Details correct as of 2009
Cambridge University Baroque Ensemble (CU3E) is a university society aimed at promoting the historically aware performance of Baroque music and early music in general. It was founded by Dr Peter Tregear (Lecturer in Music at Fitzwilliam College 2000-5) and Jonny Sells (then a student at Christ’s College), and has established its position as a useful resource for assigning musicians to early music productions, as well as initiating such productions itself. These included several operas, cantatas, a few orchestral concerts, and numerous chamber music recitals.
Currently led by Dr Dan Tidhar of Clare Hall, CU3E regularly performs chamber music, as well as being involved in larger-scale opera projects, such as Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice (Trinity Chapel, June 2008) and Monteverdi's Orfeo with the Fitzwilliam Chamber Opera (ADC Theatre, January 2009). CU3E actively links between musicians who share an interest for early music, and organises concerts and workshops which facilitate early music performance.
Fitzwilliam College Baroque Ensemble is a new venture in College, founded in autumn 2009. It will explore the chamber and vocal music of the 17th and 18th centuries, looking both at established masters and neglected composers. Future programmes include concertos by Handel, Vivaldi and Telemann, collaboration with Fitzwilliam Chamber Opera in Vivaldi’s Griselda, and music by the sons of Bach.
Fitzwilliam College Chapel Choir comprises about 24 voices, drawn mostly from the College itself. Its main duty is to provide music for the weekly Sunday evening service held in the College Chapel, but it also performs in concerts and services elsewhere, and sings at formal College occasions. The annual overseas tour has in recent years covered Italy, France, Spain and the Netherlands. In 2006 the choir recorded its first CD, Songs on the Hill, and a further disc is about to be released. 2009 saw the launch of a new series of specially-commissioned settings of the Magnificant and Nunc Dimittis for the choir, with the premiere of Dr Alan Brown's 'Fitzwilliam Service' in Easter Term.
Orchestra on the Hill is the combined orchestra of Fitzwilliam, Churchill, Murray Edwards, Magdalene, Girton, Robinson, St Edmund's and Lucy Cavendish colleges. Student-run, the orchestra exists to promote good musicianship among members of our colleges and the wider university who are interested in performing orchestral music. We also aim to promote the cultural life of the University in the wider academic and local community.
The orchestra has built up an enviable reputation for innovative programming, as well as playing some core popular repertoire. Recent concerts have included Dvorak's Hussite Overture, Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, Mozart's Clarinet concerto, Corelli's Christmas concerto and Sibelius's Karelia Suite, performed in Fitzwilliam's Auditorium, Murray Edwards' Dome, and Churchill's Wolfson Hall. Orchestra on the Hill also provides performing opportunities for conductors and for soloists, with regular concertos. 2009 also saw a Composers' Workshop, with an opportunity for student composers to hear their work performed.
Isabella Gage (soprano) has just graduated with a BA in Social Anthropology from Magdalene College, Cambridge, where she was a choral scholar. A member of the Chelmsford Cathedral Consort from 2004-2006, she was a national finalist in the Association of English Singers and Speakers Junior English Song Competition in 2004. She studies with Ashley Stafford. Her roles include Diana, Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld (2004); Dido, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (2005); Johanna, Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd (Fitztheatre, Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2007) and Amastris, Handel’s Xerxes (Fitzwilliam Chamber Opera, 2007-8).
Isabella is a regular recitalist in Cambridge and in addition has many other theatrical credits including Musical Director for Sondheim’s Saturday Night (MMPS 2007) and Coleman’s Sweet Charity (Fitztheatre 2008); Assistant Director for Mozart’s Don Giovanni (Cambridge Touring Opera, France 2008); and Producer for Puccini’s Suor Angelica (Cambridge Beethoven Ensemble, 2008). Isabella was the Production and Company Manager for Handel’s Agrippina at the Barber Institute in Birmingham (September 2009), and is currently an Assistant Artist Manager at Hazard Chase.
Sean Heath (harpsichord) was born in London in 1989. He was educated at St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh, the Purcell School, the Royal Academy of Music, and is now in his second year reading history at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he is senior organ scholar. He has studied the harpsichord with Clare Sutherland, Laurence Cummings, Terence Charlston and Francis Knights, and organ with Ann Elise Smoot, Susan Landale, and David Sanger. A frequent performer in this country and abroad on harpsichord, organ, clavichord, and fortepiano, Sean also plays in the Cambridge Collegium Musicum and has given many concerts in Cambridge. Future events this term include a recital of baroque chamber music in Clare Chapel on 16 November, and a recital of organ music by Purcell, Handel and Mendelssohn in Corpus Christi Chapel on 20 November.
Francis Knights (Director, Cambridge Purcell Festival) was educated at Royal Holloway College, University of London, Magdalen College, Oxford and Nottingham University, and his postgraduate research interests primarily concerned English sacred music of the 16th and 17th centuries. He was appointed Research Fellow at the Royal Northern College of Music in 1989, then worked at the BBC, as a specialist early music discographer and as Director of Chapel Music at Somerville College, Oxford. In 2004 he held an Edison Fellowship at the British Library, and he was Discography Manager at the Centre for the History and Analyis of Recorded Music at King's College, London in 2004-9. Since 2008 he has been Director of Music and Director of Studies in Music at Fitzwilliam College, and in October 2009 became Editor of Early Music.
His writings include articles on cathedral music, manuscript sources, performance practice and organology and he has given many conference papers as well as editing music for professional ensembles. His compositions, including choral, chamber and keyboard works, have been performed in St Paul's, Portsmouth, Lichfield, Oxford and Dublin cathedrals. His extensive performance activities have included positions with several collegiate and cathedral choirs, numerous keyboard recitals, and directing vocal ensembles such as Voces Angelicae, Bach Collegium Oxford and Gradualia.