Music improvisation in the Baroque Era (review)

Music written in the 17th and 18th centuries offers, and indeed demands, a lot of freedom from the performers.  But freedom demands responsibility; how do we know how far to go, what is good taste regarding such additions, and how…


Baroque Duos


Baroque Duos is a new programme with Estehaagse Ensemble.

The violin duo emerged in the 18th Century, as music moved away from the court and towards a more intimate and conversational style suitable for the salon.

The programme includes…


Framing the Ephemeral

Improvisation is fleeting and ephemeral; but what stays in our mind after an improvisation, and how can we return to an idea, in a subsequent improvisation, to build on our discoveries in music and performance? 

Improvisation is not the opposite…


Review of Scroll Ensemble at York Early Music Competition

The Scroll Ensemble

Harpsichordist Iason Marmaras’s colourful socks suggested that we might be about to hear something unusual before he and his fellow musicians had played a note. They also dispensed with stands and sheet music. Was this an experimental…


Kircher’s Music Machine

Kircher’s Music Machine
Explorations in Improvisation by the Scroll Ensemble

Athanasius Kircher, 17th Century traveller, writer, and polymath, describes in his Musurgia Universalis (1650) a machine, whereby any person, even a non-musician, can make music. This Arca Musurgica  (musical…


The DaMu Collective- Explorations in the Printing Press

The interdisciplinary DaMu  Collective blends music, dance, performance art, visual art, and film, and recently started a project with Victorine Van Alphen set in the printing press, De Raadraaier Amsterdam.

DaMu (short for Dance and Music) began with a workshop…


Improvisation Courses

In November, the Scroll Ensemble gave courses in historical improvisation at the conservatoires of Katowice and Bydgoszcz in Poland.

Improvisation is often seen as something specialised, or the result of sudden inspiration; but it can be learnt, just as a…


Simkchat Hanefesh radio broadcast

The ensemble Simkchat Hanefesh  ('Joy of the Soul') focusses on Jewish music of the Renaissance and Baroque, with particular focus on Yiddish song from 1500-1800.

With Diana Matut (voice, recorder, nyckelharp), Nora Thiele (percussion, bells, colascione), Erik Warkenthin (lute, theorbo…


Amsterdam Virtuosi

Amsterdam Virtuosi is a programme with lutenist Irene Thomas.
Amsterdam was a centre of musical activity during the 18th century and, along with London, one of the major centres of music publishing.

Dutch composers such as Willem de Fesch and…


The Story of Christ's Crucifixion - or -The Birth of a Passion

As  all  good  stories,  this  one  begins  at  the  beginning,   when  Robert  de  Bree  said,naturally during Lent, "What we need is a new Passion!" Being of the adventurous type, he and his Scroll Ensemble colleague, James Hewitt, decided to leave…


New work for Orgelpark

On 16th Feburary the Scroll Ensemble will present a new project in the Orgelpark Amsterdam, with Guus Janssen (organ) and Cora Schmeisser (voice): O Solitude, a programme based around Henry Purcell combining past and present, early music and improvisation. For…


Meeting of two worlds in Weimar

Yiddish Summer Weimar 2012 included a dance ball with Yiddish and baroque dances, and an instrumental workshop including baroque music alongside klezmer.  I was invited to direct the orchestra in Playford  dances, and to teach baroque improvisation. 

The theme was…