The Canadian Renaissance Music Summer School


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.

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 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 will join forces with 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 was so much better than I ever could have hoped! I was so proud of what we achieved and am very excited about the future of CRMSS, both in 2019 and beyond. We have a lot of improvements in the pipeline for 2019, including a new approach to small group singing, better accommodation and catering options, more performance opportunities, and some wonderful new venues to fill with glorious polyphonic music. I can't wait!"

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 CRMSS 2018. 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 in South West London.

Matt says:

"CRMSS 2018 was a life affirming week of music making for me. It was my first experience of the warmth of Canadian hospitality, having never been to Canada before, and the pace of the course and its energy - from both tutors and participants - resulted in a truly special, if positively exhausting week! I am looking forward to CRMSS 2019 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.

At CRMSS 2019, Kate will be dealing with the academic accreditaiton offered by the Don Wright Faculty of Music at Western University for Western music students only. You should contact her directly if you wish to know more about this.

Kate says:

"The inaugural CRMSS, in May 2018, exceeded even my optimistic expectations. 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 2019, both friends made last year 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.

Lucas Harris

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Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Toronto Continuo Collective, Vesuvius Ensemble

Lucas Harris discovered the lute during his undergraduate studies at Pomona College, where he graduated summa cum laude. He then studied early music in Italy at the Civica scuola di musica di Milano (as a scholar of the Marco Fodella Foundation) and then in Germany at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen. After several years in New York City, he moved to Toronto in 2004 and became the regular lutenist for the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. He is a founding member of the Toronto Continuo Collective, the Vesuvius Ensemble, and the Lute Legends Ensemble. Lucas plays with many other ensembles in Canada and the USA, including the Helicon Foundation (New York) and the Smithsonian Chamber Players (Washington, D.C.). He coaches singers and instrumentalists at the Tafelmusik Summer and Winter Baroque Institutes and Oberlin Conservatory’s Baroque Performance Institute, and was an accompanist, coach, and lecturer for Vancouver Early Music’s Baroque Vocal Programme. In 2014 Lucas completed graduate studies in choral conducting at the University of Toronto, the degree having been funded by a prestigious SSHRC research grant not often awarded to performers. Upon graduating, Lucas was chosen as the Artistic Director of the Toronto Chamber Choir, for which he has created and conducted over a dozen themed concert programs. He has also directed projects for the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, the Ohio State University Opera Program, Les voix baroques, and the Toronto Consort. Lucas was praised for his work with Les voix humaines in Montréal: “The revelation of the concert was the Torontonian lutenist Lucas Harris, who weaved a poetic thread through his infinitely subtle interventions. The sweetness and patience of his playing . . . was astonishing.” (Le Devoir)

Lucas says:

"I had an absolute blast at the first CRMSS last year, and was incredibly impressed by what was accomplished already in the very first year. The final concert had a warm and informal atmosphere to it, but the musical results were what one might expect from a professional ensemble who has been singing together for years. I’m thrilled to be coming back to support this workshop which is filling a very important need in the Canadian music scene. I adore Renaissance music in a very deep way, and my heart leaps with joy to see talented young singers bringing new ideas and energy to this old music whose sophistication and beauty we will be forever trying to fully appreciate."