Sydney’s best kept classical music secret

English upright grand fortepiano by John Broadwood, London, 1816 from The Schureck Collection.
English upright grand fortepiano by John Broadwood, London, 1816 from The Schureck Collection.


In a home in the northern outskirts of Sydney lies a truly remarkable collection of period keyboard instruments. Nestled near the natural bushland at Berowra Heights, Ralph Schureck has assembled some thirty-five instruments, making The Schureck Collection the largest collection of concert quality early keyboards in Australia. 

 Instruments from before 1780 are accurate copies of period instruments, starting with early seventeenth century Italian virginals.  From 1780 onward the collection consists of harpsichords, fortepianos, organs and pianofortes stretching forward to the late nineteenth century.  These are authentic originals and include keyboards from some of the most famous instrument makers of their times, including Stodart, Broadwood, Playel and Erard.  Many of these instruments are exactly the type played by the great composers of the period.  For example, the collection includes an 1817 Broadwood that is just one serial number after the piano which Broadwood sent to Beethoven and which was said to be his favourite. 

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this collection is that these instruments have been lovingly and meticulously restored and maintained in playable condition.  They will be heard in a series of four concerts this year played by professionals specialising in early keyboard technique.  These recitals are held in Ralph Schureck’s home so entry is limited by the available space. The intimacy of the performance space evocatively recreates the acoustic and ambience of eighteenth and nineteenth century salons.

 The first concert this year will be on 6th April when Keith Power will play a 1792 Stodart Grand Fortepiano in sonatas by CPE and JC Bach.  Full details of the concert series can be found on the Schureck website at

Larry Turner for SoundsLikeSydney©

Larry Turner has been singing in choirs for many years – both in Sydney and London.  He is an avid attendee of operas and concerts, with an emphasis on vocal music.  He particularly enjoys music from both the great a capella period and the baroque – especially the lesser-known works of Bach and Handel.  He has written programme notes for Sydney Philharmonia, the Intervarsity Choral Festival and the Sydneian Bach Choir and is currently part of a team researching the history of Sydney Philharmonia for its forthcoming centenary.


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