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John Paul Jones premiere at the Swaledale Festival

June 4th Amores Pasados at Grinton Church

We don’t often do gigs the UK, so when we do they’re really special. We’re delighted to be in Grinton on June 4th – pretty well home territory for Jacob Heringman and me, and Anna Maria Friman and Ariel Abramovich have often joined us in Yorkshire to rehearse so they’re almost local too. We’ve kicked off every secular programme with  John Paul Jones’ Amores Pasados  and we can’t resist doing it again this time, but we’ll also be premiering the new piece he wrote for us, having heard our York gig last year.


It’s a setting of Blake’s Cradle Song and is absolutely ravishing. Also on the bill are Jake’s arrangements of English song, including the almost unknown Peter Pope as well as E J Moeran, Warlock and C W Orr. There’ll be some Arvo Pärt and some early music too, as well as Sting and settings of Shakespeare and Campion by Genesis keyboardist Tony Banks.  Anna Maria Friman will have her Hardanger fiddle – and be prepared for at least one extra bass player.

Before that Anna and I will both be  joining Daniel Stighäll and the Swedish ensemble Mare Balticum in Kristianstad, rehearsing a project for Musik i Syd with actress Cecilia Frode which will come to fruition with a tour in southern Sweden from the autumn onwards. I’ll post a list of dates nearer the time (there’s more info in Swedish here).

June 14-17 Nieder-Olm Festival for Young Voices

I’m returning to Nieder-Olm for another ensemble singing summer school with my old friend Werner Schüßler. There will be several young ensembles, who will take part in concerts in Kettenheim (16th) and Nieder-Olm (17th).

Werner’s new book is almost ready. This is a comprehensive and inspirational instruction manual for singers of all sorts. I’ve been metaphorically looking over his shoulder while Germany’s most famous Geordie has been working on this, the product of a lifetime’s engagement with singers of all descriptions.

Gavin Bryars Ensemble

June 22 Winestead, June 30 Hull, July 8 Royal Festival Hall, London

This will be a new commission from Opera North in connection with the City of Culture and the New Music Biennal (the ‘possibly one singer’ referred to is yours truly). Winestead church is believed to be where the poet Andrew Marvel was christened, and Gavin Bryars’ new work will have a Marvel text. The RFH concert is at 3.00 in the afternoon and tickets are free but you have to apply for them. You need a PhD in Googling to be able to do this…


Ongoing tenor musings



A couple of years ago I gave a paper at the Schwert Tenor: Mythos, Geschichte, Gegenwart conference and the book of the conference has just landed on my desk. It was a great conference and the book is full of interesting stuff – especially if you speak German. Mine’s the only chapter in English and it discusses the nature of the voice since recording began.

Red Byrd rides again

The progressive music site The Quietus has an interview coming up about Red Byrd’s experience at Factory Classical that resulted in the Songs of Love & Death album. They were exciting times, and I even got to wear white trousers with red braces…


Well, it was the 1980s…

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