Have a look around Handcrafted harpsichords Knowledge and intuition, experience and experimenting, they all blend together when I work. Have a look around Handcrafted harpsichords Knowledge and intuition, experience and experimenting, they all blend together when I work. Have a look around Handcrafted harpsichords Knowledge and intuition, experience and experimenting, they all blend together when I work.
signature Jan Kalsbeek

Jan Kalsbeek

Curiosity started me building harpsichords. Today it is as strong as it was when I begun my first instrument in 1973. Since then, I created over one hundred of them. While building, I open my mind to the soul of the instrument – that is the challenge and the commitment. It is in my hands to bring it into form. It is a mysterious process.

I have had no formal education in woodworking nor harpsichord building, so I needed to be resourceful. For guidance, I looked to the instruments of the old masters: noticing how they had proceeded, and trying to figure out the grounds for the solutions they chose. I never cease to be surprised at the multiplicity of the roads that can be taken. This inspires me to always learn.

Jan Kalsbeek in his workshop
soundboard

Beginnings

1973

After studies at the Library Academy, Jan spent several years working in that field, but at around the age of twenty he became fascinated by the harpsichord. A cheaply acquired instrument was restored by him in order to play it. Inspired by this, in 1973, he began to make his first instrument.

Jan Kalsbeek Workshop

Workshop Zutphen

1984

Jan decided to become a full-time harpsichord maker in 1984. Since that time, Jan has lived and worked in the Dutch Hanseatic town of Zutphen, where he has a studio in a medieval premises in the old centre of the town. Read more ->

drawing of a harpsichord type

Voyage & Discovery

1984-2020

Every instrument is a voyage of discovery. I move on from one instrument to the next, wondering what lies there to be revealed in each and every one of them, and how I can technically make this happen.

Jan Kalsbeek at a harpichord

The Future

2020

Still being passionate about making harpsichords I concentrate my energy now on the instruments after Mietke and the early Blanchet I recently developed.

Have a look around

This is what I make

Once I heard a great harpichord concert, and listening I realised that I heard no instrument, no player, just music. Since then, I know that this is what I want to realise in my instruments.  That is my calling.
I am a craftsman and knowledge and intuition, experience and experimenting, they all blend together when I work.