Robert Brooke started building harpsichords in 1967. Two unfortunate forays into early Zuckermann kits led him to the inescapable conclusion that better work could be done than building kits. In 1972, he started building in historical traditions and has never looked back. In those days, gaining access to antique instruments in the major collections was not as difficult as it is today, and he was able to see and measure instruments in both the Yale Collection and the Smithsonian Collection. These measurements led to the creation of plans which have since resulted in fine finished instruments.

He was active building on commission in the Washington D.C. area from 1972 until 1983. His instruments have been heard in concert throughout the Washington area and include Franco-Flemish two-manual instruments, single manual Flemish instruments, single manual Italian harpsichords and Italian virginals. Then and now, he works alone in a small shop and takes great pride in building each instrument in its entirety, mostly by hand. Art work, such as soundboard and lid painting, he commissions to skilled artists.

He is now building in southwestern Florida and specializes in Italian instruments. Having a good supply of Italian cypress, a wood that is increasingly difficult to import into this country, he is in a unique position to be able to offer true inner-outer Italian harpsichords with the cases of the inner instruments made of traditional Italian cypress. His instruments are now being heard as continuo instruments and in solo recitals in the Sarasota and Tampa Bay areas.

Robert Brooke Harpsichords ®   4214 18th Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205