Monteverdi Vespers of 1610

Venue: University Church of St Mary the Virgin, High Street, Oxford, OX1 4BJ

Date: Friday 15th May at 7.30pm

Tickets: £22/£15 (£5 students) from


Emily Van Evera & Cecilia Osmond (soprano)
Nicholas Mulroy & Nick Pritchard (tenor)
Edward Grint & Giles Underwood (bass)

Daniel Hyde (director)


Ensemble 45
International Baroque Players
The English Cornet and Sackbut Ensemble
Frideswide Voices and the choristers of Magdalen College Chapel


The 2015 Oxford Early Music Festival opens with a gala performance of Monteverdi’s sumptuous Vespers of 1610. Lavishly scored for ten-part chorus, strings, cornets, sackbuts and seven soloists, the Vespers juxtapose intimate, prayerful moments with rich, virtuosic music, creating a dazzling demonstration of the legacy of Monteverdi, the ‘Father of Baroque Music’.
Coming together under the direction of  Daniel Hyde, the world-class musicians include the combined forces of the International Baroque Players, Ensemble 45, renowned early brass group, The English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble, and choristers from Magdalen College Choir and new girls’ choir Frideswide Voices – with a team of first-class soloists, including established experts such as Nicholas Mulroy and Emily van Evera alongside talented young tenor Nick Pritchard. This is sure to be an unmissable concert!

Try a viol!

Venue: The Bate Collection, Faculty of Music, St Aldate's, Oxford, OX1 1DB

Date: Saturday 16th May 2 - 4pm

Tickets: Free admission - all welcome


A free drop-in session giving you the chance to try your hand at Renaissance string playing.


In the Tudor era every noble household would have owned a “chest” of viols, and proficiency in playing was an expected part of being a gentleman. Rhiannon Evans, early music specialist at the Oxfordshire County Music Service, will lead sessions at 2, 2.30, 3 and 3.30pm, introducing novices to this fascinating instrument. All abilities and experience levels welcome!


The Bate Collection of Musical Instruments, in the Faculty of Music at Oxford University, is the most comprehensive collection in Britain of European woodwind, brass and percussion. Andy Lamb, curator of this fascinating collection, will be on hand to guide you through some of the more obscure and quirky instruments on show.

Festival Evensong with viols

Venue: Magdalen College Chapel, High Street, Oxford, OX1 4AU

Date: Saturday 16th May at 6pm

Tickets: Free admission - all welcome


Evensong featuring the music of Thomas Tomkins and John Ward, with the Magdalen College Chapel Choir and Phantasm.


Daniel Hyde and Magdalen College Chapel Choir join forces with award-winning viol consort Phantasm for a celebratory festival evensong. Phantasm have been consort-in-residence at Magdalen College since 2010, during which time they have performed and recorded multiple times with the Chapel Choir, including a critically-acclaimed disc of the music of John Ward. With the residency drawing to a close, this evensong will be one of the last chances to see these ensembles perform together. All are welcome.


“Phantasm is simply the best viol consort around.” BBC Music Magazine

Organ music by J.S. Bach

Venue: The Queen's College Chapel, High Street, Oxford, OX1 4AW

Date: Saturday 16th May at 7.30pm

Tickets: £10 (£5 students) from


Award-winning organist and scholar John Butt performs some of J.S. Bach’s greatest organ works in this evening recital. Now regarded as one of the greatest ever composers, during his lifetime Bach was best known as an organist. John Butt performs a selection of pieces showcasing Bach’s harmonic and contrapuntal genius. This concert is a co-promotion between Oxford Early Music Festival and Queen’s College as part of their 2015 Frobenius at 50 celebration series.

Prelude and Fugue in E minor (BWV 548)
Von Himmel hoch, da komm ich her (BWV 700)
Von Himmel hoch, da komm ich her (BWV 701)
Von Himmel hoch, da komm ich her (BWV 738)
Pastorale in F (BWV 590)
Sonata IV in E minor (BWV 528)
Kleines harmonisches Labyrinth (BWV 591)
Toccata & Fugue in D minor (BWV 538)

Couperin – ‘ Trois Leçons de Ténèbres’

Venue: Magdalen College Chapel, High Street, Oxford, OX1 4AU

Date: Saturday 16th May at 9.30pm

Tickets: £12 (£5 students) from


CandlesOxford Baroque perform Francois Couperin’s beautifully atmospheric ‘Leçons de ténèbres’.

Esther Brazil & Emily Atkinson (sopranos)

Rightly considered as one of the undisputed peaks of baroque vocal music, this stunning work for two soprano soloists and basso continuo set the texts of the lessons for the final service of the day on Holy Wednesday. Traditionally, fifteen candles were extinguished one by one, with the service ending in darkness, setting the tone for the services leading up to Easter.  The Old Testament text mourns the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem, and Couperin creates an intensely moving setting, mixing recitative and virtuosic arioso passages.

Rapidly gaining attention as one of the most promising and exciting early music ensembles in the UK, Oxford Baroque present Couperin’s masterpiece in the intimate setting of Magdalen College Chapel

Lute song recital

Venue: Worcester College Chapel, Walton Street, Oxford, OX1 2HB

Date: Sunday 17th May at 1pm

Tickets: £15 (£5 students) from

Lute song 2

Nicholas Mulroy and Elizabeth Kenny


British tenor Nicholas Mulroy is renowned for his interpretation of Baroque repertoire. In this lunchtime recital he is joined by one of the UK’s foremost lutenists, Elizabeth Kenny, to perform seventeenth-century lute songs from England and Italy.


The Baroque era saw the invention of solo song, as a new form of intimate and expressive performance. With its beginnings in the works of Florentine composer Giulio Caccini, paving the way for the works of Claudio Monteverdi, lute song flourished across Europe, with the form reaching its peak in England around the time of the Civil War.


For many Nicholas Mulroy’s contribution to the B minor mass was the highlight of the 2013 Festival, so we are particularly excited to welcome him back for this solo recital. 


He is a cogent story-teller, with a radiant sound that just gets more ravishing as it gets higher.”  The Sydney Morning Herald 

Reading from Facsimile – a workshop

Venue: St John the Evangelist Church, Iffley Road, Oxford, OX4 1EH

Date: Sunday 17th May, 2.30 - 5.30pm

Tickets: £15 (£5 students). Reserve your place at, stipulating voice part.

Dow 2Early music specialist Sally Dunkley will lead a three-hour workshop introducing singers to reading from original Renaissance notation. Using facsimiles of Tudor partbooks, the workshop will give singers the chance to sing music by composers such as William Byrd and Thomas Tallis from sixteenth century notation. We will work on a handful of works from the Dow Partbooks, a stunning collection of motets residing in Christ Church, Oxford.


Sally Dunkley has enjoyed a distinguished career as a singer, scholar, vocal teacher, and musical editor. Her involvement with 16th-century vocal music as scholar and editor has run parallel with her specialisation as performer of this repertoire, working with groups such as The Tallis Scholars and The Sixteen. Sally is increasingly involved in sharing her experience, both through summer schools (as a regular faculty member with Chorworks in Washington DC, and at Dartington International Summer School), and workshops through The Sixteen, as well as various Early Music Forums in the UK.


This workshop is open to anyone with experience of choral singing. Tickets £15 to include tea/coffee and biscuits. Reserve your place at, stipulating voice part.

Music for Compline

Venue: St John the Evangelist Church, Iffley Road, Oxford, OX4 1EH

Date: Sunday 17th May at 7pm

Tickets: £30/£20/£15/£10 (£5 students) from

StileInternationally renowned vocal ensemble, Stile Antico, celebrate their tenth anniversary with this performance of works written for the monastic Office of Compline.


As the darkness folded around the pillars of their churches, mediaeval worshippers gathered for the service of Compline, commending themselves to God’s protection through the long watches of the night. It was an occasion that inspired the great English composers to some of their most intimate and uplifting music. Tonight’s programme features music by the great composers of the Tudor era, including Byrd, Tallis and Taverner.


Stile Antico is firmly established as one of the world’s most accomplished and innovative vocal ensembles. Working without a conductor, its twelve members have thrilled audiences throughout Europe and North America with their fresh, vibrant and moving performances of Renaissance polyphony. Its bestselling recordings on the Harmonia Mundi label have earned accolades including the Gramophone Award for Early Music, the Diapason d’or de l’année, the Edison Klassiek Award and the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, and have twice received Grammy® nominations.

Stile anniversary logo



“The singing is staggeringly beautiful, the balance meticulous.” The Sunday Times