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Local Harpsichord Will be Featured in L’Ermitage Foundation Concert Series

Neupert Harpsichord at the Kasimoff-Blüthner Piano Company on Larchmont Blvd. (photo by Steve Moyer)

The famous 60-year-old Neupert Harpsichord from Larchmont’s Kasimoff-Blüthner Piano Co. will be making a rare public appearance in the L’Ermitage Foundation Concert Series on Thursday, August 31st.

The legendary instrument will be featured in a performance with Cellist RusLan Biryukov and Harpsichordist Nathan Lewis performing three Italian Baroque virtuoso Cello Sonatas on Thursday, August 31, 2023, at 8:00 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel. Biryukov will be playing a Cello crafted by Pierre Gaggini (1976) provided by Robert Cauer, the Hollywood-based string instrument restorer for The Colburn instrument collection and the Los Angeles Philharmonic string instrument collection.

“My late husband, Bill and I acquired the Neupert Harpsichord 60 years ago in August 1963, when we started our business,” Helga Kasimoff, 92-year-old Owner of Kasimoff-Blüthner Piano Co. told the Buzz during an interview.

“The harpsichord was built by J.C. Neupert in Bamberg, West Germany in 1963,” explained Kasimoff. “This particular ‘star’ harpsichord is unlike no other, in that it has been featured in countless Hollywood films, television shows, commercials, in concerts, and on recordings. From opera singers Marilyn Horne and Beverly Sills, to “Titanic” and “The Little Mermaid,” to “The Partridge Family” and “Kung Fu,” to New York City Opera and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Neupert Harpsichord is the most heard, recorded and traveled harpsichord in the world.”

The Kasimoffs (seated) Helga and (l to r standing) Serge, Ivan and Kyril with Neupert Harpsichord. (photo by Steve Moyer)

The instrument is eight feet, seven inches long; three feet, five inches wide; weighs 375 pounds, and has two manual keyboards and seven pedals. Serge Kasimoff, a musician and educator, gave us a demonstration of the famous instrument including some of the more familiar compositions like the theme song from the original Adams Family television show.

The Kasimoffs are known for their extensive knowledge and personal service.  The Kasimoff-Blüthner Piano Co. provides pianos for live recitals, chamber music concerts, and opera and ballet performances, as well as for recordings for film and television projects. They also have  restored Blüthner grand pianos owned by Composer Jerome Kern (1924), Prince Esterházy (1903), King Johann of Saxony (1867) and Composer Ernest Toch (1926) at Villa Aurora in the Pacific Palisades, CA.

Now celebrating their 60th Anniversary in business, Kasimoff-Blüthner Piano Co. continues to be run by the family,  Helga and her sons, Serge, Ivan and Kyril Kasimoff. Shop opened on Larchmont in 1963 and is LA’s oldest piano store.

Serge Kasimoff playing the Neupert Harpsichord

The August 31st L’Ermitage Foundation program will include three Baroque Italian Sonatas for Cello and Harpsichord, including Antonio Vivaldi’s (1678-1741) “Sonata in E minor. No. 5,” Luigi Boccherini’s (1743-1805) “Cello Sonata No. 6 in A Major,” and Pietro Locatelli’s (1695-1764) “Sonata in D Major.”

The concert will feature a demonstration of the various sound qualities of the unique historic harpsichord, as well as some comments about the general historic perspective of the Italian Baroque styles and 18th-century virtuoso instrumental music.

The August 31st program will be a live preview of a video film recording of the same program to be released, on September 8th at 8:00 p.m. PST on RusLan Biryukov’s YouTube Channel.

L’Ermitage Foundation series features rare musical programs in an intimate salon setting while raising funds for selected charitable organizations. Performances range from classical music to Latin sounds and jazz from solo recitals to chamber music. The concerts take place in the salon of the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel.

Admission to the concert is $60.00 per person. Due to limited seating, Advance Reservations for the 60-minute concert are required and can be made by calling the L’Ermitage Foundation at 310-472-3330 or by E-mailing [email protected], or via Eventbrite.

Valet parking is available at the hotel for $16 per car. To learn more about this concert and tax-deductible membership in L’Ermitage Foundation, please visit online. Click here to listen to some sample musical excerpts of music to be performed.

The Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel is located at 11461 Sunset Boulevard (at Church Lane/I-405), Los Angeles, CA 90049.

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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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