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Sophie Yates

One of the world's preeminent harpsichordists, Sophie Yates is known for her critically acclaimed performances of Baroque music. Universally praised for her profound understanding of Baroque style, Yates is also admired for her refined touch and discreet virtuosity. Indeed, critics have often lauded Yates for subordinating her enormous virtuosity to stylistic and aesthetic concerns. As a specialist in French Baroque music, Yates masterfully captures the elusive style of French Baroque keyboard performance, perfectly conjuring up the enigmatic atmosphere of distant intimacy heard in pieces by Couperin and Rameau. Commenting on her album French Baroque Harpsichord, critic Robert Haskins admired Yates' subtle renditions of Couperin's music. "In her readings of Les Idées heureuses, she savors the melodic quality of the ornamentation and the stately but fluid rhythms to marvelous effect." From the vantage point of the French Baroque, Yates has also explored Italian, German, and Iberian repertoires, bringing to light many forgotten harpsichord pieces. Her exploration of Spanish and Portuguese music has been particularly successful, yielding the album Spanish and Portuguese Harpsichord, in which, as Haskins observed, she "combines her ability to project a profound inner intensity with scintillant technique." Yates studied harpsichord at the Royal College of Music in London. Her career was launched when she won the International Erwin Bodky Competition at the Boston Early Music Festival. Invited to tour the eastern United States, Yates subsequently received offers from other parts of the world. In fact, Yates could be described as a true globetrotting harpsichordist, having played in Syria, Morocco, Australia, and Japan. With her home base in London, she regularly tours Europe. A teacher at the Royal College of Music, Yates is also a virginals specialist, searching for old instruments and exploring the repertoire. Her highly praised albums, released by Chandos, include Rameau: Pièces de clavecin, Romanesca: Italian Music for the Harpsichord, and Fandango: Scarlatti in Iberia. In 1999, Yates released her first album devoted to Handel's harpsichord music. In the liner notes for her second Handel album, Yates remarked that Handel's harpsichord pieces not only exhibit such typicially Handelian features as rhythmic vitality and melodic inventiveness, but also "give us a fascinating insight into the composer's more private world."
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