Skip Sempé


Skip Sempé is a world-renowned virtuoso harpsichord player, ensemble conductor, and the founder of the early music group Capriccio Stravagante. He has won acclaim as a solo harpsichord player with a striking control over the often inflexible tone of the instrument and as an authoritative and stylish interpreter of Baroque-era continuo realizations from figured bass.

Raised in New Orleans, Sempé studied music, organology, and art history
Read more at Oberlin College. He went on to study with Gustav Leonhardt in Europe. In 1986, he founded a Baroque and early music ensemble he named Capriccio Stravagante, an ensemble of from three to thirty players who share his dedication to strong sonorities, free expression in interpretation and embellishment of their parts, positive and dramatic audience presence, and Franco-Latin temperament, elements Sempé believes are the heart of Renaissance and much Baroque music. Sempé became especially well-known for his interpretations of music of the great French school of clavecin composers such as Rameau and Couperin, and for his lively, innovative playing of Scarlatti and Bach harpsichord music. He has played (as a soloist or accompanist or as leader of Capriccio Stravagante) at London's Wigmore Hall, the Athens Concert Hall, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and major venues in Scandinavia, the United States, Canada, France, Britain, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Holland. Festival appearances include Aldeburgh, Barcelona, Aranjuez, Montpellier, Nimes, Montreux, Schleswig-Holstein, Boston, Utrecht, Bremen, and the London Lufthansa Festival. His growing fame as a creative basso continuo accompaniment player (along with the strong colors produced by the cellist and other players who join with doubling the bass line) led him to create extensions of Capriccio Stravagante, the Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra and the Capriccio Stravagante Opera.

Sempé has recorded for the Arion, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, and Astrée labels, and his recorded repertoire includes Monteverdi madrigals, consort music of William Byrd, vocal music of Purcell, instrumental music of Buxtehude, harpsichord music of Chambonnières and Lully, Bach concertos, and operas of Lully. His recorded performances have won the Grand Prix du Disque de la Nouvelle Académie du Disque Française Charles Cros, the Diapason d'Or, Gramophone's Critics' Choice and Editor's Choice Awards, the Stereo Review Best of the Month, the Penguin Guide Yearbook Award, the Top 10 Classics USA, and the CD Classica Scelte d'Editore of Italy. Read less
Browse 1-10 of 10 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Couperin: Suites et Pavane / Sempe
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 333 Release Date: 06/09/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Louis Couperin
    Performer:  Skip Sempé
    CD: $9.99
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  • 2.
    Chanticleer - How Sweet the Sound
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 641038 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Giovanni Palestrina,  Ignacio Jerusalem,  Manuel de Zumaya,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  Christopher Fritzsche,  Douglas [Tenor Vocals] Wright,  Frank Albinder,  Kevin Baum  ... 
    Conductor:  Joseph Jennings,  Ettore Stratta,  Frank Albinder,  Skip Sempé
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer,  Chanticleer Sinfonia,  Don Haas Trio  ... 
    CD: $75.99
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  • 3.
    Chambonnieres: Pieces De Clavecin / Skip Sempe
    Label: Deutsche Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 77453 Release Date: 02/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Chambonnieres
    Performer:  Skip Sempé
    CD: $17.99
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  • 4.
    Purcell Edition, Vol. 3 – Anthems, Odes & Instrumental Music
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 69140 Release Date: 05/22/2009   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Henry Purcell
    Performer:  David Thomas,  Paul Elliott,  Brian Gordon,  Ashley Stafford  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner,  Stephen Stubbs,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Sir David Willcocks  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir,  Monteverdi Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $29.99
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  • 5.
    Caro Amor
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 746075 Release Date: 02/27/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Laurence Cummings,  Angelika [Mezzo-Soprano Vocal] Kirchschlager,  Vesselina Kasarova,  Lawrence Zazzo  ... 
    Conductor:  Alan Curtis,  Harry Bicket,  Paul Goodwin,  Mark Stephenson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Complesso Barocco,  London Musici Chamber Choir,  Hanover Band
    CD: $24.99
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  • 6.
    F. Couperin: La Sultanne / Jay Bernfeld, Skip Sempé
    Label: Dhm Deutsche Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 77315 Release Date: 07/09/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  François Couperin
    Performer:  Jay Bernfeld,  Skip Sempé
    Conductor:  Skip Sempé
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 7.
    Orfeo Fantasia - Monteverdi, Hume, Et Al / Daniels, Et Al
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 22337 Release Date: 09/27/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sigismondo D'India,  John Dowland,  Claudio Monteverdi,  Tobias Hume  ... 
    Performer:  Charles Daniels,  Skip Sempé,  Sylvain Bergeron,  Nigel North  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Baroque Orchestra
    SuperAudio CD: $17.99
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  • 8.
    Evening Prayer - Purcell /Chanticleer, Capriccio Stravagante
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 60290 Release Date: 10/07/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell
    Performer:  Françoise Johannel,  Olivier Fortin,  Susie Napper,  Matthew Oltman  ... 
    Conductor:  Joseph Jennings,  Skip Sempé
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer,  Capriccio Stravagante
    CD: $18.99
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  • 9.
    Dieupart: Les Six Suites / Colpron, Sempé, Napper
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 22234 Release Date: 03/12/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Charles Dieupart
    Performer:  Francis Colpron,  Skip Sempé,  Susie Napper
    CD: $24.99
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  • 10.
    Il Violino - Bach, Veracini, Westhoff / Kraemer, Sempe
    Label: Dhm Deutsche Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 77314 Release Date: 11/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Paul von Westhoff,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Francesco Maria Veracini
    Performer:  Manfred Kraemer,  Skip Sempé,  Michel Murgier
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