Emma Kirkby feels lucky in many ways: that she met renaissance vocal polyphony while still at school, that she studied Classics and sang with the Schola Cantorum at Oxford, and, best of all, that there she encountered “historical” instruments known to Renaissance and Baroque composers, the lute, harpsichord, and wind and string instruments, whose sound and human scale drew from her an instinctive response.
As a school teacher and amateur singer she was invited to perform professionally with pioneer groups; and long partnerships followed in Britain and abroad, with ensembles, individual players, and record companies, so that now Emma’s voice and style are recognized worldwide.
Emma was awarded a DBE in 2007, and in 2011 the Queen’s Medal for Music. Amazed by all this, she is nevertheless glad of the recognition it implies, for a way of music-making that values ensemble, clarity and stillness above volume and display; above all she is delighted to see a new generation of singers and players bringing their skills to the endeavor.
"Her phrasing sounds as natural as breathing...” The Strad
Cellist Mime Brinkmann has won several prestigeous international competitions, such as the Musica Antiqua Brugge in Belgium. She performs regularly worldwide and recent appaerances include that as a soloist in New York's Carnegie Hall. Mime is passionate about creating new interdisiplinary programmes, including text, lighting and pantomime. Her short-film “Mimes dröm” (2021) was produced by the Swedish Television and was praised by critics and viewers alike.
Supported by the Swedish Artist's Board, Mime holds a ten year long grant in in aid of developing her artistic projects.
Lucy Russell is an internationally regarded violinist, versatile, committed and expert at what she does. She is leader of the Fitzwilliam String Quartet, which is Ensemble in Residence at St Andrews University and Clare Hall, Cambridge. She has enjoyed a career on modern and historical instruments for all her working life, performing and recording a diverse array of repertoire: previously, with various period ensembles - Florilegium, English Baroque Soloists, King’s Consort, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Dunedin Consort (to name a few) and currently as leader of the Fitzwilliam Quartet (Schubert, Brahms, Bruckner on period instruments), and within the world of early music, with John Butt (harpsichord) and with Sezi Seskir (fortepiano).
She is Professor of Baroque violin at the Royal College of Music, visiting tutor at Royal Birmingham Conservatory, Honorary Professor of violin at St Andrews University, Director of the Baroque Ensemble at the University of York and chamber music/performance practice coach at the Purcell School. She is also Founding Director of the St Andrews Baroque Summer Course which reconvenes in August this summer.
She has just qualified as a Mindfulness Teacher (MMTCP), and aspires to introduce it into the lives of fellow musicians at all levels – enabling greater physical and mental freedom, presence, spaciousness and joy through music and beyond!
Flautist Yu-Wei Hu has quickly established herself as one of the most sought after traverso players on the international stage. Her love of early music was born in her native Taiwan and further developed during her studies at the Royal College of Music in the UK. As a resident of London, she has performed at several of the major festivals and concert halls such as the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, the Southbank Centre and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.
She is also active as a soloist and chamber musician, not least through Flauguissimo Duo with Swedish Johan Löfving, who together have given acclaimed concerts all over the world and recorded critically acclaimed albums.
Since growing up in Lennartsfors, Värmland, Johan Löfving has been praised internationally for his communicative music-making and unique playing style. After taking his first musical steps with Lars Eriksson at Årjäng's Municipal Music School, Johan continued his studies in London and Salzburg. As a soloist, chamber and orchestra musician, he regularly performs worldwide and has appeared on stages such as Wigmore Hall in London and Konzertsaal der Wiener Sängerknaben in Vienna.
Together with Yu-Wei Hu, Johan is the other half of Flauguissimo, one of the fastest rising early music ensembles
Johan's first solo album Fandango! was praised by critics as 'clearly one of the best albums and players of recent times' (This is Classical Guitar).
Harpsichordist Masumi Yamamoto performs extensively as a soloist and continuo player. She has given solo recitals in the London Handel Festival and Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and will this year appear at King’s Lynn Festival. She has also toured across Europe with such ensembles as the Gabrieli Consort & Players, the Academy of Ancient Music and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Also in demand as a concerto soloist, she has played concertos in the UK, Norway, Japan and Australia. She was a prize winner at the International Harpsichord Competition in Bruges.
Masumi studied at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University in Australia, Royal Academy of Music in London and then at Trinity College of Music with harpsichordist James Johnstone before completing her PhD at the University of York under Peter Seymour.
The Eric Clapton of the lute”, Sam Brown is one of the top lutenists of his generation, known for his imaginative approach and sensitive, understated style. Sam first learned classical guitar with the inspirational Sasha Levtov. He discovered the lute at the Royal College of Music, where he trained with Jakob Lindberg. He later studied at the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italia with Lorenzo Micheli.
For the last six years Sam has performed internationally as a solo and ensemble player, including at Vienna’s Konzerthaus and Wigmore Hall. He has also given talks and played for TV, radio and theater. Sam is especially known as a performer of lute-song. He is a core member of Emma Kirkby’s ensemble Dowland Works, and a regular collaborator with duo Blackbird and ensemble Fair Oriana. A devoted teacher, Sam is a founder and director of Dowland Youth Works, and coaches as part of the Arts Scholarship team at University of Bath.