:: Gavin Bryars Ensemble

May news

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

I had a lovely time in Canada, as I always do. From the moment  you arrive at Immigration Canadians welcome you (so different from the US). Peter-Anthony Togni’s Responsio is a great piece to sing, and for these performances I got to stand next to Jeff Reilly so got the full impact of his amazing bass clarinet playing. May 3rd I was in Winchester cathedral with Gavin Bryars for more danced Laude as part of the Yorke Dance Project. We were just one part of a major sacred dance event that included the Winchester University Gospel Choir.  As usual we were terrifically moved by the dancers – and what a building for such a project.

Christopher Robinson’s 80th birthday evensong

I was in Cambridge a week later to celebrate Christopher Robinson’s 80th birthday. He’s one of those people who’s had a huge effect on my life, inviting me to join the Worcester cathedral choir and thereby rescuing me from the Guildhall School of Music (whose principal had said it was his duty to ensure I became an opera singer). It was my first job, and Christopher encouraged me to audition for the BBC, which led to our doing programmes of English song together (my first broadcast recitals). Singers from all of his former choirs  joined the St John’s choir for a celebratory evensong. It was a magnificent occasion with a mighty noise lofted to the vaulting on the wings of Elgar and Howells. I managed to keep up until Dear Lord and Father of Mankind at the end. As I was snivelling into my tissue the tenor behind me laid a hand on my shoulder. I feel a bit like that too, he said.

Conductus in Cambridge

I was back in Cambridge for the Conductus concert and workshop on the 14th. This was the last AHRC sponsored event in the UK (there’s a final one in Besalu on July 16/17th; our Three Choirs Festival concert on July 26th will be a new departure).  We had a great time – fabulous workshop (‘there’s a lot of intellect here…’ Rogers observed), in many ways the most rewarding we’ve done. It was great to see so many old friends – and very gratifying that the pioneering work of Selene Mills is in very safe hand with the new CEM team. The perfect acoustic of Little St Mary’s and the beautiful light streaming in more than made up for the fact that performing in the afternoon felt distinctly weird. To our great surprise we sold a huge number of CDs, so we must have been doing something right.

Amores Pasados in York

Not long to the first UK Amores Pasados at the National Centre for Early Music in York on June 9th.   Tickets are available on line at: https://tickets.ncem.co.uk/en-GB/shows/amores%20pasados/info and if you use the coupon code AP241 you can get a  special 50% discount offer on full and concession tickets (or ring 01904 658338).

We’ll be doing several Shakespeare settings including a beautiful new setting of Sonnet 73 by Tony Banks as well as Jacob Heringman’s version of Gavin Bryars’ Sonnet 128 (originally written for Anna and me as part of his Nothing Like the Sun project commissioned by the RSC and Opera North). ECM have a new album page for the CD. This doesn’t have tour dates like the release page, but these can be found here. I can confirm that John Paul Jones is working on a new piece for the autumn for us, having finished his opera.



photo: Maria Silvera

Amores Pasados & Conductus

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Beverley minster

The diary for the next few weeks looks like this:

May 21: 3 Medieval Tenors Beverley Early Music Festival
Conductus: the forgotten song of the middle ages

This is the first of our AHRC-funded concerts this year. It’s a lunchtime concert with a morning workshop and the programme will include at least one piece probably not performed for 800 years. You can book tickets here.

We’ll have copies of Conductus 1 & 2 for sale (no news yet of Conductus 3 but we’re hoping for September).

June 2-5: Tampere International Vocal Festival (Finland)



The ensemble singing season is in full swing. I’ll once more be chairing the ensemble jury at Tampere and am looking forward to some great music making. My fellow jurors are Jussi Chydenius from Rajaton, Anna Maria Friman from Trio Mediaeval, Anders Jalkeus from The Real Group and singer and composer Jenny Wilhelms-Seppälä. I’ve just heard that the German Ensemble Nobiles that Werner Schüßler and I have coached on a couple of occasions were prize winners at the Leipzig Acappella Festival run by the legendary Amarcord ensemble who attended Hilliard Ensemble summer schools when they were just starting out.

June 10: Durham: 3 Medieval Tenors Conductus: the forgotten song of the middle ages

Details still emerging but we’re expecting a workshop 2.00 – 4.00 and a concert at 8.00. Programme as for Beverley.


 June 12: Amores Pasados Aranjuez Festival (Spain)

This will be the launch of the ECM CD and our first live performance of the programme. We’ll do all the music from the album plus some Dowland, Finzi, Vaughan-Williams and C W Orr. We’ll have copies of the album for sale (it’s available on advance order from Amazon.de on advanced order for June 12.

The US release is a bit later, and copies can be ordered for July 17 on Amazon.com

AP cover


June 22: UK/Ireland release of Amores Pasados


June 21: Gavin Bryars Ensemble Glasgow

This is a Laude programme danced by the Stephen Pelton Dance Theatre. Tickets are available here

July 2: Amores Pasados Santiago de Compostela

Our second visit to Spain in three weeks. More to come in Spain later in the year, and also in Poland, Germany, Ireland and Cuba.

July 6: Brussels: 3 Medieval Tenors Conductus: the forgotten song of the middle ages

Workshop and concert at the MedRen Conference. The concert is in the beautiful abbaye de la Cambre. Details still sketchy but you should be able to get more information here. More Conductus gigs in the UK, Germany and Slovenia later in the year.

July 10: recording Roger Marsh’s Poor Yorick


Shandy Hall

I’ll be joining fellow ex-Hilliards at Shandy Hall to record the setting of Sterne that Roger wrote for the Hilliards’ 40th anniversary tour in 2013.

July 19: Selene Mills Memorial Concert Great St Mary’s Cambridge

Join the ex-Hilliards and many old friends to celebrate the life of Selene Mills.

Upcoming concerts

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015


This week I’m off to the Adelaide Festival where Gavin Bryars is composer in residence. I’ve been several times to the East and West coasts of Australia but this will be my first visit to the south. I’m hoping to see Gavin’s Marilyn Munroe opera soon after we arrive, then we have a GBE gig at which Peyee Chen and I will sing his (Blake) Morrison Songbook and a selection of Irish Madrigals and Laude. Then we have the wonderful Shakespeare sonnet cycle Nothing Like the Sun, with the magical spoken voice of Gavin Friday. It’ll be a pretty intense few days – super-charged essence of Bryars. And the sun should be shining…

3 Medieval Tenors


Not long after arriving home I’ll be heading for Bratislava for a Three Medieval Tenors concert in the cathedral on March 16th. I love Bratislava – it’s not only very beautiful but it has a proper cultural community that’s up for anything – and the cathedral is a wonderful building (I’ve performed there with the Dowland Project); it’s the perfect acoustic for the Conductus programme.

The next Three Med Tens concert is on May 21st in Beverly Minster (seating is limited and tickets are selling fast, so don’t miss it if you’re in Yorkshire). Our next visit to the north is Durham on June 9 or 10, then we have the Med Ren conference in Brussels July 6th, Radovljica on August 13th, Nieder Olm the week of September 10-17, and Brighton on September 19th. All of these have AHRC workshops where you can sign up (for free) to learn about the history of Conductus and how to perform this extraordinary musical/poetic hybrid music. They’re open to all, and there will be something for everyone whatever their previous musical experience.

Amores Pasados

ECM have confirmed that the album will be released in May/June, and we’ll be having a Spanish launch at the Aranjuez Festival (near Madrid) on June 13th with further concerts in Spain, Germany and Ireland later in the year. The programme will include all the music from the album, plus more of each of the three genres represented (new songs by rock musicians, early 20th century English song transcriptions, and 17th century lutesongs).


Amores Pasados, 3 Med Tens…

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

I’ve at last done some updates. The site now has new versions of the Programmes, Lute song and Conductus pages, and a new page for Amores Pasados.

 3 Medieval Tenors – Conductus

PAPH2725 smaller yellow

2015 is going to be very busy. We already have dates in Belgium, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia and Spain as well as the UK. Many of these will have AHRC-funded workshops which are open to all (we can even cope if you don’t read music) so keep an eye on this News page for details as we go through the year.  If you were saddened by the retirement of the Hilliard Ensemble, come and hear the Three Medieval Tenors, two of whom spent a great proportion of their careers in the group, and sign up for the workshops which might revolutionise your ideas of how medieval music should go.  Our next performance – Conductus: the Forgotten Song of the Middle Ages is in Bratislava on March 16th, and the third Conductus CD will be released in June.

 Amores Pasados


ECM 169 - B&W Amores Pasados project  WEB

I’m also very excited about Amores Pasados. The recording back in November was an extraordinarily intense experience for all of us. Our earlier recording (release now postponed till the autumn) wasn’t easy, so we were very surprised at how well things turned out in Oslo. We wanted to show that a song is a song, and that rock musicians such as Sting, John Paul Jones and Tony Banks could write lute songs that would stand comparison with their predecessors Dowland and Campion. We also found ourselves looking at those English composers of the early 20th century who would have written lute songs had there been any lutes or lute players around, and included songs by Warlock and E J Moeran arranged for two lutes. ECM are excited too, and will bring the album out in April (something of a record, I think). There is a clip from the first track on the Amores Pasados page (and the site ident music is also from the album).


The performing year kicks off for me with the Gavin Bryars Ensemble at the Adelaide Festival. We’ll be packing a lot into a very short residency, including Gavin’s great Shakespeare cycle Nothing Like the Sun, as well as his (Blake) Morrison Songbook, Irish Madrigals and Laude (all with Peyee Chen).   The last time I was in Australia was with Ambrose Field and Being Dufay, and I hope to be performing Ambrose’ Transmission Cycle (with string quartet) later in the year.





Happy Days to Enjoy Jazz

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014


Gavin Bryars Ensemble in Enniskillen

Lovely time at the Happy Days Festival in Enniskillen last week. Peyee Chen and I sang the rarely-heard Irish Madrigals – Gavin’s setting of J M Synge’s translations of Petrarch – as a prelude to the legendary Iarla ó Lionáird singing both Gavin’s music and Sean Nos songs. We also got to play in Jesus Blood. This is a bit like suddenly finding yourself on stage with a rock star hero of your youth – something you never imagined could happen. I’m no keyboard player (as generations of students will confirm) but I couldn’t say no to Gavin’s invitation to join in in Vilnius last year. Needless to say, I made sure the volume was turned down so low that no one could hear my potentially performance-wrecking efforts, but this time I was a bit more confident and could actually hear myself. It’s an extraordinary experience – the Vilnius and Enniskillen performances were among the most moving musical experiences I’ve ever had. I’m always banging on about performers not experiencing real emotion on stage – that way madness lies – but with so many and simple repetitions you somehow get hypnotized into the real thing. Then there’s that stunned silence at the end as the audience realises it won’t actually last for ever, as the tramp finally leaves the building accompanied by Tom Waites.

I see the Hilliards are there this week doing their amazing Heiner Goebbels theatre piece – one of the last opportunities to catch this if you haven’t seen it.

Secret History

There’s no sign of a release date from ECM, but we’re very excited about our first live concert at the Victoria festival in Avila on August 29th. The Hilliard Ensemble will be there too as artists in residence, so you’ll be able to compare an ‘a cappella’ way of doing things with our voices + instruments realisations. One obvious difference is that the four of us (Anna Maria Friman, Ariel Abramovich, Jacob Heringman and me) will be doing music in five or six parts.

We’ll also be rehearsing our new pieces by Sting, John Paul Jones and Tony Banks for the recording in Oslo later in the autumn.  Ariel and I hope to do the first performances of the Banks pieces in Portugal in October.

Coaching in Germany

I’m delighted to be coaching again with my old friend Werner Schussler in September at the Sing Akademie Saulheim. Ensembles on the course include the wonderful Nobiles from Leipzig, whom we coached in Engers two years ago.

Lutesongs in Portugal

In October Ariel Abramovich and I will spend some time in Seville recording a video before driving to Almada in Portugal for a recital of lutesongs. This may be an opportunity to try out one or two of the new settings of Campion written for us by Genesis keyboardist Tony Banks.

Potter & Abramovich

Dowland Project in Heidelberg

Shortly after this I’ll be in Heidelberg with the Dowland Project for the Enjoy Jazz Festival. The programme will have music from all our albums including the Night Sessions, and will also be a chance to hear our latest foray into Schubert. We’re not intending to do any more recording, so if you want to hear our latest material you’ll have to come to a gig.

Dowland Project

Hilliard Ensemble & Jan Garbarek

The Hilliards are in Heidelberg with Jan Garbarek the previous week. Strange how we seem to be following each other around in this their final year. They’ve just asked me to join them for the very last concert with Jan in King’s Chapel on December 6th – back to where it all began twenty-odd years ago. I hope we won’t be too tearful to sing. The very last concert will be at the Wigmore on December 23rd. Not sure how they’ll be able to get through that one, but I’ll be there cheering them on.

Conductus II and Singing History Paperback…

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Conductus 2

Conductus 2 cover

…was released by Hyperion on 25th November. It’s Christmas-free (though with the usual quotient of Virginbirth-related stuff). Perfect for those who are already bored by the seasonal offerings from the usual suspects, and who like a challenge. Prepare to be berated about corruption in the Catholic church, the joys of marriage and the wonders of the book, in music that was heard all over Europe 800 years ago and still resonates today.

Here’s the link to pre-order it on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/conductus-music-poetry-from/id714759316?ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Or on Hyperion http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDA67998&vw=dc

We’ll be recording the third and final album in April but it doesn’t stop there – we’re looking forward to developing the three medieval tenor repertoire over the next couple of years, still with the aid of cutting edge musicology from Southampton. If you haven’t got Conductus 1 yet, you can find it here together with a selection of press quotes. I’ve updated the Conductus – Three Medieval Tenors page on this site and you can hear sound clips there from both albums.

A History of Singing – the paperback…


Book cover


If you have any change…the paperback of the phenomenally expensive Potter & Sorrell History of Singing will be published late December by Cambridge University Press. It’ll probably be too late for Christmas, but the price is likely to be under £18 – a snip compared with £75 or so for the hardback. There’s a comprehensive review (of the hardback) in Singing, the AOTOS journal, at the end of which Karen Sell nicely draws attention to the price and the possibility of an affordable paperback. The issue also has a review of the summer conference (complete with a rare pic of me propping up the bar).   

Hilliard Ensemble 40th birthday concerts

Here are details of the three 40th birthday concerts. All feature Roger Marsh’s new work Yorick as well as some Byrd and Shepherd sung by the massed voices of the ensemble and four of its five previous members:

London 11th December:

Spitalfields Winter Festival, St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JN

[sold out]

 Paris 12th December:

Oratoire du Louvre, 1 rue de l’Oratoire et 145 rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris



Munich 13th December:

Michaelskirche, Neuhauserstraße 52, 80331 München

(in the pedestrian zone between Karlsplatz/Stachus and Marienplatz)

tickets: https://www.bellarte-muenchen.de/programm.php?id=ddbe8bd8c7325a09cc3b3f91d65c8491&action=bestellen

or by phone: 0049 89 54 818181

Swingle Singers at 50…

By a weird coincidence the Swingle Singers will be celebrating their 50th anniversary at the Albert Hall’s Elgar Room on the same evening. I won’t be able to make that, though since there are now apparently over 100 ex-Swingle Singers I probably won’t be missed.

 Gavin Bryars Ensemble in Italy

But before that, Anna Friman and I will be singing with the Gavin Bryars Ensemble at the All Frontiers Festival in Gradisca d’Isonzo near the Italian-Slovenian border on December 1st.  The programme will feature new versions of music from The Morrison Songbook.

Sound & Fury, Hilliard Ensemble 40th birthday

Monday, October 7th, 2013


Conductus Vol 2 is due in December – the perfect antidote to Christmas!




The Forum podcast (on the subject of Breath, plus my 60 Second rant) is available for downloading here for the next three weeks or so.  I have to confess that my proposal to abandon music storage and reproduction wasn’t entirely serious. We’re two thirds of the way through a six months stay in an apartment with no music playing facilities and I thought it would be refreshing to experience only live music, making a virtue of necessity. And it was to start with, but now I really miss it. I’ve had to do the odd bit of clandestine listening in the car, but I’ve resisted the temptation to download stuff I already have.  And of course, you can’t really go even a day without hearing background music of one sort or another.


This is what the diary looks like till the end of the year. I’m taking November off in the hope that we can get our new house finished, decorated and moved into before Christmas. I know everyone says they’ll be in for Christmas…At the moment the back garden looks like this:




October 10 – 13 Sound & Fury at Kloster Mauerbach, Vienna

We’ll be recording Ockeghem’s L’homme arme mass and the Requiem (a tribute to Fra Bernardo’s Bernhard Drobig who sadly died early this year) and the  Missa Ista est speciosa & Missa Pascale of Pierre de la Rue. There’s been something of a revolution in S&F distribution – the most recent recordings are on Fra Bernardo and these are available worldwide. A website is under construction and it should be much easier to get hold of the recordings in future. More soon.

October 25 – 27

Weekend course for ensembles in Helsinki

This is a course celebrating the 175th anniversary of the Akademiska Sångföreningen (the male voice choir of Helsinki), whose conductor Kari Turunen will be known to ensemble singers as the director of Lumen Valo.  Ex-Kings Singer Philip Lawson and I will be coaching vocal groups including ensemble Norma who made such an impression in Leipzig and Tampere this year.


December 1

Gavin Bryars Ensemble in Monfalcone

Programme to include pieces from the Morrison Songbook plus Ramble on Cortona (my favourite piano piece of Gavin’s).

December 11

Hilliard Ensemble 40th birthday party Spitalfields

This is the first of three anniversary concerts which will bring together the current line-up with four former members: Paul Eliott, John (Lee) Nixon, Errol Girdlestone and me. Roger Marsh has written Poor Yorick for us all to sing. It’s in three sections: one for the existing group, one for the former members and one for all of us together. I hope we old lags will be able to hold our own against the regulars.

December 12

Hilliard Ensemble 40th birthday concert Paris

December 13

Hilliard Ensemble 40th birthday concert Munich


Missing info on venues etc for the above coming soon.


News update

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Possibly not not writing books

I started to write a post that linked early music, breast cancer screening and Ethiopian laptops and it began with ‘if ever I write another book…’, a slightly jaundiced way of reminding myself that I haven’t written anything for a while and had no intention of doing so.  I dribbled on, postulating two books that I probably wouldn’t write – one on the state of ‘classical’ singing, and the other on the institutionalisation of music. I hadn’t got very far before I realised that they could be combined into one, and that I might actually want to write it…

So I’ll save the cancer screening and the Ethiopian tablets for another occasion (they’ll both feature in the book). The basic premiss would be that it’s an incredibly exciting time to be a singer – if you’ve left the mainstream behind and have the courage to do your own thing, but partly because mainstream creativity from early music to opera has pretty well stopped flowing altogether. If you want to find out where the screening and laptops come in, you’ll have to buy the book (if I write it)).

Mixing Juice

In the meantime, if you’re interested in truly original vocal projects, have a look at Juice’s latest adventure. They’ve always collaborated with performers who are slightly tangential to their own neck of the vocal woods, but who are driven by a similar commitment to collaboration and experiment. They’re crowd sourcing funding for a multi-layered melange with the extraordinary beatboxer Shlomo (you’ll find him in the Guinness Book of Records as having the world’s largest beatboxing ensemble) and the brilliant but completely uncategorisable MaJiKer. I couldn’t find anything about this on their website (pilot error?) though those of us on their mailng list already know all aboutt it, but the WeFund site tells you what’s on offer. In return for supporting them they give you a range of Juice experiences, and you’re able to make a real contribution to the project as a whole.

Crowd sourcing can be a great way to raise funds. My son Ned raised funds for travelling Indian libraries last year, and overshot his target within a couple of weeks, so it can be very effective.

Lutesong news

This continues to evolve apace. We now have an exquisite song from Sting, and plans for recording an antidote to Dowland are well under way. More news soon.

Upcoming gigs

Gavin Bryars Ensemble: Vilnius 21stNovember

This is described a ‘postscript’ to the GAIDA festival in Vilnius. In addition to the vocal pieces with me and Anna Maria Friman, there will be a performance of Jesus Blood. This will be a bit of a peradventure as Anna will play violin and I will play keyboard (something not heard since Neil Sorrell wrote a deeply ironic piece for Nicky Losseff and me reversing our roles). If you’re passing through Vilnius, this is something that will only happen once…

The end of that week I’ll be in Helsinki, the first of two trips examining another PhD project.

Conductus Project

Slightly to my surprise this has had terrifc press. There are some great quotes on the Hyperion page. Maybe it’s the Cage influence (didn’t he say ‘if you’re bored you haven’t been listening long enough’?). We’re about to start work on the music for the next album (to be recorded in January). We have the two-voice programme with Michael Lynch’s flm, and we’re planning a three tenor programme when Rogers Covey-Crump becomes more available next year.



June concerts, worshops, recordings

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

[updated 11 July]


June 3 BBC Radio 3 (17.00): The Choir (discussing chant with Aled Jones)

The interview took place down the line from Radio York, with me sweltering in the tiny studio having run most of the way there. But great as always to talk to Aled Jones – and he’ll play tracks from Red Byrd and the Hilliard Ensemble among others.

June 4 Bratislava: Dowland Project at St Martin’s Cathedral (Convergence Festiva)

These two Slovakian gigs will feature our first forays into Schubert Lieder, following the experimental performance on BBC3’s Schubert Remix.  John Surman, Milos Valent and I are doing an interview at 11.00 at the Artforum bookshop if you want to come along and chat.

June 5 Kosice: Dowland Project at Premonštrátsky kostol (Convergence Festival)

DP Convergience

Is it possible to get closer to musical heaven than being on stage with Milos Valent, Jake Heringman and John Surman roaring away at full throttle? It’s like falling off a precipice and discovering you can fly. These were great gigs – and a big thankyou to Josef Luptak and his team for giving us the opportunity. The Schubert worked really well, and we’re going to try some more in Slovenia.  There’s some video of the Bratislava concert here, and an intervew (in Slovak) with Milos). There’s also a video and a bit of an interview with me (in English!) from our Prague concert last year (courtesy of The Times of India). Latest hint from ECM suggests the Night Sessions album will appear early next year…

June 7-11 Rhineland ensemble coaching sessions

This was a magical time too:  I had a wonderful time with Werner Schüssler’s two ensembles.  The youthful Vocal T and the multi-instrumental Four Reasons were a delight: creative and intelligent musicians who really understood how to collaborate.

June 14 Goldmark Gallery Uppingham: Gavin Bryars Ensemble

Programme to include Laude, Irish Madrigals and extracts from the Morrison Songbook.

This was very atmospheric – very intimate space and very high-powered audience. Lovely people – it makes such a difference when everyone appreciates that this is something more than just a job for us.

June 15 York: Workshop with Ensemble Norma (York)

Norma were really fired up after their success in the Leipzig competition. It was great to work with them (I still feel guilty about their not making the final at Tampere last time). They’re hugely versatile, and we had a very creative time. Keep an ear out – they write or arrange all their own stuff (some of which you can hear here).

June 17 : Alcalá de Henares  (Clásicos en Alcalá) : Dowland recital with Ariel Abramovich (lute)

Alcalá is the birthplace of Cervantes. As a coda to our Dowland recital we’ll perform Robert Johnson’s ‘Woods and Rocks and Mountains’ (thanks to  a bit of detective work by Robert White).  Thomas Shelton’s translation of Don Quixote was published in 1612, as was the play Cardenio which drew on it (and which may have been co-authored  by Shakespeare). The Johnson song is believed to have been composed for this production.

Ariel Abramovich and I have done a lot of Dowland over the last four years or so, but this must have been the most appropriate venue ever: the Corral de Comedias is an exquisite 17th century theatre, perfect for our Pilgrim’s Solace programme.  And it was great to do the Johnson ‘Don Quixote’ piece just yards from where Cervantes was born.

June 20-25 Vienna: Sound & Fury recordings

This will be an Ockeghemfest…, with multiple versions of the Missa Cuius Vis Toni.

Our last Ockeghem effort was greatly appreciated by Todd McComb. He seems particularly gratified by our musica ficta – for wich we have to thank Jaap van Bentham. The Cuius Vis Toni will be a field day for ficta...

See the next post above…

July 10 Harewood House:  Conductus Project concert and CD launch

A late night event in the medieval church in the grounds of Harewood House as part of the York Early Music Festival, this will be the first live concert following the research and recording sessions for Southampton University’s Cantum Pulcriorum Invenire project. It will be by candle light, and feature the first showing of a specially commissioned film by Michael Lynch.

We enjoyed this a lot, especially the gasps from the audience when Mick Lynch’s horses seemed to go for Chris O’Gorman’s head… Another very atmospheric gig (very efficiently organised by the York Early Music Festival team. For details of the CD see the Hyperion website.


Diary updates

Friday, March 16th, 2012


March 23  RNCM seminar, Manchester

This is the second of two for RNCM postgrads, and it will focus on Daniel Leech-Wilkinson’s ebook The Changing Sound of Music: Approaches to Studying Recorded Musical Performances

March 25  BBC Play Schubert for me

The original invitation for this was for the Dowland Project but getting the band together from four countries for one song wasn’t feasible, so Jacob Heringman and I are going to busk a ‘remix’  of ‘Pause’ from Die schöne Müllerin. It’ll be an interesting challenge, and if it works we may do extended versions in the DP gigs this summer in Slovakia (Bratislava, June 4; Kosice June 5) and Slovenia (Radovljica August 19). We were asked to do it live at 11.00, but that’s way past our bedtime so we’re recording it earlier in the day.

I’ve given up expecting ECM to tell us a release date for the DP Night Sessions. We’ve done three CDs in thirteen years so we’re used to waiting. But the new album is our most radical and innovative yet, so it should be well worth waiting for.

April 14 BBC Music Matters (interview with Neil Sorrell)


This will be an interview with Suzy Klein in London and us down the line in BBC Radio York, discussing issues in A History of Singing. It’s always a bit odd with two of you in a booth not talking to each other but to someone else who isn’t there, but we hope it will be entertaining (and possibly even informative). Neil and I are currently writing a blog post for CUP New York to coincide with the American publication next month.

April 26 Leipzig A Cappella Festival (Being Dufay)

Really looking forward to this one, and to catching up with old Leipzig friends. It’s been a while since we’ve done Being Dufay. This is a great festival, run by one of the legendary German a cappella ensembles Amarcord, whom I coached at a Hilliard Summer School in Cambridge many years ago.

April 27-8 Sibelius Academy (examining, coaching, seminars)

The Sibelius Academy in Helsinki has one of the most creative performance doctoral programmes in the world, and I’m delighted to be joining a team of examiners. I’ll also be doing a day of seminars and consultations on a range of subjects and  a day’s ensemble coaching. This is the first of three annual visits.

May 1 Vale of Glamorgan Festival (Gavin Bryars Ensemble)

This will be the first time Anna Maria Friman and I have performed together for some time. The programe will include two new Laude. The band will be touring the Baltic states in the autumn, doing Jesus Blood in a slimmed down version which will include Anna  playing the violin and I’ll get to play keyboards. You have been warned…

May 27 Melk Abbey: Vesper Colomani

This is part of the Barocktage Stift Melk. The programme is called Vesper Colomani and if I’ve understood it correctly will be me and and an actor alternating readings and chant connected with St Koloman, sometime spy, pilgrim and sad victim of mistaken identity whose much-travelled bones have rested at Melk for several hundred years.

In  June I’ll be in Slovakia with the Dowland Project, and have workshops in Germany and the UK as well as recordings in Austria with the Sound & the Fury. July will see the launch of the Hyperion Conductus Project at the York Early Music Festival. Details soon.