In 1975 Anne Fahy catches the harpsichord bug while starting lessons with Antoine Geoffroy-Dechaume in Lille Conservatoire. In 1976 she benefits from nine months’ experience in the workshop of Rémy Gug in Strasbourg, followed by three years’ study in London under the guidance of David Law and Andrew Garrett.
In 1980, Anne Fahy and Ian Tucker set up their own workshop in Mistley, Essex, making harpsichords and other plucked keyboard instruments to order. With the exception of the strings, all parts are made in the workshop, using carefully selected and historically correct materials.
Ian carries out the construction of the carcase and casework, soundboard, bridges and barring, as well as metalwork such as hinges, wrestpins and registration stops. He also executes the external decoration, and carves woodblocks for printing the characteristic Flemish decorative papers.
Meanwhile Anne specialises in producing the action parts, in the appropriate style for each instrument: keyboards, jacks and registers. She designs the string band and tension graphs, and marks out, pins and strings the instruments, prior to setting up the action and voicing. Anne also decorates the soundboards using egg tempera and dry pigments, with arabesques and flowers in a Flemish or French style.
Early in their career, Anne Fahy and Ian Tucker have the privilege to access the Michael Thomas collection, measuring and photographing the instruments. This is a precious opportunity to learn directly from ancient instruments: their construction, adventures and misadventures, restorations and ravalements, over the centuries. Anne Fahy and Ian Tucker make reproductions of these charismatic instruments, notably the Sébastien Garnier 1747 (now in a private collection in Belgium), the Ruckers 1636 ravalé by Hemsch in 1763 and the English Anonymous 1623 (both now in the Cobbe Collection).
Anne and Ian also owe much to exchanges with many colleagues, in particular Jean Maurer, harpsichord and early piano restorer, and Clifford West, harpsichord voicer and tuner.
The instruments built by Anne Fahy and Ian Tucker are regularly used for concert work, recordings and broadcasts.
Now based in the Pyrénées Atlantiques in south-western France, Anne Fahy offers a service of harpsichord maintenance in the home of the musician. This may range between a little annual revision, a partial or entire revoicing in quill or Delrin, or the complete refurbishment of the whole action, setting up and voicing.
Anne works locally and also organises regional tours in France and the United Kingdom.