October 2013

A baroque musical feast comes to Greenwich in November, with concerts, exhibitions, workshops and masterclasses by a host of early music stars.

The Royal Greenwich Early Music Festival includes a celebration of the 40th anniversary of The English Concert directed by Trevor Pinnock, as well as performances by Michala Petri, BBC Young Musician of the Year finalist Charlotte Barbour-Condini, and the Trinity Laban Soloists and Baroque Orchestra directed by Robert Howarth.

The Festival is run by The Early Music Shop, in partnership with Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and the Greenwich Foundation for the Old Royal Naval College.

This year’s Festival also marks 300 years of Wren and Hawksmoor architectural masterpieces in Greenwich. Sir Christopher Wren laid the foundations for the Old Royal Naval College – now the home of Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music - at the same time as his assistant Nicholas Hawkmoor designed St Alfege Church.

The Royal Greenwich International Early Music Festival commences with a masterclass by distinguished counter tenor Michael Chance, followed by a lecture by Trinity Laban alumnus Ibi Aziz discussing the viola di gamba. Robert Howarth conducts The Trinity Laban Soloists and Baroque Orchestra in a programme of Charpentier, Purcell, Rebel and Bach.

Dr Claire Mera-Nelson, Trinity Laban’s Director of Music, said: “The Royal Greenwich International Early Music Festival and Exhibition remains a real high point in our performance calendar. A passion for early music has inspired many Trinity Laban graduates to success, so I am delighted that so many of our talented students will be participating in this year’s Festival, and in so doing sharing with you their interest in and enthusiasm for the music of earlier times.”

The English Concert performance is dedicated to Lina Lalandi, founder and Director of the English Bach Festival, who died in 2012. Lina presented Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert in their first engagement in 1973.

The Festival also includes performances from some of the world’s leading recorder players such as Michala Petri, David Bellugi, and Charlotte Barbour-Condini who last year made history as the first recorder player to reach the final of BBC Young Musician 2012, which took place on her 16th birthday.

Italian virtuoso Paolo Pandolfo confirms his reputation as one of the world’s most outstanding performers of the viola da gamba with a programme that breathes spontaneous and immediate life into the music of the Renaissance and the Baroque.

Performance events take place throughout the weekend in several venues including the spectacular Chapel at the Old Royal Naval College, completed 300 years ago. The building, part of this World Heritage Site and the architectural centrepiece of Maritime Greenwich, has been described as the “finest and most dramatically sited architectural and landscape ensemble in the British Isles.” Originally built as a retirement home for former sailors at the suggestion of Queen Mary in 1964, the Old Royal Naval College buildings became the chief British naval training centre between 1869 and 1998, an institution that guaranteed the survival of the British Empire.

Set against the fabulous backdrop of the historic Painted Hall and the Queen Mary Undercroft, the Royal Greenwich International Early Music Exhibition attracts over 100 exhibitors, including instrument makers, shops, music publishers, societies, forums and educational institutions – all under one roof.

The widest range of instruments imaginable will be on display and for sale - from lutes and flutes, through sackbuts and spinets to hurdy gurdies and harpsichords. This is the perfect and unique opportunity for visitors to meet the instrument makers and try out, compare, contrast and buy the instrument they have always promised themselves.

Visitors to the exhibition can also attend a variety of free Makers Demonstration Recitals held throughout the three day event, including Elody, an extremely versatile instrument with a new look, powerful sound and wide range of notes.

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