A recital at Holywell Music Room tonight, to commemorate the birthday of Philip Bate (he of the eponymous instrument collection), will feature Dutch composer and early keyboard player Hendrik Bouman performing, on a self-built harpsichord, works by J.S.Bach, Biber and three of his own pieces in the baroque idiom. Joining him in the English premieres of Bouman's Fantasy for Violin in G major and Sonata for Violin and obbligato Harpsichord in D major will be Simon Standage, on a 1685 violin by Giovanni Grancino.

Bouman, who was harpsichordist at Musica Antiqua-Köln, and founder-director of the period orchestra Les Nations de Montréal, and of Haydn Heritage, Concerto Felice and Baroque SaMuse, moved to Old Kidlington last year with his wife Anna and their children. Originally from Dordrecht, he learned piano as a youngster, and in his teens enjoyed the concerts of the Rotterdam Symphony.

"I had a liking for piano improvisation and tried to reconstruct, by ear, extracts from orchestral works" he says. "I was around 15 when I woke up to the baroque. I discovered the harpsichord during Bach's St Matthew Passion, and came to love its repertoire, its continuo function - allowing me to play ensemble, its size - transportable, and its hands-on feeling: the tuning and tinkering', as Anna calls it."

While studying at the Amsterdam Conservatory, Bouman met Norwegian harpsichordist Kethil Haugsand, who performed on an instrument he had made himself. "With useful hints from him, the acquaintance of a few Dutch builders, the experience of playing on historic instruments in Antwerp and Paris, and armed with Three Centuries of Harpsichord Building by Frank Hubbard, I built in my one-room student's apartment a copy of a small harpsichord by Pisaurensis." He has since made three other instruments, including the double manual harpsichord he will use tonight.

Of the composition and improvisation in the styles of 17th- and 18th-century Europe for which he is renowned, he says: "The rigid mind-set surrounding classical music culture, based on task division and a venerated canon of repertoire, can obscure the original naturalness of musicianship - chords, scales and forms are not the exclusive property of composers who have juggled them into works of art; and style is not necessarily locked up in a period in time."

The concert is at 8 pm. Tickets: Oxford Playhouse or on the door.f=Swis721 Blk BT Julie Webb