Tom Beghin fortepiano

Helicon Performances

Symposium 63 - Pre-Revolutionary Paris

Tom Beghin (b. Leuven, Belgium, 1967), praised as an eloquent, sensitive, and original performer, is at the forefront of a new generation of interpreters of 18th and early-19th century music.  He has performed in Early Music Festivals at Bruges, Utrecht, Paris, Berkeley, Palermo, Florence, and Montreal; participated in an epoch-making eight-concert series featuring all Beethoven sonatas on historical pianos in Merkin Hall, New York; concertized with acclaimed orchestras or ensembles such as the Akademie für alte Musik Berlin, Apollo-Ensemble, Arion, the Beethoven Academie, Caprice, and L’arpa festante (Münchener Barockorchester); teamed up with chamber music partners such as Les vents classiques du Québec, violinist Jaap Schröder, the Kuijken and Festetics String Quartets, violinist Anton Steck and cellist Markus Möllenbeck; is a member of Trio Galatea, with violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock and cellist Elisabeth Le Guin.  In the summer of 2006 he was the Festival Star at the Bruges Early Music Festival, performing. among others, Schubert’s Winterreise with tenor Jan van Elsacker, Haydn cantatas with soprano Olga Pasychnyk, and representing Mozart in a theatrical reconstruction of his 1781-competition against Clementi (with Erin Helyard, written by Robert J. Litz).

His discography on the Eufoda, Bridge Records, Claves, and Klara/Et’cetera labels features keyboard music of Beethoven, Mozart, Moscheles, C.P.E. Bach, as well as songs by Haydn, Zelter and Mendelssohn (with Andrea Folan, soprano), and trios by Haydn and Clementi (with Trio Galatea).  His magnum opus, released on the Naxos label, is “The Virtual Haydn,” a recording of Haydn’s complete solo keyboard music, performed on seven different types of keyboards (some built especially for the project, for the first time in modern days) in nine different “virtual rooms” (for the first time applying technologies of “virtual acoustics” to a recording of this magnitude) in collaboration with two McGill colleagues, Tonmeisterin Martha de Francisco and virtual acoustics architect Wieslaw Woszczyk.  The project has recognized by the international press as “one of those truly rare occasions when, in several respects, new ground is being traversed” (BBC Music Magazine) and “one of the most audacious recording enterprises in recent memory” (; it was chosen as “Multichannel Disc of the Month” (Audiophile Audition) and was up for a 2011 Juno for “Music DVD of the Year,” as the first classical music production to be nominated in this category.

As a scholar he has published in various distinguished journals and collections.  With classicist Sander Goldberg he has edited Haydn and the Performance of Rhetoric (Chicago, 2007), winner of the 2009 “Ruth A. Solie Award” from the American Musicological Society.  Recognized for his expertise in eighteenth-century performance he has given concerts, workshops and lectures at, among others, the Haydn Festival in Esterháza (Fertöd, Hungary), the Utrecht Conservatory, the Cologne Musikhochschule, the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, the Aula de Música in Alcalá, and the Kunstuniversität Graz.  In 2004 the Haydn-Institut of Cologne inducted him as a member.  He was elected Director-at-Large of the Haydn Society of North America (2010-12) and is on the board of directors of CIRMMT (Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology, Montreal).

His research interests center around questions of 18th century & 19th century performance, the persona of the performer, rhetoric, aesthetics, social context, gender, the act of dedication, historical technology, virtual acoustics, and modern-day interpretation.  He is presently applying these perspectives to the study of Beethoven’s piano works.

Tom Beghin studied at the Lemmens Institute in Louvain, Belgium (with Alan Weiss), at the Musik-Akademie in Basel, Switzerland (with Rudolf Buchbinder and Jean Goverts), and received his doctoral degree with Malcolm Bilson and James Webster from Cornell University (Ithaca, New York).  After serving on the faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles, and residing at the National Humanities Center (North Carolina) as its “William J. Bouwsma Fellow,” he is Associate Professor at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University (Montreal, Canada), where he teaches music history, performance practice, and fortepiano.  Prof. Beghin is a member of CIRMMT.