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Toronto Friends of Classical Music Message Board General interest page › The Harpsichord Builder And His Art

The Harpsichord Builder And His Art

Toronto, ON
Post #: 339
Meet Victor Mio.
He lives in The GTA, and is one of a very few rare and talented persons who builds harpsichords.

Harpsichords, you ask? Through the 19th century, the harpsichord was almost completely supplanted by the piano. In the 20th century, composers returned to the instrument, as they sought out variation in the sounds available to them. Under the influence of Arnold Dolmetsch, the harpsichordists Violet Gordon-Woodhouse (1872–1951) and in France, Wanda Landowska (1879–1959), were at the forefront of the instrument's renaissance. One of the very few places you may get to hear a harpsichord being played in Toronto is at a Tafelmusik concert – with Charlotte Nediger at the keyboard.

Victor lovingly brought my unfinished instrument to life a few years ago. I call her Baby Z, because she is a Zuckerman – German – Single Manual, and she is also my namesake. He is like an uncle to her, as he periodically visits her and keeps her in excellent playing shape. Because he is so kind to Baby Z, I have welcomed Victor as our newest sponsor to TFCM.

As a matter of interest, I would like to share with you, the progression and final finished instrument that Victor completed for me. You can visit the following links for all the information and photos.

Information and history of the harpsichord

Photos of Mary's Harpsichord and actual work that was done by Victor.­

In conclusion, if you are interested in learning more about this historic instrument, or perhaps having a chat with Victor, he can be reached through his website. And if you've ever wanted to try one out or actually own one, then Victor can certainly look after you!­

So what does a harpsichord sound like – check it out!­


Victor Mio studied harpsichord with Colin Tilney, both in Toronto and in England. In 1987, he founded the Mio Baroque Trio, comprised of flute, cello and harpsichord. Among his academic accomplishments are a Master of Music degree in composition from the University of Toronto under John Beckwith, and a Doctorate in Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/UT. Dr. Mio has also earned a Fellowship in harpsichord performance from Trinity College of Music, London, England. He has released two solo recordings: the first featuring Sweelinck, Handel, Couperin and Scarlatti, and the second the music of J.S. Bach.
In recent years, Dr. Mio has become increasingly interested in the building and performance of the clavichord, perhaps the least known yet most expressive of the early keyboard instruments. He has participated (clavichord and harpsichord) in the annual Festival di Musica Antica (Early Music Festival) in Magnano (Piedmont) Italy, on two occasions.
Dr. Mio is a published composer and has worked in various media including film, television and radio. Most recently, the focus of his compositional activities has been on Choral music with his works having been performed in Canada and the U.S. as well as Austria and the Czech Republic. The Bell'Arte Singers have premiered several of his works including Ode to Saint Cecilia, Away in the Manger, A Dream Within A Dream, and Libera Me. In the spring of 2000, his Millennium Hymn for Youth was premiered at Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto, in celebration of excellence in music education. This was a commission from Music Canada 2000 Musique under the patronage of the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General. He is also an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre.
Presently, Dr. Mio works as an educator, composer, performer and instrument builder. He lives with his wife Raffaella in suburban Toronto, Canada, and has been building ZHI instruments since 1987.

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