John McKean, originally from the coast of Maine, is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, where he previously completed an MPhil in historical musicology. His doctoral research, supervised by John Rink and Martin Ennis, concerns the development of keyboard technique in the German-speaking lands around the turn of the eighteenth century. Other recent research has dealt with the life and works of Gaspard Le Roux and issues of notation and textuality in György Ligeti’s harpsichord compositions. He has presented his research at conferences in London, Edinburgh, Hull, and Lisbon.
Before coming to Cambridge, John received a BM in harpsichord performance and a BA in German studies from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music (Ohio, USA) and an advanced performance degree from the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik (Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany). In addition to studies with Lisa Crawford and Webb Wiggins at Oberlin and with Robert Hill in Freiburg, John has received instruction from some of the greatest modern masters of historic keyboards, including Skip Sempé, Jesper Christensen, Mitzi Meyerson, Richard Egarr and Gustav Leonhardt.
As a harpsichordist, John actively performs throughout Europe and North America as both a soloist and as a member of numerous ensembles and baroque orchestras, including the Catacoustic Consort, Camerata Vocale Freiburg, Apollo’s Fire, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and is a founding member of the Habsburger Camerata. Past concert engagements have brought him to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Philips Collection in Washington D.C., Fondazione Cini in Venice and the Montisi Music Festival in Tuscany, Festwochen Attersee and St. Florian in Austria, the Festival van Vlaanderen in Belgium and the Händel Festspiele in Göttingen, Germany.
John maintains an active interest in organology (he regularly performs on his own reconstruction of a 17th century Flemish harpsichord), typography, music publishing, and serves as the editor of recording reviews for the Oxford University Press journal Early Music.