The Brook Street Band was founded in 1996 by baroque cellist Tatty Theo, and in the years following its formation The Band rapidly established itself as one of the countryís foremost interpreters of Handelís music.
The name comes from the street in Londonís Mayfair where George Frideric Handel lived and composed for most of his working life. The term Ďbandí was used in the 18th century to describe groups of musicians. The Brook Street Band performs small to large scale repertoire ranging from intimate chamber music to concerts with double orchestra and choir. Its various prizes include BBC Radio 3 Young Artistsí Forum and the Byrne Award, given by the Handel Institute for Handel scholarship.
The Brook Street Band has performed and taught extensively at prestigious British and European Festivals including the Dartington International Summer School, Barcelona Early Music Festival and Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival. UK concert venues include Wigmore Hall, South Bank Centre and The Maltings, Snape. The Bandís recordings are frequently featured on Classic FM, and the Band regularly broadcasts live for BBC Radio 3.
In addition to performing eighteenth century music The Brook Street Band is committed to developing new repertoire, working with renowned composer Matthew King on a modern-day Ďpastoral odeí. Il Pastorale, LíUrbano e Il Suburbano (generously supported by funding from PRS for Music Foundation and Arts Council England receives its premiere at Snape Maltings on 10th July. The wide ranging educational work of The Brook Street Band is supported through The Brook Street Band Trust (Registered Charity Number 1122890) in particular focussing on Handelís life and music, linking this to wide areas of the national curriculum and working with schools across the UK.
The Brook Street Bandís discography on AVIE Records has been universally praised; the Bandís debut CD Handel Oxford Water Music was selected as Gramophone Magazine Editorís Choice, as was its JS Bach Trio Sonatas. Of The Bandís most recent recordings, BBC Radio 3 Record Review had this to say about Handel Trio Sonatas Opus 2: "These are grown-up performances from The Brook Street Band. Finely balanced, deliciously spiced, infectiously musical!"
Future plans at St Johnís include continuing its collaborative Handel oratorio project with The Holst Singers and Stephen Layton (Handelís Solomon on 28 May 2016) as well as its chamber music series, with further recitals on 6 September 2015 and 28 February 2016. The Bandís latest recording "JS and CPE Bach - Sonatas for viola da gamba (cello) and harpsichord" has recently been released on AVIE, and its next Wigmore Hall concert is on Monday 6th July.
Rachel Harris - Violin
Swedish born Rachel Harris studied at the Welsh College of Music and Drama with Clare Salaman and at the Royal College of Music with Alison Bury. She was awarded the prestigious Countess of Munster and German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarships for her postgraduate studies in England and Germany. In Germany she concluded her studies (Solistendiplom) with Gottfried von der Goltz, the leader of the Freiburger Barockorchester.
She has performed in England with ensembles such as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Florilegium and St. James's Baroque. Apart from playing and recording regularly with ensembles such as Cantus CŲlln and Berliner Lautten Compagney, she also leads the Balthasar-Neumann-Ensemble under the direction of Thomas Hengelbrock. She is the director of the dynamic young group formed in 2007, Ensemble Schirokko Hamburg.
Farran Scott - Violin
After picking up the violin at primary school Farran went on to study privately with Sidney Griller. He imbued her with a deep love of chamber music, which has been her main focus ever since. After graduating from the Royal Academy of Music, she spent three years at the Hochschule fur Kunste in Bremen, Germany. Farran has toured Europe extensively with period instrument ensembles including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The Brook Street Band and Mercurius Company.
From 2003-06 Farran was the College Musician at Queens' College, Cambridge, and as artistic director of Vigani's Cabinet she commissioned, premiered and recorded dozens of works by contemporary British composers. Farran's keen interest in music education has led to numerous projects involving everyone from young children to university graduates.
Tatty Theo - Cello
After reading music at The Queenís College, Oxford, Tatty continued her studies at postgraduate level at the Royal College of Music where she won many of the Early Music prizes. She has performed as a soloist at Festivals throughout Britain and Europe, with live broadcasts for BBC and various European radio stations. A lifelong passion for Handel and a love of performing chamber music are two of Tattyís driving forces and this was instrumental in her founding The Brook Street Band. Tatty is currently preparing performing editions of several unpublished works by Handel and undertaking further research into Handelís use of the cello.
Tim Homfray of The Strad magazine, wrote of The Brook Street Band ĎÖa riveting performance, which varied between affecting simplicity and visceral excitementÖall the playing was high quality, but particular praise must go to the cellist Tatty Theo, the groupís founder, for her beautifully subtle underpinning and shading of the melodic lines above.í
Carolyn Gibley - Harpsichord
Having studied at Chethams School of Music, the University of East Anglia and as a post-graduate at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Carolyn has established her career as a soloist and chamber musician, as she particularly relishes working in a closely knit small ensemble. This choice has taken her around the world from California to Japan. Carolyn also works as an accompanist and has been regularly employed by the Royal Academy of Music and Guildhall School.
Carolyn has edited the songs of Luigi Rossi from a manuscript in Oxford, and has transcribed Bachís Organ Trio Sonatas for two violins and continuo for The Brook Street Band. Carolyn has, until recently, taught an enthusiastic adult harpsichord class at Morley College, London.
Nicki Kennedy - Soprano
Nicki Kennedy studied Hispanic and Latin American Studies at Bristol University and singing at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and the Royal College of Music.
She is well known as a specialist in the baroque and classical repertoire and has performed at the major festivals throughout Europe, the U.S.A and Japan. She has collaborated in concerts and recordings with many of Europeís most prestigious orchestras as soloist, including among others, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Philharmonia, Modo Antiquo, the Lautten Compagney of Berlin, the Orchestre des Champs-…lysťes, Les Musiciens du Louvre and Le Parlement de Musique.
On stage amongst her roles are Handelís Semele, (title role) and Oriana in Amadigi, and she has performed and recorded numerous roles by Vivaldi including Vagaus (Juditha Triumphans), Angelica (Orlando Furioso), Lucio (Tito Manlio) and Barzane (Arsilda, Regina di Ponto) with Modo Antiquo. She has performed numerous Handel works with The Brook Street Band including La Lucrezia at the Wigmore Hall.
Sally Bruce-Payne - Alto
Born in London, Sally Bruce-Payne initially studied the cello, but after graduating from Bristol University she went on to the Royal College of Music to study singing.
Her concert engagements have taken her all over the world working with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Philippe Herreweghe, the Academy of Ancient Music, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Hanover Band/Nicholas McGegan, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/David Hill, Sir Neville Marriner, the London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Roger Norrington, Sir David Willcocks, The Sixteen/Harry Christophers and at the Three Choirs Festival.
Her recordings and broadcasts include Schubertís Mass in A flat, Haydnís Theresien and Nelson Masses with Sir John Eliot Gardiner (Decca), Boulangerís Du fond de líabime LSO/Gardiner (Deutsche Grammophon), Boulezí Le Marteau sans maÓtre at the Cheltenham Festival for Radio 3 and Handelís Messiah for BBC 1 television.
Operatic appearances include various Handel roles: Virtue in The Choice of Hercules, Erisane in Poro, Medoro in Orlando and Ottone in Agrippina. She has also appeared in Vivaldiís Ottone in Villa, Giustino and Tito Manlio.