The Canadian Renaissance Music Summer School

CRMSS Tutors, Guest Artist,
and International Scholars

Greg Skidmore

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The Tallis Scholars, I Fagiolini, Alamire, The Gabrieli Consort, Eric Whitacre Singers

Born in Canada, Greg Skidmore arrived in England as an undergraduate at Royal Holloway College, University of London. After graduating with First Class Honours in Music, his post-graduate Choral Scholarship at Wells Cathedral lead him to Lay Clerkships at Gloucester Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford. He now lives in London, England and pursues a varied career as a consort, choral, and solo oratorio singer alongside his burgeoning work as a conductor and workshop leader.

Greg is one of the UK's most sought after consort singers. He has appeared with The Tallis Scholars, The Sixteen, The Cardinall's Musick, Tenebrae, The Gabrieli Consort, Alamire, Contrapunctus, The Eric Whitacre Singers, Collegium Vocale Ghent, Cappella Amsterdam, and La Grand Chapelle (based in Madrid). He can be heard on discs released by Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, and Harmonia Mundi USA, including Alamire’s recent Grammophone Early Music Award winning disc, ‘The Spy’s Choirbook’. In 2015, he featured in I Fagiolini’s Betrayal, a fully staged, devised presentation of the madrigals and sacred music of Carlo Gesualdo. 2017, the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi’s birth, was a busy year for I Fagiolini, and Greg performed many concerts of Monteverdi’s madrigals and sacred music, toured a new CD release, and performed his opera L'Orfeo this year with the group. 2019 saw Greg take part in an extensive tour of I Fagiolini's Leonardo: Shaping the Invisible project, in collaboration with Dr Martin Kemp, a leading scholar on the life and art of Leonardo da Vinci.

Greg also works as a soloist. Solo engagements have included working with ballet dancer Carlos Acosta in his A Classical Farewell at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England; Handel’s Messiah with the Irish Baroque Orchestra; Purcell’s Ode for St Cecilia's Day with the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment; Purcell's Fairy Queen with the Gabrieli Consort; and Monterverdi’s 1610 Vespers at the Brighton Early Music Festival, and with I Fagiolini and the BBC Singers at the Barbican Centre. His solo recording debut, released in 2011, was as Christus on Ex Cathedra’s recording of the Lassus St. Matthew Passion and a recent Ex Cathedra CD release of Alec Roth’s oratorio A Time to Dance features Greg in a role written for him.

While at Christ Church in Oxford, he began a course of doctoral research in Musicology at the University of Oxford and started his own men’s voices consort, I Dedicati. Recently he was appointed Musical Director of The Lacock Scholars and gives a regular series of concerts with them, creating site-specific evenings that weave polyphonic music with plainsong and silence. He has given workshops and masterclasses in the UK, France, Canada, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and Australia in association with The Sixteen, I Fagiolini, and on his own, specialising in various collections of Renaissance polyphonic repertoire. In 2015, Greg joined the long list of distinguished Early Music conductors associated with the week-long Lacock Courses held in the UK and around Europe, and joined Eamonn Dougan, Associate Conductor of The Sixteen, to lead a course on Polish Renaissance polyphony in August 2017. In August 2018, he assisted Justin Doyle, Chief Conductor of RIAS Kammerchor (Berlin) in leading another of these courses. He is increasingly engaged in Canada as a guest conductor, clinician, and record producer. He has been published in Early Music and his writing has appeared in programmes and CD liner notes for The Tallis Scholars, The Sixteen, The Cardinall’s Musick, The Gabrieli Consort, Tenebrae, and Ex Cathedra.

Greg says:

"CRMSS 2018, our first year, was so much better than I ever could have hoped and CRMSS 2019 was all about building on that success and expanding what we offered. I am so proud of what we achieved so far and am very excited about the future of CRMSS. We have a lot of improvements in the pipeline for 2020, including a new approach to small group singing and better scheduling, alongside the launch of our CRMSS Guest Artist and CRMSS International Scholar programmes. There's a lot to look forward to! Please come join us."

Emily Atkinson

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The Tallis Scholars, The Cardinall's Musick, Taverner Consort

Emily Atkinson studied singing and percussion at the Crane School of Music, State University of New York, Potsdam, where she earned a degree in music education. Since moving to London to train at the Royal College of Music, she has enjoyed singing as a soloist and consort singer with many groups, and has sung regularly with the Tallis Scholars for the past four years.

Emily grew up as one of nine children in a family that travelled and moved frequently, always making music together, so touring with the members of the Tallis Scholars has felt like home in many ways. She feels lucky to have performed with the group across four continents, singing some of the most beautiful music in the world's greatest venues.

In addition to singing with the Tallis Scholars, Emily has appeared with The Cardinall's Musick, the Academy of Ancient Music, and the Taverner Consort. She loves living in a city with so much early music history, and the unique opportunities this has provided, from giving illustrative recitals and talks to tour groups at Handel's former residence in London to performing excerpts from Restoration-era masques at the Banqueting House of Whitehall Palace where they were first performed. Emily has sung solo-voice performances of more than fifty Bach cantatas in the liturgical context for which they were written, and has recorded a CD of Italian solo cantatas. Emily combines her busy performing career with work teaching primary school music classes, leading workshops for children, and mentoring new music teachers.

Emily says:

I loved being part of this whirlwind week of music-making at both CRMSS 2018 and 2019. Each participant brought something special to the course, and it was inspiring to see the level of dedication, energy, and love for the music evident in everyone who attended. I'm really looking forward to working with singers on this course again next year, as we explore even more stunning Renaissance music.

Matthew Long

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I Fagiolini, The Sixteen, Tenebrae, The Dunedin Consort

Matthew Long was a successful treble soloist, singing the role of Miles in Britten’s Turn of the Screw for Italian Opera houses. He studied music at the University of York and sang as a choral scholar in the choir of York Minster during his time there. He later won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music, London. Whilst there he was a Susan Chilcott Scholar and a Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist. At various times, he has been a member of the celebrated chamber choirs, The Sixteen and Tenebrae and continues to sing as a part of the solo voice ensemble, I Fagiolini.

Matthew has appeared as a soloist with many UK based ensembles, including The OAE, The English Concert, The Hanover Band, The Dunedin Consort, The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the LPO. Highlights have included Bach, St. Matthew Passion for the Boston Handel and Haydn Society; Britten, War Requiem for Jonathan Willcocks in Salisbury Cathedral. In 2017 he performed the title role in Monteverdi’s Orfeo to critical acclaim in a series of semi-staged productions in Norway and the UK with I Fagiolini. Further performances are planned in York and London in 2019. In December 2017, Matthew sang the Evangelist for three concerts of Bach’s, Christmas Oratorio with the Danish Radio Choir in Copenhagen. He is increasingly known as a Monteverdi specialist, regularly performing the 1610 Vespers, most notably for the national youth choirs of Great Britain at the Albert Hall, London and at the Osaka Jo hall, Japan with the Berlin RIAS Kammerchor. He appears as tenor soloist on the Dunedin Consort’s 2017 recording of the same piece.

Matthew’s debut solo disc with the LPO and accompanist Malcolm Martineau, Till the Stars Fall, was released in 2015. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, gems from the English song repertoire sit alongside folk songs in celebration of some of Britain’s finest music. He performed this programme in May 2018 as part of the “Music in the Cotswolds” festival for Martin Randall Travel.

In his spare time, Matthew is a keen photographer and follower of wildlife conservation. He lives with his wife and daughter near Brighton, UK.

Matt says:

"How exciting to be returning for a third year at CRMSS! It has been a pleasure to see the positive evolution over the last two years and this year's course looks to be heading in new directions once again with the vastly experienced and inimitable Robert Hollingworth as CRMSS Guest Artist. I am looking forward to CRMSS 2020 immensely and am excited to work with more singers on issues relating to solo singing and performance, focussing on the sort of healthy, full, and connected singing which should be no barrier to working well within an ensemble, no matter what the repertoire might be."

Dr Kate Helsen

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Western University, London Canada

Before teaching Music History at Western University, Kate held a two-year post-doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) at the University of Toronto, researching musical notation in the 12 th and 13 th centuries. Her doctoral research focused on Gregorian chant transmission, orally and through the earliest notated books. She has published articles in Plainsong and Medieval Music, Acta Musicologica, the Journal of the Alamire Foundation, SPECTRUM, and Early Music.

She has been a researcher with many projects around the world including Portugal, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, as well as here at home in Canada; usually, her role focuses on connecting the musicological 'dots' with the technological tools now available to researchers in the Humanities. She is currently involved in developing software and analytics for medieval musical document analysis and chant melody comparisons on a large scale, in several SSRHCC-supported projects. She sings professionally with the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, in Toronto.

Kate says:

"I love that this week offers an opportunity to make quality music in intelligent and beautiful ways, connecting the throat with both the heart and the mind. Through singing, conversation, and friendship, we could liberate Renaissance polyphony from the 'imaginary museum of musical works', and experience them from the inside. I look forward to welcoming participants in CRMSS 2020, both friends made during the last two years and new faces. We are going to have such a good time!"

Andrew Pickett

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Royal College of Music (London, England), Early Music Society of Nova Scotia

Counter-tenor Andrew Pickett's singing has been described by Opera Today as “the sweetest liquid legato.” He received his Master of Music in Literature and Performance from the University of Western Ontario, and then spent four years in the UK, earning a graduate diploma at the Royal College of Music and studying with such notable experts in the vocal Baroque as Dame Emma Kirkby, James Bowman, and Michael Chance. While there, he was a finalist in several international competitions, winning Best Singer at the RCM’s New Song competition.

Andrew has performed major roles in operas by Handel, Monteverdi, Cavalli, Purcell and Jonathan Dove, and been a soloist in works by Purcell, Charpentier, Handel, Britten, and Bach in the UK, Europe, and Canada. He is an alumnus of the National Youth Choir of Canada and of the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, and was a lay clerk at Manchester Cathedral. Andrew now lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he works as a voice teacher, conductor and early music clinician, founding member of the award-winning Helios Vocal Ensemble, and president of the Early Music Society of Nova Scotia.

CRMSS Guest Artist: Robert Hollingworth

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Director of I Fagiolini, Reader in Music at the Unviersity of York, UK

Robert Hollingworth is passionate about presenting music to audiences in innovative ways. He founded I Fagiolini in 1986; with them he has presented signature projects including Simunye, The Full Monteverdi, Tallis in Wonderland, How Like An Angel (with Australian contemporary circus group C!RCA) for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, Betrayal: a polyphonic crime drama, and Leonardo: Shaping the Invisible with Professor Martin Kemp for Da Vinci 2019. A year-long celebration of the Monteverdi 450th anniversary in 2017 featured performances of Flaming Heart, 1610 Vespers, The Other Vespers, and L’Orfeo at venues including Glyndebourne, Cadogan Hall in London for the BBC Proms, and Queen’s Hall as part of the Edinburgh International Festival.

Under Hollingworth’s expert direction, I Fagiolini has gone on to win the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Ensemble Award, a Gramophone Award and the Diapason D'Or de l'Annee. Recent releases on DECCA Classics include the multi-award winning recordings Striggio: Mass in 40 Parts, Amuse-Bouche, and Monteverdi: The Other Vespers. In 2019, I Fagiolini released Leonardo – Shaping the Invisible on the CORO label, a programme celebrating the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's death in music and image. I Fagiolini toured this programme extensively in 2019 in association with leading da Vinci expert Professor Martin Kemp.

Robert has directed the English Concert, Academy of Ancient Music, BBC Concert Orchestra; and some of the world’s finest chamber choirs including Accentus, NDR Chor, Netherlands Chamber Choir, National Chamber Choir of Ireland and BBC Singers. Last season he conducted De Profundis on their latest album, an exploration of the rarely performed Spanish master Vivanco’s Missa Assumpsit Jesus & motets, for Hyperion.

Robert has recently conducted projects with Capella Cracoviensis, RIAS Kammerchor, VOCES8 & VOCES8 Scholars with Academy of Ancient Music in Bach's Actus Tragicus and Durufle's Requiem, completed a tour of Handel's Messiah with Irish Baroque Orchestra, and journeyed to Perth, Australia where he was Keynote Presenter at the Australian National Choral Association’s ChoralFest 2019. He gave the world premiere of Benji Merrison’s new piece, xoxvx ovoid, with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain at the Aldeburgh Proms. This season, Robert returns to Berlin twice to conduct RIAS Kammerchor: first in a programme of Purcell – as part of the Barocktage Festival collaboration with Staatsoper, and later to work with them on Orazio Vecchi’s L’Amfiparnaso. Robert makes his Russian debut as part of the British Council’s ‘UK-Russia Year of Music’ conducting Blow's Venus and Adonis featuring Anna Dennis and Jonathan Sells alongside Russian choir Intrada and Pratum Integrum.

Robert has been appointed Artistic Director of Stour Music festival from 2020, succeeding Mark and Alfred Deller. He regularly writes and presents programmes for BBC Radio 3, television, and other media outlets. He is Reader in Music at the University of York, where he founded and continues to lead the MA in Solo Voice Ensemble Singing course and directs university chamber choir ‘The 24’.

CRMSS International Scholars

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Unviersity of York, UK

2020 marks the introduction of the CRMSS International Scholars programme. Each year, we will welcome a group of student singers from outside Canada, starting with the United Kingdom. They will come as a pre-formed group, who know one another and have worked together before, and will share their talents and experience with the rest of the CRMSS participants over the course of the week. They will act as leaders within the larger singing groups, and participate in the small group sessions in amongst the Canadian participants, as well as have some time to rehearse on their own.

To begin, we are pleased to welcome all five current students studying for a master's degree in Music at the University of York, in the UK, enrolled in York's "Solo Voice Ensemble Singing" MA pathway (known as SVES). This is a course of performance-based master's level study dedicated entirely to one-per-part ensemble singing. The course lasts one year and includes daily rehearsing and coaching, three major recitals, and opportunities to perform with all of the University of York's many other singing groups.

For more information on SVES, please have a look at the University of York's website.

This year's CRMSS International Scholars are:

Eleanor Bray, soprano
Emma Huggett, soprano
Solomon Hayes, alto
Colin Danskin, tenor
Patrick Osborne, bass

Eleanor studied for BA in Music at The Queen’s College, University of Oxford, where she was a choral scholar. Before moving to York for the MA SVES course this year, she was based in London, England singing professionally. She is a member of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain Fellowship programme for 2019-20.

Emma studied for a BA in Philosophy at the University of Bristol before starting her MA in Solo Voice Ensemble Singing at York. Previously she studied at the Royal College of Music (Junior Department), where she was awarded the Concordia Foundation Singing Prize. She is currently a member of Genesis Sixteen, the young artist programme of The Sixteen, as well as being a choral scholar at York Minster.

Solomon graduated with a music degree from the University of York in the UK before continuing onto the MA SVES course there. He is a choral scholar at York Minster and freelances as both a soloist and a choral singer, singing with groups such as Oxford Consort of Voices and De Profundis.        

Colin graduated with a degree in Music from Jesus College, Cambridge and sang as a choral scholar under Sarah MacDonald at Selwyn College. Before starting the MA SVES course in York, Colin was a high school music teacher in London, England whilst singing with groups such as The Lacock Scholars, directed by Greg Skidmore. Alongside his MA studies he is a regular dep at York Minster and works as a freelance tenor and choir director in Yorkshire.

Patrick graduated from the University of Bristol in the UK with First Class Honours in Music. Whilst in Bristol, he was a choral scholar, then lay clerk at Bristol Cathedral and sang professionally in the South West of England. He now studies Solo Voice Ensemble Singing at the University of York with Robert Hollingworth.