Workshop for singers and players of renaissance instruments

King David: powerful politician, heroic leader, writer of the Psalms and inspiration for Grinling Gibbons’ exquisite York-made seventeenth-century secured by Fairfax house in 2017. He is a figure that has long-fascinated musicians, artists and sculptors alike. Drawing on an earlier renaissance painting, The Performance of a Motet by Orlando di Lasso, by Peter Candid, Gibbons’ own sculptured interpretation shows King David and St Cecilia in heavenly realms surrounded by a host of angelic instrument-playing musicians.

This full-day workshop, (in association with the York Early Music Festival: Power and Politics) directed by John Bryan for singers and players of renaissance instruments, will recreate the heavenly music depicted in this masterpiece. Takings Lasso’s setting of Psalms 148 and 150 as the focus, the workshop will celebrate the Soundscape of Grinling Gibbons, and the instruments and music that gave both inspiration and form to his work. It will also explore settings of these psalms by Philippe de Monte and Giammateo Asola, and a related psalm ‘O clap your hands’ by Orlando Gibbons (no relation!).

This workshop is open to all voices (SATB) with confident sight-reading skills and players of instruments either depicted in, or contemporary to, the King David panel: viols, violas da braccios, harps, cornets, sackbuts, recorders (particularly larger sizes) and well-trained dulcians.

Please note that the number of participants is limited to 30: the organisers reserve the right to maintain a musical balance; otherwise first come, first served … 

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The programme begins with coffee on arrival at 10am, followed by the workshop itself at 10.30 which will take place in the Saloon at Fairfax House. A sandwich buffet lunch in the Fairfax Library and afternoon refreshments will be provided. There will also be the opportunity to take time to see the exhibition, The Genius of Grinling Gibbons including the King David Panel. The day will conclude with a full play-through at 4.00pm.


John Bryan is Professor of Music at the University of Huddersfield, where he brings together his interests in researching, teaching and performing early music. He directs the University Chamber Choir and Early Music Ensemble, and is in regular demand as a tutor for early music courses and workshops. He is co-author (with Michael Fleming) of: Early English Viols: Instruments, Makers and Music (Routledge, 2017) and has also published articles in Early Music and The Journal of Musicology. As a member of the Rose Consort of Viols he has given concerts throughout Europe and in the USA and Canada, and made more than 30 recordings for Naxos, Signum, cpo, Deux-Elles and Delphian. John is also an artistic adviser to York Early Music Festival, and a contributor to BBC Radio 3’s early music programmes.

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Monday 9 Jul 2018

10am - 4.30pm

Fairfax House

£25.00, £22.50: Friends of Fairfax House/Members/NEEMF, Students: £20.00 (include refreshments and lunch)

Friends of Fairfax House