Canterbury Music Club
London Handel Players
“Dances fit for a King”
The London Handel Players
Praised by the New York Times for their “soulful depth” and their “consummate skill and musicianship”, The London Handel Players have thrilled audiences across the world with their performances and recordings. Established in 2000, the Players appear regularly at leading venues and festivals in the UK, Europe and North America, performing baroque chamber music and concertos and collaborating with the world’s leading singers.
The ensemble has performed across North America, making their New York debut at the Frick Museum in 2012 and returning to perform at Carnegie Hall in 2014. Concerts have included performances at Wigmore Hall, Internationale Händel-Festpiele Göttingen, Halle International Handel Festival, East Cork Early Music Festival and in Spain, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Serbia and Croatia. Committed educators at every level and holding professorships in Historical Performance at London’s Conservatoires, The London Handel Players give numerous masterclasses and workshops.
The 22/23 season sees them on tour in Northern Ireland, Spain, Canada and the USA. They will be appearing in numerous concert series and festivals in the UK and return to St. John’s, Smith Square with their baroque dance programme in October 2022 and Wigmore Hall with more Bach cantatas in April 2023. Adrian Butterfield and Silas Wollston recorded Bach’s sonatas for keyboard and violin in April 2022 and their 2-disc set will be released early in 2023 by Somm Recordings.
Their highly acclaimed discography includes four discs of Handel chamber music; his two sets of trio sonatas Op.2 and Op.5, his complete works for solo violin and a disc entitled ‘Handel at Home’ all on the Somm label. They have also recorded Geminiani’s complete Op.1 sonatas and a two-disc set of JS Bach’s flute sonatas interspersed with some flute arias from his cantatas sung by Elizabeth Cragg, Charles Daniels and Peter Harvey. Future releases include a disc of Vivaldi flute and recorder concertos.
Adrian Butterfield sang as a chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral, read Music at Trinity College, Cambridge and studied at the Royal College of Music and has appeared on numerous stages across the world as a violinist, director and conductor who specialises in performing a wide range of music on period instruments. He is Musical Director of the Tilford Bach Festival and Associate Director of the London Handel Festival and regularly directs the London Handel Orchestra and London Handel Players as well as working as a guest soloist and director in Europe and North America. He has also led the gut-string quartet The Revolutionary Drawing Room for over 25 years.
His baroque ensemble, The London Handel Players, performs regularly at Wigmore Hall and throughout Europe and North America and they made their debut at Carnegie Hall in 2014. They have made a number of recordings of music by Handel and his contemporaries for Somm Records. Adrian’s world premiere complete recordings of Leclair’s first two Books of violin sonatas were released in 2009 and 2013 on Naxos Records and Book 3 was released on 3 discs to great acclaim in 2022. His latest recording, of Bach’s sonatas for harpsichord and violin with Silas Wollston, will be released on Somm Records in 2023.
He is Professor of Baroque Violin at the Royal College of Music in London, gives masterclasses in Europe and North America and has taught at Dartington and Pro Corda Baroque. He also directs an annual baroque project with the Southbank Sinfonia.
He has conducted all the major choral works of Bach as well as numerous works by Handel and his contemporaries and directed ensembles such as the Croatian Baroque Ensemble, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Mozart Players.
Plans for the 2022/23 season include conducting Handel’s Messiah and ‘Chandos’ Anthems with the London Handel Orchestra, directing Bach cantatas with LHP at Wigmore Hall, Mozart’s Requiem with the London Mozart Players and Mozart’s A major Violin Concerto with the European Union Chamber Orchestra. The London Handel Players will be touring Spain, Canada and the USA as well as giving numerous concerts across the UK.
Mary Collins is an Early Dance specialist whose research and teaching approach has inspired musicians to look afresh at the dance music that is at the heart of the baroque repertoire bringing, in turn, a fresh perspective on the great composers of the baroque era. A practitioner and researcher, she has worked with dance, theatre and TV companies as an adviser, choreographer, dancer and actress and tours regularly giving master-classes, lecture-recitals and workshops. A faculty member of Aestas Musica in Croatia, the Austria Barokakademie and, for 26 years, The Ringve International Summer Course in Norway, she regularly collaborates with many of the world’s leading exponents of early music
Reviving original choreography and gesture for historical performance, Mary’s notable productions include Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme at the National Theatre of Croatia in Zagreb (awarded the Croatian Grand Prix Award 2009/10) and the London Handel Festival’s Il Pastor Fido in 2010. Credits include works by Cavalieri, Monteverdi, Blow, Purcell, Charpentier, Rebel, Rameau, Lampe and Gluck.
As a dancer, Mary performs widely. In 2013 she appeared as principal dancer in the unique production of Lully’s Les Arts Reunis, an historic premier in Sao Paolo, Brazil. She has since begun working with the Irish Baroque Orchestra in Dublin. Events in 2015 included: concert tours with the London Handel Players - the York Early Music Festival, Tilford Bach Festival, Gregynog Festival and the East Cork Early Music Festival, also a debut concert/workshop at the University of Limerick. Future performances with Florilegium Baroque Ensemble involve concerts and workshops at King’s Place in London and The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.
Mary teaches at the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music in London, also as a guest at the University of Birmingham. She is often invited to work with orchestras, most recently the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Southbank Sinfonia. Outside the UK she has also conducted courses for ballet companies, drama schools and universities in Ireland, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, South Korea, Romania, USA and Brazil. In Romania, Mary also inspired and helped create the Orange Young Musician Award to find and promote young musical talent throughout the country. Her work was the focus of several documentaries on Early Dance and its music for TV Cultural.
Education work spans every age group and includes projects for the OAE, The National Trust, English Heritage and The British Museum, The Tilford Bach Festival and The London Handel Festival. Her resource book for teachers, The Art that All Other Arts Do Approve, was on the Recommended Reading List in the UK and a new historical performance guide for musicians was planned for 2017.
In 2015, Mary presented her research at the Oxford Dance Symposium, the European Association of Dance Historians and VisionPlus, covering topics ranging from Bach and the Ballroom, 18th-century Theatre and its Anglo-Irish connections, Irish Dancing Masters and Baroque Dance Notation. Her article, “The Great Leap” written with co-author Joanna Jarvis (Birmingham City University) appeared in The Costume Journal in 2016, tracing the evolving relationship between dance and dance costume in the long 18th century.
Steven Player’s interest in Renaissance and Baroque dance was sparked in the 1980’s when he met and studied with Mary Collins, later performing in her ensemble Danserye in a UK tour with George Weigand and the Extempore String Ensemble. Since then he has combined his abilities as dancer, musician and actor, performing worldwide with many well known ensembles including Tragicommedia, The Harp Consort, Los Otros, Apollo’s Fire, The Newberry Consort and Baroksolistene (The Alehouse Boys).
He has toured many times in the USA, most recently with The Alehouse Boys, which included a concert in The National Cathedral, Washington, with “Alehouse Session”! He has just completed a second sojourn in Chicago with The Newberry Consort in their Elizabethan Jigg project based around Shakespeare’s clown, Will Kemp, a programme first performed in 2016.
The main interest of his work is to encourage the reacquaintance of music and dance from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries and to enlighten audiences to the power of this relationship.
He is delighted to collaborate with Mary Collins and The London Handel Players in discovering and performing the lost connections in the music of Bach, Handel and others in an attempt to clean away the varnish of the last 150 years.