Death of a noted keyboard artist

Death of a noted keyboard artist


norman lebrecht

April 17, 2020

The Canadian keyboard artist and scholar Kenneth Gilbert has died at 88.

He performed on harpischord, clavecin, organ and diverse other instruments and was best known for his Bach recordings on DG’s Archiv label.

He had been suffering from Alzheimers for some years.




  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Sad news. Kenneth Gilbert was at a time very influent, and he played Bach’s keyboard works brilliantly, sometimes fast as lightning. However, he can have played too brilliantly for his admirers who could not keep that standard, in this way paving the way for today’s faster-than-light, plainly panicky HIP style (I can’t believe that Bach, Händel, and Scarlatti played the way most HIP performers do today, but they surely “made a Gilbert” then and then). RIP.

  • Very sad news indeed. R.I.P. Maestro!

  • Bruce says:

    How sad. RIP.

  • He was a marvelous musician. One of my two great teachers, along with Huguette Dreyfus.

  • Giovanna Fabiano says:

    He was my teacher , first in Accademia Chigiana and then in Salzburg Mozarteum, from 1985 to 1989. Such a fine musician and wonderful teacher. Very sorry

  • David K. Nelson says:

    I am sorry to hear of this. My first exposure to his artistry was his recording of Bach/attributed to Bach for violin and keyboard with Steven Staryk. Very exciting playing by both artists. He and Staryk also recorded a nice LP of Italian baroque sonatas. In his autobiography Staryk recollected that Giveon Cornfield made the recordings very late at night, into the wee hours of the morning, in an old church in Toronto – to minimize traffic noise — but that as the hot summer air cooled down, bats emerged and flew around the musicians. That would be enough to speed up anybody’s tempos!

  • Michel says:

    Very sad. RIP Kenneth Gilbert.

  • David says:

    One of the greatest.

  • Andrew Appel says:

    Kenneth was with Leonhardt the most important harpsichordist and teacher of his generation. His students are all uniquely sensitive players and Gilbert encouraged both a sensuous approach to the harpsichord and encouraged the individuality of his best students. He was a harpsichordist’s harpsichordist whose subtlety was often beyond the ears if even critics but a treasure for players. His editions of Couperin, Rameau, scarlatti, frescobaldi, and d’Anglebert have been ideals. He was always a kind, gentle, noble man. If Leonhardt was Rembrandt, Kenneth was Vermeer. He was my mentor and then friend. I and countless other musicians are mourning his loss and feeling fortunate to have known him.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    He has had a blessed release from Alzheimer’s Disease. Prior to this a wonderful life dedicated to absolutely first class musical performance and scholarship.

  • Paul Gabler says:

    How sad to hear this news. He learned me to listen to F. Couperin as a youngster as the main entrance to the world of harpsichord music. It was always such a joy to listen to all his recordings when they were released.