Covid claims harpsichord pioneer, 82

James Weaver, former director of the Musical Instruments collection at the Smithsonian Institution and founder of the Smithsonian Chamber Players, has died of the effects of Covid-19.

Stephen Hammer writes: ‘Jim was one of the most genuinely nice people I have ever known; his joy in music and in other people was contagious. A wonderful harpsichordist and organist, his political skills and ingenuity in getting Federal funding for early music concerts by budgeting them as living museum exhibits made hundreds of pioneering and well-paid performances and recordings possible for a generation of American musicians in the the 70’s and 80’s. We will always be grateful, and hold him dear in friendship and memory.’

Weaver performed on many historic hapsichord recordings, including the first US-based period instrument release of Handel’s Messiah.


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  • I am sorry to hear that, and very sad. Jim hired me for my first church job. He was musical, gentle, and genuinely nice. And I regret that I didn’t live up to his expectations. I will always keep him in my heart.

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