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 1-17 of 17 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,  Frank Albinder,  Douglas [Tenor Vocals] Wright,  Christopher Fritzsche  ... 
    Conductor:  Joseph Jennings,  Ettore Stratta,  Frank Albinder,  Skip Sempé
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer,  Chanticleer Sinfonia,  Don Haas Trio  ... 
    CD: $68.99
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  • 2.
    Terpsichore - Muse Of The Dance / Sempe, Capriccio Stravagante
    Label: Paradizo   Catalog: 11 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  Anonymous,  Anthony Holborne,  John Bennet  ... 
    Conductor:  Skip Sempé
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante
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  • 3.
    Les Grandes Eaux Musicales De Versailles
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 814 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Various,  Jean-Henri D'Anglebert,  Etienne Moulinie,  Jean-Philippe Rameau  ... 
    Conductor:  Skip Sempé,  Vincent Dumestre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante,  Le Poème Harmonique,  Café Zimmermann  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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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.
    Francois Couperin: Concert Dans Le Gout Theatral
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 8929 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  François Couperin
    Conductor:  Skip Sempé
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante
    CD: $12.99
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  • 6.
    Les musiques de Louis XIV Vol 1
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5196 Release Date: 09/29/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert de Visée,  Anonymous,  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Marin Marais  ... 
    Performer:  Hopkinson Smith
    Conductor:  Skip Sempé,  Christophe Rousset,  Marcel Pérès
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amarillis,  Capriccio Stravagante,  Les Talens Lyriques  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 7.
    Les musiques de Louis XIV Vol 2
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5197 Release Date: 09/29/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Jean-Baptiste Lully,  Robert de Visée,  François Couperin  ... 
    Performer:  Cassandre Berthon,  Jean-Baptiste Dumora,  Valerie Gabail,  Jean-François Novelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Héloise Gaillard,  Christophe Rousset,  Skip Sempé
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amarillis,  Les Talens Lyriques,  Capriccio Stravagante  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    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
    Recommendation
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  • 11.
    La Pellegrina - Malvezzi, Marenzio, Etc: Intermedii
    Label: Paradizo   Catalog: 4 Release Date: 03/11/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Cristofano Malvezzi
    Conductor:  Skip Sempé
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante,  Ghent Collegium Vocale
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  • 12.
    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
    Recommendation
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  • 13.
    Handel: Opera Arias And Cantatas / Sempé, Bayo, Et Al
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 8914 Release Date: 08/28/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Maria Bayo
    Conductor:  Skip Sempé
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante
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  • 14.
    María Bayo Album - Handel, Mozart, Martín Y Soler, Etc
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 8907 Release Date: 03/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Vicente Martin y Soler,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Bayo
    Conductor:  Skip Sempé
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante
    CD: $14.99
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  • 15.
    Melancolie
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5036 Release Date: 02/21/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Philip Glass,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Laurent Cabasso,  Lina Mkrtchyan,  Evgeni Talisman,  Adele Anthony  ... 
    Conductor:  Takuo Yuasa,  Laurence Equilbey,  Rinaldo Alessandrini,  Jorma Panula  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ulster Orchestra,  Accentus,  Concerto Italiano  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 16.
    Venezia Stravagantissima - Mainerio, Etc / Sempé, Et Al
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 49 Release Date: 07/20/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Floriano Canale,  Orazio Vecchi,  Giovanni Picchi,  Giovanni Gabrieli  ... 
    Performer:  Guillemette Laurens
    Conductor:  Skip Sempé
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante
    Recommendation
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    CD: $11.99
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  • 17.
    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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