Skip Sempé

Biography

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 1-22 of 22 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    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:  Kevin Baum,  Christopher Fritzsche,  Frank Albinder,  Douglas [Tenor Vocals] Wright  ... 
    Conductor:  Joseph Jennings,  Ettore Stratta,  Frank Albinder,  Skip Sempé
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer,  Chanticleer Sinfonia,  Don Haas Trio  ... 
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  • 2.
    Pierre Hantai - Complete Recordings
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5358 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Arcangelo Corelli,  William Byrd,  Anonymous,  Martin Peerson  ... 
    Performer:  Hugo Reyne,  Pierre Hantaï,  Sébastien Marq,  Danny Bond  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Hantaï
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert Français
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  • 3.
    Rameau: Symphonies For 2 Harpsichords / Pierre Hantai, Skip Sempe
    Label: Mirare   Catalog: 164 Release Date: 09/12/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau
    Performer:  Pierre Hantaï,  Skip Sempé
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  • 4.
    La Belle Danse - Lully, Marais, Muffat / Sempe, Capriccio Stravagante
    Label: Paradizo   Catalog: 10 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Baptiste Lully,  William Brade,  Michael Praetorius,  Luigi Rossi  ... 
    Performer:  Skip Sempé,  Alain Buet,  Benjamin Alunni,  Judith Van Wanroij
    Conductor:  Skip Sempé
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  • 5.
    Chambonnieres: Pieces De Clavecin / Skip Sempe
    Label: Deutsche Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 77453 Release Date: 02/18/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Chambonnieres
    Performer:  Skip Sempé
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  • 6.
    Antico - Moderno / Doron Sherwin, Julien Martin, Josh Cheatham, Skip Sempe, Capriccio Stravagante
    Label: Paradizo   Catalog: 8 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Palestrina,  Riccardo Rognoni Taeggio,  Josquin Des Préz,  Doron Sherwin  ... 
    Performer:  Françoise Johannel,  Skip Sempé,  Josh Cheatham,  Doron Sherwin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante,  Capriccio Stravagante Recorders,  Capriccio Stravagante Viols
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  • 7.
    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  ... 
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  • 8.
    A French Collection - Marchand, Duphly, Couperin, Balbastre, Corrette, Royer
    Label: Paradizo   Catalog: 7 Release Date: 04/14/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Duphly,  Louis Marchand,  Joseph Nicolas P. Royer,  Claude-Béninge Balbastre  ... 
    Performer:  Skip Sempé,  Bruce Kennedy
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  • 9.
    Marais, Sainte-colombe: Pieces De Viole / Cheatham, Leonard, Sempe
    Label: Paradizo   Catalog: 6 Release Date: 02/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Marin Marais,  Jean de Sainte-Colombe,  Jacques Hotteterre,  Georg Philipp Telemann
    Performer:  Skip Sempé,  Julien Leonard,  Joshua Cheatham
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  • 10.
    Rameau: La Pantomime, Etc / Skip Sempé
    Label: Paradizo   Catalog: 5 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau
    Performer:  Skip Sempé,  Olivier Fortin
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  • 11.
    F. Couperin: La Sultanne / Jay Bernfeld, Skip Sempé
    Label: Dhm Deutsche Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 77315 Release Date: 07/23/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  François Couperin
    Performer:  Jay Bernfeld,  Skip Sempé
    Conductor:  Skip Sempé
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante
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  • 12.
    Consort Music & Airs For Flute - Holborne, Dowland, Scheidt, Etc / Martin, Sempe, Capriccio Stravagante
    Label: Paradizo   Catalog: 1 Release Date: 04/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anthony Holborne,  Samuel Scheidt,  Tobias Hume,  Alfonso Ferrabosco  ... 
    Performer:  Joshua Cheatham,  Skip Sempé,  Julien Martin
    Conductor:  Skip Sempé
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante
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  • 13.
    Telemann: Overture For Recorder In A Minor, 3 Fantasias
    Label: Paradizo   Catalog: 2 Release Date: 02/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann
    Performer:  Julien Martin,  Skip Sempé
    Conductor:  Skip Sempé
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante
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  • 14.
    Duende - Scarlatti: Sonatas For 1 & 2 Harpsichords
    Label: Paradizo   Catalog: 9003 Release Date: 01/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Domenico Scarlatti
    Performer:  Skip Sempé,  Olivier Fortin
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  • 15.
    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
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  • 16.
    De Murcia: Codex / Lislevand, Ensemble Kapsberger
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 8903 Release Date: 08/16/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Santiago de Murcia,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Fillippo Azzaiolo,  Einojuhani Rautavaara  ... 
    Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Anne Gastinel,  Juliette Hurel,  Philippe Spinosi  ... 
    Conductor:  Rinaldo Alessandrini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Kapsberger,  Il Giardino Armonico,  Doulce Mémoire  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 17.
    Louis Couperin: Harpsichord Music / Skip Sempé
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 66 Release Date: 03/22/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Louis Couperin,  Johann Jacob Froberger,  Marin Marais
    Performer:  Skip Sempé
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  • 18.
    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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  • 19.
    Pavana - The Virgin Harpsichord / Skip Sempé, Fortin, Hantaï
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 8841 Release Date: 06/11/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Byrd,  Anonymous,  Martin Peerson,  Robert Johnson  ... 
    Performer:  Skip Sempé,  Pierre Hantaï
    CD not available
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  • 20.
    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
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  • 21.
    Canto Mediterraneo / Laurens, Sempé, Capriccio Stravagante
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 8870 Release Date: 02/12/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Scandello,  Anonymous,  Gaspar Sanz,  Diego Ortiz  ... 
    Performer:  Guillemette Laurens,  Skip Sempé
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante
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  • 22.
    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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