Penelope Cave is passionate in sharing her enthusiasm for the instrument and its delightfully broad and varied repertoire in well planned, audience-friendly programmes for solo harpsichord with spoken introductions or entertaining contemporary readings to set the music in context.



In addition to her illustrated paper for the 23rd annual conference on Music in eighteenth-century Britain, at the Foundling Hospital in November, Penelope Cave has also written a chapter of the new FIMTE publication, Five Centuries of Spanish Keyboard Music. She has given a number of solo recitals this year, including a first performance of a piece written by Raymond Head at the Handel House, Bach’s Italian Concerto and Chromatic Fantasia & Fugue for Music at St Peter’s, Wallingford and “Made in England” for the Stratford on Avon Festival, about which Early Music Today wrote, “ At Nash’s House, abutting Shakespeare’s spacious Stratford residence, more treats awaited: “Made in England” was Penelope Cave’s spring-in-a-step harpsichord recital spanning Byrd, Farnaby, Tomkins, Blow, Purcell, John Alcock of Lichfield, Handel (the overture to Radamisto) and Handel’s amanuensis, Johann Christoph Schmidt (or Smith) – whose “Lessons” figure large among surviving sets of keyboard music from the mid 18th century. Cave’s evocative transitions from high renaissance via restoration to the verges of the classical era made this programme quite remarkably enlightening.”
After the success of the Mostly Mozart programme last year, that included the National Trust at Hatchlands, Handel House and the Winchester Early Music Series, they are now offering Sense & Sensibilities, a tribute to Jane Austen.  This specially created musical entertainment is proving very popular with audiences and critics alike and includes duets from Jane Austen's own books, from her library at Chawton;  the very ones she played with her sister, Cassandra.  The charming forgotten works for four hands and those by Burney, Clementi, Pleyel and Giordani and the popular Battle of Prague, are interspersed with entertaining contemporary readings, chosen from diaries, letters, novels and poetry.  Press comments include:  "the unanimity of the players made it very difficult to differentiate one from the other."  (York Press) and, "a thoroughly enjoyable evening in which Cave and Brown performed with energy and enthusiasm throughout."  (Hampshire Chronicle, February '07).
Recent and forthcoming concerts include:

Four short Films on Music at Tatton Park

Dr Penelope Cave recently project-managed and appeared in four short films for the National Trust on music at Tatton Park, directed by her PhD supervisor at the University of Southampton, Professor Jeanice Brooks.Using historic instruments and music in the Egerton family collection, they feature women’s music-collecting, domestic performance, dancing and piano lessons in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

To view all four films see:


Penelope Cave studied at the Purcell School and the Royal Academy of Music.  She won the Raymond Russell prize, the National Harpsichord Competition at Southport and was a laureate of Bruges International Harpsichord Competition.  She has given solo performances at the Purcell Room, the Wigmore Hall and at music clubs throughout Britain and festivals have included Flanders, Edinburgh, York, Winchester, Ryedale, Presteigne and Greenbelt.  She has recorded for Hyperion, Naxos, Pace Recordings, Belgian Radio, Classic fm and BBC Radio 3.  Well known for her educational work, she has given masterclasses, workshops and courses in France, Italy, Germany and Mallorca and throughout Britain, including the universities of Ulster & Stirling, Benslow, Jackdaws and Dartington International Summer School.


Solo  programmes, include:
  • The Goldberg Variations - an engaging performance of Bach's greatest work for keyboard, grouped into natural sections with readings and anecdotes to throw light upon the variety and depth of emotional content as well as upon the genius of counterpoint that the work reveals.
  • The Grand Tour combines music and readings from all over Europe
  • Couperin: The King the Court and the Country explores the rich world of Louis XIV
  • All in a Garden Green is a gentle evocation of pastoral delights and gardeners' inventions
  • Music for an English Country House is an eclectic guide to English taste
  • An Introductory Recital for Children can be given alongside a 'hands-on' workshop for children with their teachers or parents


Programmes with colleagues, include:
  • Travels with Scarlatti with guest singer, Glenda Simpson
  • For Two to Play comprises a recital with Helena Brown of duets and duos for 1 & 2 harpsichords
  • Sense and Sensibility, also with Helena Brown, is a new programme of piano music and readings for one and two players
  • Double Vision - Folksong and the English Virginalists with bass singer, Peter Medhurst
  • Kontraste - This well-established group has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and given concerts throughout Great Britain of trio-sonatas, duo-sonatas and solos for flute/recorder, violin & harpsichord


      To hear an excerpt from Penelope Cave's performance of 
      Scarlatti: Sonata in D, K.492, click on the CD sleeve below:


Click here to view a complete tracklisting


"Penelope Cave's immaculate yet wholeheartedly spirited playing, on a gloriously warm modern copy of  a Portuguese harpsichord, throws light on familiar Scarlatti. Highly recommended."  
BBC Music Magazine
January 2001- 5 stars 
for both sound and performance

"Fine, outgoing, interesting playing which could hold its own with anything else now available. Most enjoyable." 
Early Music Review


To buy a copy of this highly recommended CD visit - buy From Lisbon to Madrid with Scarlatti, by Penelope Cave online


Penelope Cave was married to instrument maker, the late Michael Heale, and owns his copies of an Italian instrument by Giusti, a copy of a late Portuguese harpsichord by Antunes, a highly decorated two-manual French harpsichord and an English virginals.


 For brochures, programme details, fees and availability, please contact:

Penelope Cave, ARAM, GRSM, LRAM
Fridays Hill Cottage
Copyhold Lane
GU27 3DZ

Telephone: 01428 652287


For more information on current activities, click here


Penelope Cave is a Member of the
Incorporated Society of Musicians