AMRA SCHOLA, directed by Dr Ann Buckley

The Amra Schola, founded and directed by Dr Ann Buckley, has been in existence for over ten years. Its purpose is to bring to wider public attention the repertoire of medieval liturgical chant in honour of Irish saints. It has both a male and a female ensemble, and performs regularly at heritage sites, and at church and other venues to celebrate the feast days of local Irish saints. This is its first visit to the Galway Early Music Festival.

Dr Ann Buckley is an Irish musicologist based at Trinity College Dublin. She specialises in the music of medieval Ireland, and Medieval song. She has held appointments at Cambridge and the Sorbonne University, Paris, as well as at a number of Irish universities, and is actively engaged as a guest lecturer and scholar at an international level.

Her current major project, Amra, focuses on the liturgical legacy of Irish saints in Medieval Europe, a corpus which comprises several hundred MSS found today in research libraries across Europe. This was also the topic of a recent collection of essays, Music, Liturgy and the Veneration of Saints of the Medieval Irish Church in a European Context, ed. Ann Buckley, Ritus et Artes, 8 (Brepols: Turnhout 2017). The name Amra (pronounced ‘avra’) is an Old Irish term for a eulogy or praise poem.

ARS CHORALIS COELN directed by Maria Jonas

Ars Choralis Coeln is genuinely a local product of Cologne. Their debut concert took place in the „Romanischer Sommer“ 2004 in Cologne. Since then the ensemble perform regularly in Cologne‘s twelve romanesque churches, but also throughout Germany, Europe and Asia.

The research and performance of music manuscripts from women’s monasteries and music from women in the Middle Ages is the emphasis of the work. From the very beginning the repertoire has focussed on the music of Hildegard von Bingen. But as a Cologne based ensemble they regularly perform the repertoire of the nearly inexhaustible wealth of manuscripts in the Library of the Cathedral of Cologne.

A great number of CDs, many in co-production with the WDR, testify to the creative work of the ensemble: amongst others two CDs with the music of the Beguines, 2018 a CD of the Ordo Virtutum (Hildegard von Bingen) and 2019 a CD with the music from a manuscript of Dominican nuns from the monastery Paradiese (Soest).

Under the direction of Maria Jonas, the ensemble also regularly develops intercultural and interreligious projects: A new important focus that has been added in recent years.

THE IRISH CONSORT director Siobhán Armstrong

Róisín O’ Grady (soprano), Róisín Elsafty (Sean Nós singer), Jacob Heringman (Renaissance lute), Ronan Browne (Irish pipes & whistles), Sylvie Moquet (viol), Reiko Ichise (viol), Edward Tapceanu (bass viol), Siobhán Armstrong (early Irish harp, director)

Directed by historical harpist, Siobhán Armstrong, The Irish Consort is a unique ensemble that brings together the expertise and passion of some of Europe’s finest early music performers with that of prize-winning, traditional Irish musicians and singers, revealing gems at the intersection of Irish and European early music.

Siobhán Armstrong is one of Europe’s foremost historical harpists, performing and recording 16th-to 18th-century church-, chamber music and opera with many of Europe’s most prestigious historical and traditional performers. She founded and chairs The Historical Harp Society of Ireland. In 2014, Middlesex University awarded her a bursary to pursue PhD studies in early Irish harp performance practice. She has embarked on a recording project of music in Ireland 1500-1800 – Vol. I: Music, Ireland and the Sixteenth Century – appeared in 2019.

Róisín O’Grady, from Co. Waterford, has a postgrad. diploma from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and a first-class honours M.A. in Performance from Cork School of Music. She has sung widely in Ireland and the UK including with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Irish Baroque Orchestra in repertory that stretches from medieval music to 19th-century repertory.

Róisín Elsafty is a prize-winning singer from Conamara, coming from a family of gifted singers. In addition to singing harp songs, Róisín sings in the oldest, a cappella singing style, in the Irish language, and in English. In 2019 she won the prestigious Corn na mBan trophy at the Oireachtas and was also the second prize winner in Ireland’s most important competition for unaccompanied singing in Irish: Corn Uí Ríada.

Jacob Heringman is a UK-based, USA-born lutenist whose solo albums and recitals of Renaissance music are highly acclaimed. As an accompanist, he is fortunate to work with many fine singers, including Emma Kirkby, Clare Wilkinson, John Potter, and Michael Chance. Jacob’s projects in recent years have moved increasingly in the direction of crossover and improvised music, and he appears on many film soundtracks including Wolf Hall. Jacob is also in demand as a teacher.

Ronan Browne, originally from Dublin and now in Connemara, is renowned in Irish music circles – playing Irish pipes and whistles. Also active as a composer, he has collaborated with a wide variety of artists, playing traditional Irish, classical, pop, jazz and country music, and has performed widely, internationally. Ronan has been involved in over 100 CD recordings, theatre, TV and film projects

Sylvie Moquet, living in Marseille, studied viol with Jordi Savall and Wieland Kuijken. As one fo France’s best-known viol players, she appears as a soloist in recitals, contemporary- and chamber music with French ensembles including La Chapelle Royale, Les Witches, Il Seminario Musicale, Le Concert d’Astree and Les Saqueboutiers de Toulouse.

Reiko Ichise is from Tokyo and is one of Britain’s leading performers on viol. She is a founding member of the viol consort, Fretwork, and is a core member of Florilegium. She has performed extensively, internationally, as a chamber musician and soloist, appearing in the UK at venues including the Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall and the Royal Opera House.

Edward Tapceanu was born in Canada and is a versatile player of many bass instruments within diverse styles of music. He plays double bass in the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland but also plays electric bass & baritone guitar in anything from old blues & jazz to soul and alternative rock & pop. In this programme he plays his Renaissance bass viol.

RESURGAM CHAMBER CHOIR

Resurgam is Ireland’s leading project- based professional choir. Founded in 2003 by Mark Duley, it has earned for itself a respected place amongst the country’s premiere ensembles. Resurgam has worked with an international array of conductors including Monica Huggett, Christophe Rousset, Erin Headley and John Butt, and has performed in the UK and continental Europe, including an acclaimed appearance at the Bach Festival of Lausanne. Within Ireland, it has appeared at most of the major international festivals, including Galway International Arts Festival, Kilkenny Arts Festival, Ardee Baroque Festival, Cork International Choral Festival, Galway Early Music Festival, and the Pipeworks Festival. It has given many groundbreaking performances of music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Resurgam’s unique work in the field of early vocal music in Ireland, especially through the acclaimed single-composer retrospectives the choir has undertaken (including Giovanni Gabrieli, Heinrich Schütz and Orlandus Lassus) has been enhanced through recent collaborations with the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble. In addition, Resurgam has also brought to Irish audiences the great choral works of the Russian Orthodox tradition, touring the country with Rachmaninov’s All Night Vigil and Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, and giving the first complete Irish performance of Schnittke’s monumental Concerto for Choir.

THE ENGLISH CORNETT AND SACKBUT ENSEMBLE

The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble is a virtuoso period instrument ensemble with a host of distinguished recordings to its name.

Since its formation in 1993, ECSE has performed at many major music festivals in the UK and abroad. As well as sell-out concerts at London’s Wigmore Hall, St John’s Smith Square and the Purcell Room, it has also performed at the York Early Music Festival, Bath International Festival, Spitalfields Festival, La Folle Journée, Laus Polyphoniae, and the International Izmir Festival. ECSE regularly travels abroad with vocal ensembles inlcuding I Fagiolini, Alamire and Cantus Cölln. The group has appeared on numerous CDs, the latest of which – The Spy’s Choirbook with David Skinner and Alamire – won the prestigious 2015 Gramophone Award for Early Music.

Following the success of its debut CD Accendo (2001) – which achieved three 5-star awards – ECSE has been involved in a variety of recordings, including The Madrigal in Venice, a large-scale recording of Andrea Gabrieli’s madrigals with I Fagiolini, described as ‘one of the most enthralling madrigal anthologies on the market’. Its discography also includes the world premiere of Francesco Scarlatti’s ‘Miserere’ with Emma Kirkby and The Armonico Consort, a critically acclaimed Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, and a CD of music by the Flemish composer Philippe Rogier with the choir of King’s College London, directed by the late (and much missed) David Trendell.

In addition to its work with professional vocal groups and solo recitals, ECSE also works closely with other like-minded instrumental ensembles such as the Monteverdi String Band and the Altenburg Ensemble. ECE also performs regularly with choral societies throughout Britain, including many performances of Claudio Monteverdi’s magnificent 1610 Vespers.

When not appearing with ECSE, its members perform individually with some of the world’s leading period instrument groups such as Il Giardino Armonico, The Taverner Consort, Concerto Palatino, the Gabrieli Consort and Players, l’Arpeggiata, The English Baroque Soloists, King’s Consort, Ensemble La Fenice, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Tafelmusik, as well as providing music for plays at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on London’s Bankside.

THE ALPHABET BAROQUE CLUB with RUTH CUNNINGHAM (soprano)

Maria Caswell (violin), Judiyaba (viol), Gwyneth Davis (bass viol), Phebe Craig (harpsichord)

The Alphabet Baroque Club is a quartet of friends based in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA. They present light-hearted programmes of seriously beautiful music! The ABC uses historically accurate instruments to explore the music of the baroque in its own sonority, and also happily re-orchestrates pieces to fit the ensemble, another historically accurate practice! The ABC musicians play in San Francisco-based groups such as Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Voices of Music, San Francisco Opera, the Lamplighters, and La Foolia.

Ruth Cunningham is a classically trained musician, a sound healing practitioner, and a founding member of Anonymous 4. She combines these skills to improvise music that connects people to the healing and spiritual power of music. She specialises in improvisational sacred music from varied spiritual traditions in both liturgical and concert settings.  With Anonymous 4, she performed in concerts and festivals throughout the United States, Europe and the Far East and made twelve recordings with Harmonia Mundi and one, Voices of Light by contemporary composer Richard Einhorn, for Sony Classical. After leaving Anonymous 4 for a number of years to study music and healing, Ruth rejoined the group in 2007 and sang with them until the group disbanded in 2015.

ENEA SORINI

Born in Urbino in 1975, Enea first approached the world of early music at the age of eight, when he was chosen to enter the choir of the Pueri Cantores of Pesaro. After completing Art studies in his own city of Urbino (diploma in Animation Cinema at the School of Art and 1st-level degree in Sculpture at the Fine Art Academy), he moved to Pesaro where he graduated first in Singing (1st level) and then in Baroque Singing (2nd level) at the G. Rossini conservatory, also attending singing master classes with Gloria Banditelli and Claudio Cavina. Enea, who specialises in Medieval and Renaissance music, has perfomed in the most important festivals of early music, both in Europe and overseas. He now collaborates mainly with the Micrologus ensemble (Assisi), Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien (Paris), La Morra (Basel), Pera Ensemble (Munich/Istanbul); he has also worked with the Belgian choreographer/dancer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (Eastman, Antwerp). He is the founder of the Bella Gerit ensemble (Urbino), researching and performing Renaissance music.
As for Baroque music, he has taken part in several productions and performances under the direction of Diego Fasolis, Gianluca Capuano, Marco Mencoboni, and Carlo Ipata.
He has recorded numerous albums for Alpha, Sony, Hyperion, Tactus (including two ‘Golden Diapasons’); his music has been broadcasted by, and he has worked for, Radio3, Radio France, RSI Switzerland, Polskie Radio, WDR3.

PEPPE FRANA

Born in Salerno in 1986, he graduated cum laude in Philosophy at the University Institute “L’Orientale” (Naples). Since a very young age he has had a deep interest in extra-European modal forms of music, especially through the influence of Ross Daly’s music, thereby undertaking the study of Turkish oud and other plucked string instruments in the course of frequent trips to Greece and Turkey, where he has studied with some of the most renowned masters: Yurdal Tokcan, Omer Erdogdular, Murat Aydemir, Daud Khan Sadozai, and Ross Daly himself.

His encounter with members of the Micrologus Ensemble sparked his interest in European Medieval music and plucked lute, and he soon became one of the most appreciated soloists and teachers for this instrument, with a specialization in music from the Italian Trecento.
Between 2013 and 2015 he studied Medieval lute at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis under the guidance of Crawford Young.

Peppe collaborates with numerous performers and musical projects in the domains of early, oriental and folk music, and he performs and teaches widely at international level. He is the artistic director of ‘Labyrinth Italia’ (http://www.labyrinthitalia.it/en_GB/chi-siamo/).

THE EARLY MUSIC GROUP OF KIILI, director Heili Meibaum

The early music group of Kiili is a youth ensemble with a great deal of stage experience. Throughout 16 years of existence they have given more than 500 concerts in different venues in Estonia (manors, churches, concert halls, radio, television), produced 3 CDs, experienced welcoming audiences on tours to the USA, Canada, Ireland, Spain, UK, Norway, Finland and Sweden. This is their second visit to the Galway Early Music Festival.

They feature a great collaboration between young musicians from different age groups. Most of their members have received prizes in different competitions. Their instruments include flutes, recorders, violins, cellos, trumpet and percussion. An additional bonus is a strong collaboration with professional singers. Listeners have admired their diverse programmes, musical quality, historic costumes, imaginative staging, and relevant stories of the time and explanations about the music and its style.