Poeticall Musicke is an early music band based in the UK. Founded in 2011 and named after Tobias Hume’s 1607 collection of viol music and songs, their exhilarating sound and energetic schedule of concerts and recordings have attracted a growing local and international audience. They are supported by a number of generous patrons, including Dame Emma Kirkby DBE and Suzi Digby OBE.
Poeticall Musicke specialises in chamber music of the early and middle Baroque. Their vivid soloists are accompanied by continuo instruments from a diverse palette of theorbo, lute, spinet, viol, harp, organ, cello and lirone.
In 2013-14 Poeticall Musicke was the resident ensemble at three churches around the UK: St James’s, Prebend St, Islington; All Saints, North St, York; and St Mary Magdalen, Oxford. In March 2014 the group performed a programme of French baroque music on a national tour in association with the Churches Conservation Trust. The group is the exclusive baroque ensemble for the website Lyribox, an online resource for singers. They have played throughout the UK in venues including London’s Southbank Centre, HM Treasury, and Lincoln Cathedral. Internationally, they have performed in the fringe of the 2014 Bruges early music festival, and at the 2013 Echi lontani festival of early music in Sardinia.
Poeticall Musicke has embraced online music distribution by providing outstanding recordings that are free to download. Through their record label Veterum Musica they have gained an increasingly substantial and enthusiastic online following, having attracted over 40,000 plays with ten albums.
ROSEMARY GALTON soprano
Rosemary began her musical training as a violinist, before taking up place as choral scholar at Clare College, Cambridge. After graduating with a degree in mathematics, Rosemary studied for a Masters in Music at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, specialising in Historical Performance. Rosemary spent a further year at GSMD as an Artist Fellow, whilst also studying at the Morley College Opera School. Rosemary continues to study privately with Mhairi Lawson. Recent solo appearances include Haydn’s Nelson Mass and Creation, Filia in Carissimi’s Jepthe, Fillide in Handel’s dramatic cantata Aminta e Fillide. Operatic roles include Ilia Idomeneo, Foreign Woman in Menotti’s The Consul (Morley Opera scenes), Daphne in Peri’s Euridice (GSMD), Dido Dido and Aeneas (Iris Theatre), Zerlina Don Giovanni (concert performance), Anne in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Hero & Climene in Cavalli’s L’Egisto (scenes, Zezere Arts Festival, Portugal). Operatic chorus work includes Jonathan Miller’s staged production of Bach’s St Matthew Passion at the National Theatre, Eugene Onegin (Ryedale Festival Opera), Idomeneo (Opus Opera). Equally at home as a soloist and consort singer, Rosemary sings for the Choir of St Bartholomew the Great, and regularly performs with many ensembles including Armonico Consort, Tenebrae, Polyphony, Britten Sinfonia Voices, Philharmonia Voices, and Oxford Baroque.
GEORGE CLIFFORD violin
George Clifford is a versatile musician, equally at home playing the organ and conducting the choir at his local parish church in East Grinstead, West Sussex and singing bass, tenor and countertenor in choirs around the UK as playing the violin and viola. He became interested in historical performance during his undergraduate violin studies at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM), and has now completed a Masters degree in baroque violin, having studied with Simon Standage and Matthew Truscott. George was awarded the prestigious DipRAM for an outstanding MA final recital.
Musicians George has worked with include Trevor Pinnock, Sir Charles Mackerras, John Butt, Edward Higginbottom, Laurence Cummings, Richard Egarr, Steven Devine, Lisa Beznosiuk, Pavlo Beznosiuk, Rachel Podger, Margaret Faultless and Mark Padmore and he has played with groups including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Academy of Ancient Music, the International Baroque Players, New Century Baroque, Charivari Agréable, Guildhall Graduates Baroque Orchestra, The Amadè Players, Poeticall Musicke, The Regent’s Soloists, RAM Baroque Orchestra, Britten-Pears Baroque Orchestra and La Nuova Musica. George has also recorded CDs with the Love Handelers, International Baroque Players, and New Century Baroque with the choir of New College, Oxford. George was a participant in the ‘Ann and Peter Law OAE Experience for young players’ in 2011 on both violin and viola.
When George is not busy playing he enjoys singing, mostly in amateur choirs, but occasionally as a soloist. He is a member of the choir of St Swithun’s Church, East Grinstead (as well as being Deputy Organist), East Grinstead Choral Society, Kent Chorus, the London Orpheus Choir, Meridian Voices, In Spiritu Chamber Choir and 5 in a Bar.
George is generously sponsored by Hilary Weston.
RAFAEL FONT violin
Rafael Font began his violin studies at the age of 5 in the Emil Friedman School in Caracas, Venezuela. Rafael has performed as leader with numerous period and chamber ensembles including The Royal Conservatoire of the Hague’s Baroque Orchestra, Guildhall School of Music & Drama’s Baroque Orchestra, Lutes & Voices and Cantata ensembles, infer the direction of Pavlo Beznosiuk, Andrew Lawrence-King, Adrian Butterfield, David Watkin and Peter Van Heyghen.
Other ensembles and artists Rafael has worked with include the Academy of Ancient Music, Poeticall Musicke, La Nuova Musica, La Serenissima and The Amadè Players, performing in all the major venues in London and the UK, such as Barbican Hall, Royal Festival And Queen Elizabeth Halls. He was also a participant in the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s Experience Scheme for 2013.
Also in 2013 Rafael earned his Bachelor of Music from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama where he studied with professors Jacqueline Ross and Pavlo Beznosiuk. Rafael is currently studying for a Master of Music at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague, Netherlands, under the tutelage of Kati Debretzeni and Walter Reiter.
KAISA PULKKINEN harp & recorders
Kaisa started playing the baroque harp while studying early music at The University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki. After finishing her degree in 2010, she moved to London to study early harps with Prof. Andrew Lawrence-King at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. The Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation have generously supported her studies.
Kaisa regularly works with groups such as Poeticall Musicke, the Amadè Players and Bagatino, performing on both the harp and recorders. Recent highlights of her career have included performances at the Renaissance Festival in Yehiam (Israel) and the Echi Lontani Festival in Cagliari (Sardinia).
ALEX McCARTNEY lute, theorbo, baroque guitar
Continually in demand as an accompanist and soloist, Alex McCartney has performed extensively in the UK and abroad, working alongside artists such as Emma Kirkby, The English Concert, The Academy of Ancient Music, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, His Majesty’s Sagbutts and Cornetts, Poeticall Musicke, La Nuova Musica and the Royal Ballet. Alex also often performs live via radio and television.
Alex is regularly recorded and is a resident artist with his own record label Veterum Musica. Amongst an array of recordings, some featuring his ensemble Poeticall Musicke, Alex has recently recorded his debut solo album of works by the lesser known composer Rene Mesangeau: due to be released later this year. Future solo projects include albums of works by Giovanni Kapsberger for theorbo, and early guitar music by Fernando Sor.
Occasionally Alex consults and teaches for film and television productions, the most recent being an adaptation of ‘Wolf Hall’ by the BBC due to be broadcast in December 2014. In addition to on-set consultancy, Alex had the challenge of teaching the actors Damian Lewis and Max Fowler to play the lute to a professional standard in the short space of one month.
In his spare time Alex has started learning to build lutes from scratch and looks forward to the completion of his first instrument (a 7crs renaissance lute after Gerle) in September.
DONALD BENNET cello, viol, lirone
Donald was born in Rochester, Minnesota and grew up in Sheffield before completing a Maths degree as an Instrumental Award holder at Clare College, Cambridge University. Following this, Donald did a master’s degree in Cello and Gamba Study with Richard Lester and Jonathan Manson at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He freelances in London with Poeticall Musicke and other chamber ensembles, including regular performances on the lirone, a 14-string early Italian instrument. Alongside concerts and recordings, Donald works internationally as a Director of BYT Tuition. Donald lives with his wife in North London.
KATE CONWAY viol
Kate studied at the Royal Academy of Music under Jonathan Manson, gaining her MA in Performance (baroque cello and viola da gamba) with Distinction, after reading Classics at Jesus College, Cambridge. Whilst at RAM, Kate participated in projects directed by Rachel Podger, Margaret Faultless and Laurence Cummings, and regularly played continuo for the RAM/Kohn Bach Cantatas series, most notably alongside the Thomanerchor Leipzig. A keen chamber musician, she was twice awarded the Nancy Nuttall Ensemble Prize, and was also a recipient of the D Day Fund Award and Sir Anthony Lewis Memorial Prize for Consort Music.
Kate has played with Fretwork, Oxford Baroque, Charivari Agréable, the Amphion Consort and Hampstead Garden Opera, and is a founder member of Musica Poetica London, who were selected for the BREMF Early Music Live! scheme. She has also taken part in masterclasses at the Greenwich International Early Music Festival and RCM Festival of Viols, performing to Alison Crum, Vittorio Ghielmi and Paolo Pandolfo. Other recent projects include concerts at the Cadogan Hall, Wigmore Hall (‘For Crying Out Loud’ series) and Southbank Centre, education workshops with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C major with the Consort of Twelve, and a chamber recital at the Victoria International Arts Festival (Gozo).
JOSEPH CHESSHYRE harpsichord, organ
Joseph Chesshyre’s musical career began aged five with piano and violin lessons. He has been intrigued by the harpsichord and the organ from a young age, but did not play either until he began his undergraduate degree at University of Edinburgh with tuition from John Kitchen, having realised a particular love of earlier keyboard music soon after leaving school. Joseph took an MMus on the harpsichord at GSMD, following which he was made an Artist Fellow. He studies with Carole Cerasi and James Johnstone.
Joseph is keyboard player for London early music groups Poeticall Musicke, the Amadè Players, and Musicians of London Wall.
Joseph is an enthusiastic sound recordist. He works for the independent label Veterum Musica and pursues his own freelance projects. He has recently recorded music for film by composers Samuel Quartermaine Smith and Michael Cryne. He favours a naturalistic, non-invasive approach in recording, and takes much inspiration from the work of legendary engineer Tony Faulkner.
Joseph particularly loves English keyboard and sacred vocal music of the Renaissance, but also spends much time listening to plainchant, electronic music, and Indian Classical music. His other interests include analogue synthesisers and tape recording, instrument building, and motorcycles.