Musician Sylvia Berry Returns to First Parish on May 12th!

Caucasian female smiling, wearing a black tank style dress and colorful sea-glass like necklace and earrings leaning against a light turquoise colored wall.

Sylvia Berry is one of North America’s leading exponents of historical keyboard instruments. A Philadelphia native based in the Boston area, she’s spent the last twenty-five years playing countless types of fortepianos, harpsichords, and organs, including many noteworthy antiques. Her recording of Haydn’s “London Sonatas” on an 1806 Broadwood & Son grand (restored by Dale Munschy) on the Acis label drew critical acclaim; a reviewer in Early Music America proclaimed her “a complete master of rhetoric, whether in driving passagework or in cantabile adagios,” while a review in Fanfare enthused, “To say that Berry plays these works with vim, vigor, verve, and vitality, is actually a bit of an understatement.” Her concertizing has also garnered notice. After her most recent concerto appearance with Bach Collegium San Diego, the San Diego Union-Tribune lauded her as “a subtle powerhouse who coaxes great force out of what might seem like a smaller instrument.” Of an appearance with Les Délices, Cleveland Classical stated: “Her splendid playing took her up and down the keyboard in lightning-fast scales and passagework, and her thrilling full-voiced chords allowed the fortepiano to assert itself as a real solo instrument.”

She is in demand as a recitalist, concerto soloist, and chamber musician, working with some of today’s foremost early music practitioners but also with modern orchestras such as the Cape Symphony (Cape Cod, MA) and the Chamber Orchestra of Boston that are interested in revealing the sound of early pianos to their audiences. Among other engagements, next season Berry is slated to appear as fortepiano soloist with the newly formed OK Baroque Orchestra in Oklahoma City. She has also published articles and given lectures about historical keyboard instruments and performance practice, and has taught master classes as well. Interested in engaging young people, she recently gave harpsichord and fortepiano demonstrations in San Diego, and at South Shore Conservatory in Hingham. As a church musician, she played organ and piano at First Parish Cohasset from 2010-2013, and at Christ Congregational Church (UCC) in Brockton from 2015-2021.

Despite getting a late start (she began lessons at age thirteen) she attended the New England Conservatory and holds degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory and the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, The Netherlands. She and her husband Dale Munschy live in South Weymouth, MA where they house a menagerie of harpsichords and fortepianos, a 1930 Model A Ford, and three cats. Her mother lives there as well in a nifty in-law apartment above Dale’s shop.

On Sunday, May 5, Sylvia will play a concert with Jae Cosmos Lee, violinist and founding member of A Far Cry, at First Congregational Church of Chatham (Cape Cod) at 3 pm.

Sylvia is pleased to have been invited to play a service at First Parish Cohasset and looks forward to seeing her FP friends again on (Mother’s Day) May 12th at 10am.