Death of a harpsichord king

Death of a harpsichord king


norman lebrecht

March 23, 2018

The death has been announced of Maurice Cochrane, one of the finest harpsichord and early keyboard technicians. Maurice was the quiet but essential presence behind hundreds of recordings and thousands of concerts given by baroque orchestras, ensembles and soloists. That he was named on so many LPs and CDs was testament to the respect in which his skills were held.

Maurice was married to the harpsichordist Jill Severs. Two of their daughters are professional musicians.


  • Robert King says:

    One of the greats who started his work at a time when so much to do with period instruments and the renaissance of their technology was still in the hands of remarkable pioneers. Requiescat in pace.

  • Rebecca Stell (nee Gale) says:

    Maurice was my paternal grandmother’s brother and she often used to mention him. I must have missed the announcement of his death by mere days. Oddly I was trying to trace family members at about this time as some tidying of family records intrigued me and because my grandmother and grandpa passed on several years ago. Amongst grandma’s photographs, I came across the name ‘Jill Severs’ which rang a bell and later the same day looking for something to play I picked up a Bach harpsichord CD and the name ‘Maurice Cochrane being fresh in my mind caused me to start putting two and two together.

    I knew he was my grandmother’s brother and that the family were very musical. Even as a small child I recognised that music was an integral part of our visits. I don’t play but she did teach me the beginnings of my scales and my sister inherited the piano which is alas somewhat battered! My grandmother often spoke of various family members but sadly my father failed to inherit the same love of classical music or stay in contact with family and it was only later that I picked it up Early Music as part of my own interest in Renaissance history and literature.

    My husband is an Early Music enthusiast and plays violin and lute and his sister worked with both David Munrow and Emma Kirby. I’ve often felt at something of a disadvantage at family gatherings unless the need for sleeve notes or commentary on period detail was required but that my sister in law’s generation would never even have had this rich heritage to draw on without Maurice Cochrane is some consolation for being behind the door when the ability to read sheet music was handed out!

    Wishing Jill and the family belated condolences.

  • Kris Taylor says:

    For the last 21 years of his life Maurice was married to Latife (Franzen Khoury) Cochrane.

  • Laura Cochrane says:

    Many thanks for your kind words Robert- they are appreciated.
    Best wishes

  • David says:

    Sorry to read of Maurice Cochrane’s passing. I was a young boy having my first piano lessons with his mother back in 1970s Romford. I remember his war veteran father Bryce Cochrane and the campaign to save the Argyll & Sutherland Regiment.