Hear them in concert with James Gilchrist on 9th March.
What were your first musical experiences as a child?
I was 5 years old when I first sang in Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde. My dad was conducting, and my 3 year old brother and I played a peacock and peahen. I remember after a few rehearsals dad handed me the music – it really didn’t help as all the words I could read like ‘Peter, Jane, it, ball, dog’ didn’t appear and I’d already learnt it all off by heart!
Who has been the biggest musical influence on your life?
Listening to Handel on a family holiday in Falmouth as a teenager. I was so bored I went into a record shop, (remember those?) and bought the ‘Fitzwilliam Sonatas’ and was completely blown away by the music!
What music do you enjoy listening to outside of work and performance?
Not music, but Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter keeps me entertained on long car journeys from one gig to the next.
I’m very partial to listening to (particular) counter-tenors singing Handel – my go to recording at the moment is absolutely lovely – Eternal Heaven with Iestyn Davies and Lea Desandre. https://www.warnerclassics.com/release/eternal-heaven
What has been the most memorable performance you have given?
Playing ‘Danny Boy’ on Northumbrian Smallpipes for the Emperor of Japan’s younger brother at the Irish Ambassador’s (Jim Sharkey) residence in Tokyo.
How did you come to be involved in this ensemble?
I got interested in viol consort playing, at RCM where I was studying modern cello as a post-graduate. I started viola da gamba lessons with Reiko Ichise and now I’m doing a PHD about a manuscript of viola da gamba music in Durham Cathedral Library. A few years ago David Hatcher was teaching a renaissance consort class at RBC and as I didn’t freak out by playing from historial notation he invited me to play the Linarol Consort.
Tell us about the instrument(s) you will be playing
We play on copies of the oldest surviving viol which was made by the Venetian maker Francesco Linarol, who was active throughout the 16th century and currently displayed in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. The consort is named after it. Our instruments are all made by Richard Jones, who has made over 100 copies of the Linarol viol.
What should the audience expect from your concert at CEM?
Here’s what an audience member wrote after our Three Choirs Festival concert: The music making was effortlessly and naturally so expressive with wonderful balance and ensemble throughout, Gilchrist’s tenor a joy, too.
What is your favourite part of this programme?
It’s impossible to choose – it’s a very uplifting programme and James’s voice is an inspiration.
Do you have connections to Cambridge?
I was an undergraduate at King’s in Cambridge, and sang in the choir there, and have been back quite a few times since to perform with various colleges, and in the Chamber Music Festival.
Which other concerts at this year’s CEM would you most like to attend and why?
I’ve missed it, but I would love to have attended Ensemble Leones’ concert. I’ve only heard their recordings which are superb. I’m fascinated in learning about historical relationships through music and I love romanesque architecture. To have been at the concert drawing the Round Church in my sketchbook would have been perfect!