The European Fortepiano Museum/Academy, EFM, was originally
founded by 6 professional musicians and restoration specialist,
Pooya Radbon. We were encouraged by other historical keyboard
collectors and scholars, whose like-mindedness, passion, and
knowledge related to 18th and early 19th century music and early
keyboards, encouraged our efforts.
Our intention is to preserve, and in some cases, restore these
fortepianos for a growing number of enthusiastic musicians,
professionals, amateurs, and students alike. We are centered in
the region of Basel (a mecca of early music) but also right in
your home with our videos and demonstrations on the internet.
From our large, unique collection, over 70 historical keyboard
instruments, we will continue each year to restore selected
examples to playing condition for our worldwide audience.
This association is non-governmental and can only continue
through sponsorship of those who appreciate the great effort and
time necessary to maintain this superb collection. We appreciate
Our Staff members
Chairman of the Board & Faculty member
Dr. Michael Tsalka
Michael Tsalka is currently serving as an Assistant Professor at the School of Music, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen. As a pianist and Early Keyboard performer, he has won numerous prizes in Europe, Asia, North America and Latin America. He is a versatile musician, who performs repertoire from the early Baroque era to our days. He was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel. After studies in Israel, Germany and Italy, he graduated in 2008 from Temple University (U.S.A) with a D.M.A. in Piano Performance and an M.M. in Early Keyboard Performance and Chamber Music. His mentors included Lambert Orkis, Joyce Lindorff, Harvey Wedeen, as well as Dario di Rosa, Klaus Schilde, Malcolm Bilson, David Shemer, Sandra Mangsen, and Charles Rosen.
Dr. Tsalka maintains a busy concert schedule, performing circa 110 concerts a year worldwide. Recent engagements included Hall of Central Harmony in Beijing Forbidden City, Bellas Artes Theater in Mexico City, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, St. Denis Festival in Paris, Shenzhen Sea World Culture and Arts Center, Beethoven House in Bonn, Tokyo's City Opera, National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Volksbühne in Berlin, Daning Theatre in Shanghai, the Jerusalem Music Centre, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the ElbPhilharmonie in Hamburg, Shanghai Concert Hall, Shenzhen’s Concert Hall, Xinghai Concert Hall in Guangzhou, plus live performances for radio/television stations around the globe (Sydney, Chicago, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Munich, Stockholm, Helsinki, Auckland, Brussels, Geneva, Canberra, London and Hong Kong, China). Together with musicologist Dr. Angélica Minero Escobar, he has prepared a critical edition of Daniel Gottlob Türk's 30 keyboard sonatas for Artaria Editions in New Zealand. Additionally, eight of his scholarly articles have been published by music journals, in Italy, the U.S.A., and the Netherlands.
He has recorded 28 critically acclaimed CDs for NAXOS, Grand Piano, Paladino, Brilliant Classics, IMI, Sheva Collection, Wirripang, and Ljud & Bild. He has performed as soloist with many orchestras, among them Sydney Consort and ThoroughBass (Australia), Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra, Birmingham University Chamber Orchestra (U.K.), Temple University Chamber Orchestra (Philadelphia), Krasnoyarsk Chamber Orchestra (Russia), Guatemala Symphony Orchestra, Silvestre Revueltas Chamber Orchestra (Guanajuato, Mexico), St. Louis' City Orchestra, Hermitage Festival Orchestra (St. Petersburg), Baroque Camerata (Taiwan, China), Filharmonica Orchestra (Manila). Dr. Tsalka has collaborated with musicians such as Lambert Orkis, Cynthia Roberts, Peter Sykes, Alon Sariel, and Christopher Hogwood. Circa 65 contemporary compositions (which he premiered) were dedicated to him by composers from all over the world.
Dr. Tsalka has directed multiple festivals in China, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Finland. From 2002-2008, he taught at the Esther Boyer College of Music in Philadelphia. From 2009-2014, he taught at the Escuela Superior de Música, National Center for the Arts in Mexico City, and at Lilla Akademien, Stockholm. He has been an artist in residence at the NCMA in New Zealand (2018, 2020), and has presented over 145 master classes in academic institutions in all continents. Dr. Tsalka’s students have been accepted to prestigious institutions worldwide, often with complete grants and awards—such as Eastman School of Music, the Royal College of Music, Jacobs School of Music, Royal Conservatoire The Hague, and have recently won first prizes at International Piano Competitions—the Vivace International Paris Piano Competition, and the Bavaria Internationaler Wettbewerb für Junge Pianisten.
Treasurer of the association
University degree in Dresden and Halle as cantor / organist in the subjects: piano, organ, improvisation, counterpoint, harmony, ear training, music theory, morphology, singing, conducting, choral conducting, score reading and organ building.
After studying private organ studies with Hans Otto at the great Silbermann organ in Freiberg Cathedral.
Intensive study of the early music performance practice and extensive study of the sources. Participation in several seminars Interpretation of Early Music.
From 1978 to 2012 cantor and organist at the Gothic St. Mary's Church in Angermünde and the church district Uckermark. Promoter and organizer of the annual since 1979 Angermünder summer concerts in the Marienkirche with choral, orchestral, chamber and organ concerts.Concert activity at home and abroad. Organ concert tours have taken him to Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, France, Japan, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil.Television and radio recordings at the Wagner organ. For broadcasting the Romansh and German-speaking Switzerland, he played a compositions from the 20th century.CD recordings on the Baroque organ in Angermünde:- Co-production Japan Tokyo / SFB Berlin- European Orgellandschaften Capriccio- Christmas organ music for Christnacht- Motet2000 Dieter Glös Award for his commitment to the Culture Prize of the City Angermünde.2010 Chairman and Head of Orgelakademie Uckermark-Western Pomerania.
Artistic director, Curator and Restorer
Pooya Radbon was born in Tehran, where he learned to play the violin, mostly interested in classical music prior to 1850. After discovering the ''informed performance practice'' mostly from Nicolaus Harnoncourt, he passionately dedicated his whole life to it so far. He formed the first early music ensemble in Iran, giving concerts and a seminar on HIP at the Tehran University. After moving to Bremen (HfK), he studied the baroque violin with Thomas Albert and Stephanie Paulet and participated regularly in masterclasses given by Enrico Onofri. He also had lessons with Sigiswald Kuijken and Elizabeth Wallfisch, with whom he collaborated on various projects, including several radio broadcasts and CD recordings, and appeared as soloist with her and Jap ter Linden. With the Wallfisch Band, they performed concerts in France, the Netherlands, and Germany.
He also performed under the direction of Bruno Weil, Wim Becu, Alfredo Bernardini, Detlef Bratschke and Thomas Albert. From the beginning of his residency in Germany, he started to collect fortepianos from the eighteenth century due to his love for Mozart’s music. Within a decade he had built one of the world’s largest and finest fortepiano collections, consisting of instruments from the early and late Classical period but also numerous Romantic pianos. Although largely self-taught, he learned techniques of restoration from master woodworkers and had the privilege of consulting Christopher Clarke on most restoration projects for more than 1000 hours.
Pooya Radbon endeavors to save the most historically significant keyboard instruments (including harpsichords, clavichords, pantalons, tangent pianos, and spinets) from exclusively private ownership, making them available not only to local musicians but to the wider world through social media. On these platforms he enjoys creating excitement and inspiring keyboardists to learn more about the qualities of historical instruments and the lesser-known repertoire. In 2020 he founded the EFM (European Fortepiano Museum/Academy), the aim of which is to create a center for early keyboard instruments with the help of enthusiasts at a high level, inviting fine historical keyboardists from around the world to give lecture-recitals, concerts and masterclasses and to broadcast videos of exquisite historical keyboard instruments.
In addition to his activities as a professional restorer., he continues performing chamber music from the Baroque and Classical periods.
Photo: Marco Borggreve
Aapo Häkkinen began his musical education as a chorister at Helsinki Cathedral. He took up the harpsichord at the age of thirteen, studying with Elina Mustonen and Olli Porthan (organ) at the Sibelius Academy. From 1995 to 1998 he studied with Bob van Asperen at the Amsterdam Sweelinck Conservatory and from 1996 to 2000 with Pierre Hantaï in Paris, and also enjoyed the generous guidance and encouragement of Gustav Leonhardt. Immediately after obtaining his diploma in 1998, he won second prize and the VRT prize at the Bruges Harpsichord Competition. He was also awarded the Norddeutscher Rundfunk special prize Musikpreis 1997 for his interpretations of Italian music.
Aapo Häkkinen has appeared as soloist and conductor in most European countries, in Turkey, Israel, Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, the USA, Brazil, and Mexico.
He has recorded for the labels Aeolus, Alba, Avie, Cantus, Deux-Elles, Naxos, and Ondine. A frequent guest on both radio and television, he hosts his own programme on Classic FM in Finland. Besides the harpsichord, Aapo Häkkinen regularly performs on the organ, on the clavichord, and on the fortepiano. He teaches at the Sibelius Academy and at international masterclasses. He has been Artistic Director of the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra since 2003.
A graduate of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique, Paris, and of the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, Aline Zylberajch started her career as a harpsichordist. She contributed to the early productions of ensembles such as La Chapelle Royale, Les Musiciens du Louvre and Le Parlement de Musique, with which she performed numerous operas and oratorios.
Later, her interest in the music of the late 18th century led her naturally to an intensive involvement in the performance practice of the early piano, discovering at the same time the amazing variety of keyboard instruments that flourished all over Europe. This period, which also saw the increasing popularity of duos, trios and quartets with obbligato keyboard opened up a whole new field of research into chamber music, and new happy musical encounters. One of her other addictions is playing vocal music, from early Baroque songs to Lieder evenings, and listening to the many ways this flows through to keyboard repertoire.
Sharing through teaching has always been an important part of her musical life. As a harpsichord teacher at the Academie Supérieure de Musique in Strasbourg, she has been invited for recitals and interpretation Masters classes in France, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Poland, Germany, Mexico, Australia & Japan. Since 2011 she has been teaching pedagogy of the harpsichord at the Pedagogy Department of Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique, Paris.
She is a founding member and since 2020 appointed chairwoman of “Clavecin en France” society.
Her recordings have received much praise in Diapason, Classica, Gramophone, Early Music Review, Répertoire, le Monde de la Musique, etc.
Martin Gester’s artistic personality has been fashioned through his constant acute curiosity and exposure to a great number of neglected masterpieces. That personality infuses his profoundly original approach to mainstream repertoire, whether at the head of his ensemble, as a guest conductor, or a soloist in chamber music.
Using his own personal style, he revives the ideal of the Baroque artist: open-minded, multifaceted and humanist. To this end, he draws on his dual literary and musical training (instrumental, organ and harpsichord, and vocal); his passion for history and attentiveness to oral traditions; his fondness for dance and theatre; and his special interest in restoring the links between cultures and disciplines which are customarily separated. In 1990, he founded Le Parlement de Musique in Strasbourg. It is a flexibly-sized ensemble created to suit his tastes, and is both a place for experimentation and a dissemination tool. At that time, Martin Gester had already had years of literary and musical studies behind him. By turns singer in polyphonic groups, performer and improviser (aside from the organ, he studied the piano and the harpsichord), choirmaster, musicologist and teacher (of both Classics and music), he has played many repertoires ranging over four centuries. His early passion for Renaissance polyphony certainly played its role in
subsequently refocusing his activity on the art of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, but he also admits to a marked penchant for Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, and bel canto opera until Rossini. .
It is at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique of Lyon that the first discovery with the pianofortes will give rise to an inexhaustible passion and curiosity that have since led Matthieu
to acquire many period instruments, which seem to him the closest to his musical sensitivity. Formed with Eric Heidsieck, Frank Krawczyk and Ruben Lifschitz, Matthieu
has always given a very important place to chamber music and lied: Thus, he followed a cycle of chamber music development and was awarded a scholarship from the Mécénat Musical Société Générale to work with Peter Feuchtwanger and Roger Vignoles in London. Alongside his position as professor of piano and pianoforte at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Départemental de Musique, Danse et Théâtre de Mulhouse (France), which he has held since 2006, he devotes a large part of his time to the study of instrumental making, research around the historical and cultural context, in connection with the instruments of the time for which the works were written. On several occasions, he plays and takes his class to different museums or European collections. He collaborates with fortepiano restorer Olivier Fadini, as part of an important research work on the Pleyel pianos of the time of Chopin and regularly shares during masterclasses their discoveries rich in teaching for students (2016, CRR de Paris, 2018 as part of «La semaine du Piano», «Rencontres autour de deux pianos Pleyel de l'époque de Chopin», at the CRR de Strasbourg with two instruments from its collection., 2021 CRD de Mulhouse). Since 2015 he is the pianist of the ensemble Double Face (https://ensemble-double-face.fr/), with whom he performs regularly with his various instruments, according to the repertoire. He plays in duo (romantic guitar-pianoforte) with guitarist Rémi Cassaigne and accompanies sopranos Stéphanie Révidat, Anaïs Yvoz and Véronique Bourin as well as cornetist Marie Garnier. He also worked closely with the French soprano Catherine Dubosc for whom he performed transcriptions of Mozart concert arias for voice with violin accompaniment, cello and pianoforte created in August 2018 and February 2019. He also performed in recital in June 2019 at the «XII Festival de Mùsica Clàssica Pianino 2019» of Majorca on a Pleyel piano of the composer’s time in a program around Chopin’s 24 Preludes op.28 for the presentation of the latest work by Swiss musicologist Jean-Jacques Eigeldinger. He was also invited in December 2019 by the restorer Alexei Stawicki for the inauguration of the Museum of Ancient Keyboard Instruments in Rybinsk (Russia). Finally, he forms a duet with his wife violinist, Elsa Ladislas: both enjoy exploring a wide repertoire from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century, with the permanent concern of a most authentic possible match of their instruments with the music performed. Thus, for the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, they gave an integral of the Sonatas for violin and piano of the master of Bonn on historical instruments from his collection and the composer’s time.
Photo by Jean-Pierre Schmitt
Dr. Heidi Tsai
Heidi Tsai, equally virtuosic in harpsichord, fortepiano and piano, performs regularly on all three instruments. Her versatile musicality brings life to different genres of repertoire from 17th to 21st centuries. She has been featured as a soloist on both the fortepiano and the harpsichord in Europe and the United States. In an orchestral setting, she has collaborated with Christian Zacharias, Giovanni Antonini, Leonard Slatkin, and Robert King, Stanley Ritchie, and Nigel North. Ms. Tsai has been invited to play in major concert series and music festivals throughout the United States, Central America, Asia and Europe. Her live performance of the Goldberg Variations received warm and enthusiastic feedback from the audiences, and was recorded and broadcasted by Catalunya Música. She has also been invited and performed on the television program ‘El Temps del Picó’ (Barcelona). As a musician, Heidi was also featured twice on the magazine ‘Metropolitan’ in Barcelona. In addition to performing solo recitals and appearing with orchestras, Ms. Tsai is frequently sought after as a sensitive and initiating chamber and continuo player. Heidi Tsai is also the co-founder and artistic director of the early music group Barcelona Barroc, their most recent project, Chiaoscuro, involved 8 musicians, a tour in Spain, and a finished recording. In 2018, her solo fortepiano recording made its debut under the recording label b# Productions in Berlin, it had received numerous warm reviews in Germany and Japan.
She has taught both piano and harpsichord at Boston University, Boston Conservatory, Arizona State University and Indiana University. From 2002-2019, Heidi Tsai has been on the faculty in the early music department at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC) in Barcelona, and the Conservatoire in Pau, France.
Auditor of the EFM association
Johannes Koch, born in 1967 in the Lower Rhine region, has been interested in the sound and construction of historical keyboard instruments since his youth. Professionally, he decided to study law and holds a doctorate in law. Besides his profession, his passion is still playing the piano. After having built a clavichord and a harpsichord, he is concerned with original historical instruments and owns meanwhile a small collection of about 10 square and grand pianos, just about as much as can be hosted in a private home. Since he is also not untalented in craftsmanship, his instruments are all playable (YouTube-Channel "Jan Kappes")and mostly restored by himself.
Auditor of the EFM association
Peter Karsten, born 24.7.1961, piano lessons from the age of 14, organ lessons in the Gethsemane Church in Berlin since 1978 (at the age of 17), wanted to become an organ builder, but then trained in civil engineering and studies. Hobby and profession merged with his engineering office for acoustics (founded in 1996, http://akustik-analyse.de/), main focus on building and room acoustics as well as the interaction of the acoustics of the instruments with their respective place of installation, intensive engagement with metrologically supported analysis of ageing processes in historical instruments and their reproduction in copies.
For the past 30 years, he has been building up his own collection of musical instruments (http://akustik-analyse.de/musikinstrumenten-museum) with a focus on historical guitars (original instruments from around 1630) and keyboard instruments (original instruments from around 1600) and their technical development from their beginnings to the present day. The oldest instrument is a harp from the 16th century, the newest instrument is from 2021.