Bitten by the early music bug at an early age, Ann Allen, has never quite recovered and now is a leading specialist in early wind instruments: baroque oboes, shawms, dulcians, doucaines, recorders
Born in the UK, she has lived in Manchester, London, Basel, Berlin and Paris, studying at Royal Academy of Music, Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and Sorbonne and Manchester Universities along the way.
Now based permanently in Basel she divides her time between performing and teaching...with a smattering of opera staging to spice things up.
She has performed with many of the leading wind ensembles including Alta Bellezza, Les Haulz et Les Bas and I Fedeli and has been directing her own medieval ensemble, Mediva, for over two decades.
As a freelance oboist she has performed with many baroque orchestras including Capriccio Basel, Ad Fontes, L'Arpa Festante, La Cetra, and Academy of Ancient Music. For several years she ran the baroque chamber group Il Bacio and was co-founder of the UK based oboe band Syrinx.
Julia discovered her love of Early Music during her studies at the Royal College of Music when one day she heard the Baroque orchestra being directed by the inspiring Cat Mackintosh. 30 years later Julia is recognised as one of the leading Baroque violinists of her generation, touring the world extensively and making numerous recordings with the period instrument orchestras of the UK including the London Classical Players, the Hanover Band, the English Concert, with whom she was a member for 6 years, and as leader and soloist with the Gabrieli Consort and Players and since 2022 the Academy of Ancient Music and Florilegium.
In 1997 Julia co-founded the ensemble Red Priest with recorder player Piers Adams and enjoyed 19 years of huge success touring Europe, the Far East and America, and also making 6 highly acclaimed CDs. After a break from Red Priest while her daughter was growing up, Julia is now back with the group again, and from the 2023/24 season will be performing in Wallingford, Lewes, Rottingdean, Aberdeen, Ripon, and Karlsruhr, Germany. This Autumn also sees the launch of Red Priest Strings, an exciting new chamber ensemble comprising the UK’s leading Baroque string specialists and directed by Julia and Piers, opening with performances in churches and cathedrals throughout the South of England.
2023 also sees the beginning of a flamboyant new collaboration between Julia and acclaimed lutenist Paula Chateauneuf, exploring the fabulously bizarre and maverick composers of the 17th century!
In recent years Julia has become increasingly popular for her fun and informative teaching on Baroque workshops and courses around the UK and abroad. Since 2014 she has developed the Early Music department of the University of Chichester Conservatoire, and has also been guest Baroque violin teacher at the Royal Academy of Music and the University of York.
Award-winning guitarist and theorbist Jonatan Bougt is a graduate of the Royal College of Music (RCM), London, where he studied with Jakob Lindberg, Carlos Bonell, and Chris Stell as an RCM Scholar supported by the Musician's Company Lambert Studentship. He completed his Master of Historical Performance degree with Distinction in 2019 and holds a First Class Bachelor of Music (Honours) degree, graduating in 2017. During his studies, he was 1st Prize winner of the RCM Guitar Prize (2017) and the RCM Historical Performance Competition (2019), receiving The Century Fund Prize and The Richard III Prize. In 2021, Jonatan was awarded the 1st Prize in the NORDEM 2020 EAR-ly competition, for his "graceful playing, stage presence that leads the listener to the music" and for his "elegant and natural way of playing as well as understanding of style and musical rhetoric". Jonatan has been selected as a Young Artist on the "Britten Pears Young Artist Programme (2018), "BREMF Live!" (2018/19) and 'Handel House Talent' (2019-21). Other noteworthy awards include the 1st Prize in the Swedish Guitar & Lute Society's Jörgen Rörby Competition (2014) and the 1st Prize in the Uppsala International Guitar Festival's Young Talents Competition (2013).
photo credit: Andrew Waltham
Flautist Georgia Browne began her musical life in Perth, Western Australia where she was given the opportunity to try replica historical flutes. Following an inspiring week of masterclasses with compatriot Kate Clark, Georgia went to The Netherlands to specialise in historical flute performance with Kate and later Barthold Kuijken. Just after graduating with distinction from the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, Georgia was launched onto the European concert scene in style, with an exciting performance of a Vivaldi flute concerto for live radio broadcast at the Palazzo Quirinale in Rome.
Since 2004, Georgia has been in demand as a soloist, orchestral musician and guest tutor across Europe, Asia and Australia. She is currently first flute with Ensemble Pygmalion (Raphaël Pichon) with whom she has had on-stage solos at the Opera Comique in Paris and Aix en Provence opera festival. In the UK, she regularly appears in concert with Arcangelo (Jonathan Cohen), La Nuova Musica (David Bates), the Dunedin Consort (John Butt), The English Concert (Harry Bickett) and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Invitations from further afield include guest appearances with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Australian Romantic Classical Orchestra (Richard Gill) and Capella Cracoviensis (Jan Tomasz Adamus) as well as concerto performances with the Bratislava Mozart Orchestra and the Georgian Sinfonietta. Her album of flute music by Carl Friedrich Abel with Icelandic chamber ensemble Nordic Affect is one of a number of recordings she has featured on.
An enthusiastic educator, Georgia has taught at the Universities of Southampton and Birmingham and gives masterclasses all over the world from Scotland to Slovakia to New South Wales. Each year she hosts a residential Baroque Flute Summer School in France.
Lutenist and guitarist Toby Carr is known as a versatile and engaging artist, working with some of the finest musicians in the business. While studying the classical guitar at Trinity Laban, he was introduced to historical plucked instruments, an interest he pursued during a postgraduate degree at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, graduating in 2016 and welcomed back as a professor in 2021.
Now in demand as a soloist, chamber musician and continuo player, his playing has been described as "sensuous and vivid" (The Guardian), "Eloquent" (BBC Music Magazine) and "Mesmerising" (Opera Today). Toby has performed with most of the principal period instrument ensembles in the UK and beyond, as well as with many symphony orchestras, opera companies and ballet companies.
Settled in Greenwich, south-east London with his wife and collaborator, harpist Aileen Henry, Toby's interests outside of music include reading, cooking and travelling, though when not working he generally tries to do as little as possible.
Paula Chateauneuf’s playing has been described as "one of the most exciting things on the pre-classical concert circuit." A Fulbright Scholar to London, she soon established herself there as one of early music’s leading soloists and ensemble players and became the linchpin of numerous groups including the Gabrieli Consort, New London Consort and Sinfonye. She has also performed with the Academy of Ancient Music, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts, Handel and Haydn Society, Avison Ensemble, The Instruments of Time and Truth, De Nederlandse Bachvereniging, and Jordi Savall's Le Concert des Nations.
Paula’s repertoire spans medieval music to the baroque, with particular expertise in early improvisation and the music of early 17th-century Italy. Her knowledge and skill in the art of basso continuo has made her one of the most sought-after accompanists in early music, resulting in fruitful collaborations with many leading singers including Catherine Bott, James Bowman, Michael Chance, and Mark Tucker. Her wealth of experience in early opera has led to involvement as both repetiteur and continuo player with the Bayerische Staatsoper, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and the Liceu Barcelona.
Paula has recorded extensively for Decca, EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, Linn, and Hyperion. She is the lute and continuo tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music, has coached early music courses for the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, guest lectures in historical performance for the Royal Academy of Music, and has been invited to coach the Dutch National Opera Academy and the New York Continuo Collective. She was an AHRC Creative Arts Fellow at the University of Birmingham from 2007-12. In 2009, Paula was curator of the Southbank Centre's weekend festival of early improvisation, Take the Risk. 2009 also saw the establishment of her highly-acclaimed 17th-century-style improvising ensemble, The Division Lobby.
Praised for his "dazzling virtuosity" (The Spectator), Tom Foster has a busy career as a continuo player on organ and harpsichord and as a harpsichord soloist.
Respected for his sensitive and inventive continuo playing, Tom is the principal keyboard player of the English Concert and is a regular guest with The Academy of Ancient Music, Arcangelo, The Dunedin Consort, Early Opera Company, The Mahler Chamber Orchestra, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The Scottish Ensemble and The Sixteen. These collaborations have taken him to concert halls throughout Europe, the United States, Australia, Russia and South Korea. He has performed concertos at the Edinburgh International Festival and makes his US solo-debut in recital at the Carnegie Hall in February 2020.
Tom began his musical education as a choirboy at Manchester Cathedral, then as a pianist and harpsichordist at Chetham's School of Music. He holds a first-class degree in Music (BA) from St. Catherine's College, Oxford and gained a Distinction in Performance (MA) from the Royal Academy of Music under the tutelage of Trevor Pinnock.
Kinga Gáborjáni, originally from Hungary, studied baroque cello with Jennifer Ward Clarke and viola da gamba with Richard Campbell at the Royal Academy of Music in London. She gained her postgraduate degree at with distinction in 2007. In addition to cello and viola da gamba, she plays the lirone, an instrument with 14 strings employed by Monteverdi and other 17th century composers in their operatic works.
Kinga performs with many UK period instrument orchestras with whom she has toured all over the world. Since 2008, she has played with the English Baroque Soloists under Sir John Eliot Gardiner, for whom she is currently a principal cellist and gamba player. She was co-principal cellist for the English Touring Opera for eight years and has also been guest principal cellist with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the English Concert. She is a member of several chamber music groups, including the viol consort Newe Vialles.
Kinga also works as a mindset coach, helping fellow musicians cope with performance anxiety as well as non-performers develop in confidence.
David Hatcher was born in Warwick and upon attaining the LTCL diploma two years after taking up music, he went on to study viola da gamba with Charles Medlam and recorder with Philip Thorby at Trinity College of Music, London. He began his career based in England, touring America, Israel, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
He has broadcast for both the BBC and independent radio and television. In 1987 he moved to Japan where he was to remain for the next nine years, taking an active part in that country’s flourishing early music scene. He has recorded with Evelyn Tubb, The Consort of Musicke, I Fagiolini, Sprezzatura, and the Japanese ensembles Chelys, Ensemble Ecclesia and the Bach Collegium of Japan.
David has appeared with Fretwork, The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, The Globe Theatre, The Consort of Musicke, Musica Antiqua of London, The Corelli Orchestra, The Harp Consort, Glyndebourne Opera and many other period orchestras and ensembles.
He has taught on numerous summer schools, including the Cambridge Early Music Summer School, the Easter Early Music Course at Monmouth and Sastamala Gregoriana in Finland, and is in demand as a tutor for many weekend and day courses.
Past projects include performing in Damon Albarn's opera 'Dr Dee' and performing and recording with I Fagiolini in their hugely successful interpretation of Striggio's 40-voice mass. He performed in the inaugural season of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in 2014. He is a founder member of The Linarol Consort of Viols, the UK's only consort specialising in the earliest repertoire for that instrument.
David plays on a Barak Norman viol of 1731, an anonymous English cello of the late 18th century, copies of the Francesco Linarolo viol of the mid-16th century (currently in the Kunsthistorsches Museum, Vienna) made by Richard Jones of Scotland and instruments by Alan Crumpler, George Stevens and Eric Moulder.
Born in London, Ciara was a keen musician from early childhood, mastering the piano and clarinet before starting to sing. She joined the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and chamber choir, Laudibus, where her passion for music making and singing developed. Ciara went on to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she was a finalist in the prestigious Gold Medal Competition, and at the opera studio of L’Opéra National du Rhin.
She has since been in constant demand as a soloist both in the UK and throughout Europe, on the concert platform, the operatic stage and as a recording artist.
Specialising in the world of Early Music, Ciara has enjoyed regular collaborations with I Fagiolini, the Dunedin Consort, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and La Nuova Musica. Most recently she has been collaborating with the extraordinary violinist Rachel Podger on programmes exploring the music of the Bach dynasty and a programme celebrating female composers.
Ciara was selected as an Emerging Artist by Christian Curnyn's Early Music Company, with whom she enjoyed collaborations exploring the Medea Myth in music of the French Baroque, and sang the lead role in Handel's Susanna.
Ciara has performed in all the major European concert halls and further afield, with recent performances including Bach’s St Matthew Passion for the Boston Early Music Festival with Kristian Bezuidenhout, Bach’s B Minor Mass at the Wigmore Hall with John Butt, Bach’s St John Passion at the Barbican with Mark Padmore and the Britten Sinfonia, and Monteverdi's Vespers at Glyndebourne with I Fagiolini.
She has enjoyed long-term collaborations with Sholto Kynoch and Andrew Matthews-Owen at the Oxford Lieder Festival, and in collaboration with the National Gallery with Sholto Kynoch and Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles at St John’s, Smith Square and Andrew Matthews-Owen.
Ciara has just finished recording solo cantatas by lesser-known Baroque composer (and violinist in Handel's orchestra!) Pepusch with fantastic ensemble, Spiritato.
photo credit: Reinhard Wilting
Elizabeth Kenny is one of Europe's leading lute players. Her playing has been described as "incandescent" (Music and Vision), "radical" (The Independent on Sunday) and "indecently beautiful" (Toronto Post). She has an extensive discography of collaborations with chamber ensembles across Europe and the USA, and her own repertoire interests have led to critically acclaimed recordings of solo music from the ML Lute Book, and songs by Lawes, Purcell and Dowland. In 2011 she was nominated for the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards for best instrumentalist, and became an artistic advisor to the York Early Music Festival. Her own ensemble Theatre of the Ayre's most recent release (Linn), is The Masque of Moments. She has a growing commitment to new repertoire for her instruments, and has recorded theorbo works by James MacMillan, Benjamin Oliver, and Nico Muhly on her most recent solo CD, Ars Longa (Linn), described as a "triumph" and named as the Instrumental Choice by BBC Music Magazine.
Elizabeth is Dean of Students and Professor of Lute at the Royal Academy of Music.
"Elizabeth Kenny's playing throughout is all that one could ask for; it is hard to imagine a better case being made for either the value of the theorbo's traditional repertoire or its modern possibilities."
MusicWeb International Sept 2019
"...the peerless lutenist Elizabeth Kenny"
The Guardian July 2017
Harpsichord and recorder player Corina Marti is internationally recognized for her 'strikingly superior' and 'expressive' (Toccata) interpretations, and 'infallible' (Diapason) technique.
Her extensive discography of repertoire ranges from the fourteenth-century istanpitte and intabulations to – and beyond – the chamber music and solo concertos of the High Baroque and reflects the breadth of her musical interests and technical skills.
She leads a full life as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher, travelling regularly across Europe, both Americas, and the Middle and Far East.She has appeared with numerous early music ensembles and orchestras (including Hespèrion XXI, Coro della Radiotelevisione Svizzera Italiana and Helsinki Baroque Orchestra) and is artistic co-director and founding member of La Morra, an award-winning Late Medieval and Early Renaissance music ensemble which 'never fails to keep the listener’s attention alive' (Gramophone).
Her ongoing research into aspects of the repertoire and reconstruction of late-medieval and early-renaissance keyboard instruments and recorders has contributed substantially to the present-day revival of these instruments. She teaches the next generation of early music performers at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland, and in masterclasses worldwide.
photo credit: Dirk Letsch
Mediva's credo is to bring passion and life to music of previous times and go beyond authenticity experimenting with jazz, improvisation, theatre and dance. Featuring an international line up of virtuoso performers, Mediva, in its various guises, can go from performing 12th century organum from original notation at a prestigious Early Music Festival to rocking out in a back street night-club. Innovation and diversity are Mediva's key characteristics powered by the creative vision and energy of Ann Allen. Competition finalists at the York Early Music Festival and Antwerp Early Music festival, the group has gone on to record five very diverse CDs from Hildegard von Bingen to 15th dance music and spanish cantigas to specially collaborated compositions. Mediva is based in Basel and Paris and draws upon the wealth of musical talent which is created at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and Sorbonne University.
The first countertenor to have trained at the National Opera Studio, Feargal Mostyn-Williams also studied at the Royal College of Music as an RCM Scholar and as a Choral Scholar at King’s College Cambridge. He is a recipient of the Daiwa Foundation Scholarship and a member of the National Centre for Circus Arts.
During the global lockdown, he created a solo voice Album: 'Folksongs – An Unaccompanied Collection'. Listen online
Recent and future roles in Opera include Bryn Bevan - 'Blaze of Glory' (David Hackbridge-Johnson) for Welsh National Opera (world premiere), Cheshire Cat – 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' (Will Todd) for Opera Holland Park and Welsh National Opera, Piero – 'Seven Angels' (Jonathan Dove) in collaboration with NOS and the V&A, and Antonio (title role) 'The Merchant of Venice' (Andrei Tchaikowsky) for Welsh National Opera.
Concert appearances include a recital programme with Allan Clayton at Aldeburgh Festival, Te Deum (Purcell) at the Three Choirs Festival, a staged version of St John Passion (Bach) and the world premiere of The Judas Passion (Sally Beamish) both for The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Joad – 'Athalia' (Handel) with Konzertchor Darmstadt, The Messiah (Handel) with The Royal Northern Sinfonia, and Schubert Lieder at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.
He has covered Akhnaten (title role) and Amenhotep – Akhnaten (Glass) for English National Opera, Oberon – A Midsummer Night's Dream (Britten) for Scottish Opera, Athamas – Semele (Handel) as an Alvarez Young Artist for Garsington Opera, Unulfo – Rodelinda (Handel) for English National Opera, and Antonio (title role) – The Merchant of Venice (Andrei Tchaikowsky) for the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.
His recordings include Rejoice in the Lamb (Britten) with King's College Cambridge, Veneer (Fitkin) with the Graham Fitkin Band, and Requiem (Arnold Rosner) with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Born in Liverpool, Nicholas read Languages at Cambridge University, and vocal studies at RAM. He has sung Monteverdi at New York's Carnegie Hall, Rameau at the Opéra de Paris, and Bach's Evangelist roles in venues such as the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Albert Hall (for the BBC Proms), and Leipzig's Thomaskirche.
Nicholas has enjoyed prolonged collaborations with some of the world's leading conductors and ensembles, and has appeared frequently at the Wigmore Hall, in a wide range of repertoire, including Purcell, Schubert, Bach's Passions (directing the St Matthew Passion), and Britten's complete Canticles on the centenary of the composer's birth. He has recorded widely, including a Gramophone Award-winning Messiah, several versions of Monteverdi's Vespers, and Piazzolla's extraordinary tango opera María de Buenos Aires. Alongside Elizabeth Kenny and Toby Carr, he recorded a programme of Latin American and European Baroque songs earlier in the year.
He is Associate Director of the Dunedin Consort, a Musician in Residence at Girton College, Cambridge, and a Visiting Professor at RAM. Away from musical life, he follows Liverpool FC and enjoys writing about art.