Sylvia Berry

Principal Harpsichord
Berry headshot


First ASO Season: 2021/2022

The Berry Collective
Les Délices
Ars Antiqua
Chamber Orchestra of Boston
Bach Collegium San Diego

That’s really hard! Works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert are at the top of the list, and that’s my repertoire speciality. I love Debussy too though.

Sylvia Berry is one of North America’s leading exponents of historical keyboard instruments.

A Philadelphia native based in Boston, Ms. Berry has played countless types of fortepianos, harpsichords, and organs, including some noteworthy antiques. Her recording of Haydn’s “London Sonatas” on an 1806 Broadwood & Son grand for 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 stated, “To say that Berry plays these works with vim, vigor, verve, and vitality, is actually a bit of an understatement.” Of her concertizing, Cleveland Classical enthused: “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.” Of a recent concerto appearance with period instrument orchestra Bach Collegium San Diego, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported, “Berry was everywhere at once, showing how this instrument, with such an ensemble, can be more powerful than a modern piano. Her solo lines weaved through transparent textures in a way not possible with the massive orchestras of later generations.”

Ms. Berry is known not only for her exciting performances, but also for the engaging commentary she provides about the music and instruments she plays. She is also a published scholar who’s written and lectured on the performance practices of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, as well as the sociological phenomena surrounding the music of this period.

In addition to performing with Atlantic Symphony Orchestra and ensembles such as Les Délices, Ars Antiqua, and the Chamber Orchestra of Boston, she is the curator of her own period instrument ensemble, The Berry Collective, which has performed at venues and series such as The Museum of Fine Arts, The Princeton University Art Museum, Monadnock Music, Museum Concerts of Rhode Island, and the Portland Early Music Festival. She has also performed solo recitals for Pittsburgh Renaissance and Baroque, Cambridge Society of Early Music, Oberlin Conservatory, Providence College, and Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory, among others. In June 2022 she presented a masterclass at the Academy of Fortepiano Performance in Hunter, NY.

Despite getting a late start at the piano – she began lessons at age thirteen – Ms. Berry attended the New England Conservatory, the Oberlin Conservatory, and the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, The Netherlands.

She and her husband, historical keyboard restorer Dale Munschy (Antiquarian Keyboard Instruments), live in South Weymouth where they have a studio and a workshop, an abundance of historical keyboard instruments. They sometimes perform together as four-hands partners.

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Photo by Zamani Feelings