Geoffrey Lancaster

Geoffrey Lancaster has been at the forefront of the historically inspired performance movement for 40 years. He was the first Australian to win a major international keyboard competition, receiving first prize in the 23rd Festival van Vlaanderen International Mozart Fortepiano Competition, Brugge. 

He has appeared to acclaim as keyboardist and conductor with such orchestras as the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Cologne Gürzenich, Ensemble 415, Concerto Copenhagen, Tafelmusik, and every major Australian orchestra. Former Director of the Tasmanian Symphony Chamber Players and Chief Conductor of La Cetra Barockorchester Basel, he has lectured at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and other significant Early Music schools.

In 2006 Dr Lancaster was Australian of the Year for the Australian Capital Territory. His other honours include ARIA and Gramophone awards for some of his more than fifty recordings, the Australian Artists Creative Fellowship, HC Coombs Creative Arts Fellowship, Honorary Fellowship of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Order of Arts and Letters and the Order of Australia.

The First Fleet Piano: Volume One »

A Musician’s View

Authored by: Geoffrey Lancaster
During the late eighteenth century, a musical–cultural phenomenon swept the globe. The English square piano—invented in the early 1760s by an entrepreneurial German guitar maker in London—not only became an indispensable part of social life, but also inspired the creation of an expressive and scintillating repertoire. Square pianos reinforced music as life’s counterpoint, and were played by royalty, by musicians of the highest calibre and by aspiring amateurs alike. On Sunday, 13 May 1787, a square piano departed from Portsmouth on board the Sirius, the flagship of the First Fleet, bound for Botany Bay. Who made the First Fleet piano, and when was it made? Who owned it? Who played it, and who listened? What music did the instrument sound out, and within what contexts was its voice heard? What became of the First Fleet piano after its arrival on antipodean soil, and who played a part in the instrument’s subsequent history? Two extant instruments contend for the title ‘First Fleet piano’; which of these made the epic journey to Botany Bay in 1787–88? The First Fleet Piano: A Musician’s View answers these questions, and provides tantalising glimpses of social and cultural life both in Georgian England and in the early colony at Sydney Cove. The First Fleet piano is placed within the musical and social contexts for which it was created, and narratives of the individuals whose lives have been touched by the instrument are woven together into an account of the First Fleet piano’s conjunction with the forces of history. View ‘The First Fleet Piano: Volume Two Appendices’. Note: Volume 1 and 2 are sold as a set ($185 for both) and cannot be purchased separately.

The First Fleet Piano: Volume Two Appendices »

A Musician’s View

Authored by: Geoffrey Lancaster
During the late eighteenth century, a musical–cultural phenomenon swept the globe. The English square piano—invented in the early 1760s by an entrepreneurial German guitar maker in London—not only became an indispensable part of social life, but also inspired the creation of an expressive and scintillating repertoire. Square pianos reinforced music as life’s counterpoint, and were played by royalty, by musicians of the highest calibre and by aspiring amateurs alike. On Sunday, 13 May 1787, a square piano departed from Portsmouth on board the Sirius, the flagship of the First Fleet, bound for Botany Bay. Who made the First Fleet piano, and when was it made? Who owned it? Who played it, and who listened? What music did the instrument sound out, and within what contexts was its voice heard? What became of the First Fleet piano after its arrival on antipodean soil, and who played a part in the instrument’s subsequent history? Two extant instruments contend for the title ‘First Fleet piano’; which of these made the epic journey to Botany Bay in 1787–88? The First Fleet Piano: A Musician’s View answers these questions, and provides tantalising glimpses of social and cultural life both in Georgian England and in the early colony at Sydney Cove. The First Fleet piano is placed within the musical and social contexts for which it was created, and narratives of the individuals whose lives have been touched by the instrument are woven together into an account of the First Fleet piano’s conjunction with the forces of history. View ‘The First Fleet Piano: Volume One’. Note: Volume 1 and 2 are sold as a set ($185 for both) and cannot be purchased separately.