d'Ambronay, Berkeley Early Music Festival, Stanford University, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Mc Gill University and University of Montréal have attracted a particularly enthusiastic following.

     Skip Sempé combines the rare synthesis of uncompromising musical moderator and admired virtuoso performer. As a solo harpsichordist or as a basso continuo player of infinite finesse with Capriccio Stravagante, Skip Sempé has assured the ongoing traditions of the pioneers and vast repertoires with more than two dozen prizewinning recordings. Season after season of prestigious concert appearances and recordings document Skip Sempé’s dedication to strategic planning of repertoire, artists and programming, having featured Julien Martin, Josh Cheatham, Olivier Fortin, Pierre Hantaï, Sophie Gent, Doron Sherwin, Collegium Vocale Gent, Vox Luminis, Capella Cracoviensis, Choeur Pygmalion with Raphaël Pichon, Chanticleer, Les Voix Humaines, Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montreal, Helsinki Baroque Orchestra, B’Rock and Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.

     In 2006/07, Skip Sempé was named Artist in Residence for BOZAR Music in Brussels, with a ‘carte blanche’ of five concert appearances, in recital, with Capriccio Stravagante, the Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra, the Collegium Vocale Gent and B’Rock – and including a special event of Masterclasses and Lectures for the Orpheus Instutite in Ghent in the Artistic Witness series. In 2010, he was named Artist in Residence at the Utrecht Early Music Festival, and was invited to join the juries of the harpsichord competitions of Brugge, Leipzig and Moscow.

     Following fifteen years of prizes and awards with three prestigious labels, Skip Sempé founded the Paradizo label in 2006. The label releases all of Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempe’s new recordings, assuring Capriccio Stravagante’s own tradition of presenting important new instrumental and vocal soloists.

     Skip Sempé was named Artist-in-Residence for the 2010 Utrecht Early Music Festival. The newly founded orchestra, Capriccio Stravagante Les 24 Violons, performed the opening concert for the 2010 edition of the festival, which was dedicated to French Baroque music.

     Among the distinctions Skip Sempé has received for his recordings are the Choc de l’Année du Monde de la Musique, Diapason d’Or, Grand Prix du Disque de l’Academie du Disque Français, Gramophone Critic’s Choice, Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Goldberg 5 Stars, Télérama ffff, Opéra International 4 Croches, Stereo Review Best of the Month, Penguin Guide Yearbook Award, Top 10 Classics USA, Gramophone Editor’s Choice, 10 de Repertoire, 10 de Classica, CD Classica Scelte d’Editore, and a Grammy Award Nomination for the début recording of the Capriccio Stravagante Orchestra.

     In celebration of Capriccio Stravagante's 25th Anniversary season, 'Memorandum XXI', a volume of Skip Sempé's collected writings on music and performance, was published by Paradizo in 2013.

     Skip Sempé is the Artistic Director of the annual Terpsichore Festival in Paris.

     He succeeded Alan Curtis as the Artisic Advisor of the Piccola Accademia di Montisi in 2015.