Seeking inspiration from our Museum’s colourful array of historic instruments, Courtney was given demonstrations of our Baroque and Classical period instruments from the Academy’s Becket Collection, including an early 18th-century violino piccolo, a copy of a three-string 18th-century double bass, and an early 17th-century tenor viola – one of the oldest instruments in the Academy’s collection.

Courtney Love is currently working on her next album, and came to the Museum to hear sounds and textures of historical instruments which will inform the creative process for her new material. On a tour of the piano gallery, Academy alumna and historical keyboard expert Elena Vorotko demonstrated and explained some of the rare and wonderful instruments in the collection. This included a 17th-century Italian virginal, a clavichord by Arnold Dolmetsch, and English harpsichords and square pianos from the 18th century.

Highlighting the importance of female composers across the ages, especially on International Women’s Day, our students also performed songs by Barbara Strozzi, a 17th-century Italian composer.

Since its foundation in 1822, the Academy has acquired and created important collections of instruments, artworks, memorabilia, manuscripts, letters, scores, performance materials and other objects.

The Becket Collection comprises a complete orchestra of 25 Classical-period British stringed instruments, woodwind, brass and percussion, and a Baroque ensemble of 13 stringed instruments. It was donated to the Academy in 2012 by Elise Becket Smith OBE. The Academy’s Museum is open to members of the public, schools and educational groups, free of charge. To find out more, visit our Museum page.

Image: Courtney Love with Academy students Marguerite and James