It is increasingly important for all musicians to be aware of the issues surrounding historically informed performance as these are embraced by the classical music world at large.
Since then we have maintained a strong commitment to Historical Performance through an innovative programme of cross-departmental activities. All of our students have the opportunity to study a period instrument or to have stylistic awareness lessons with specialist tutors and advanced performers can audition for Birmingham’s renowned Ex Cathedra Choir and Orchestra.
Two Corton-Hyde Scholarships support talented students wishing to further their studies in Historical Performance at undergraduate or postgraduate level. Awards are available for continuo students (keyboards, bowed and plucked strings) and for instrumental/vocal students.
Workshops and masterclasses
Regular workshops and rehearsals are taken by leading specialists in the field of period performance. Recent visits by Wilbert Hazelzet, Anneke Boeke, Dan Laurin, Piers Adams and other leading musicians have enabled students to experience first-hand issues currently being explored by professional orchestras on both modern and period instruments.
Perform with our Baroque Orchestra
Our full period instrument Baroque orchestra performs on average once a term, exploring a rich variety of music, from large-scale works such as Charpentier’s Actéon and JS Bach’s Christmas Oratorio to smaller repertoire including Handel and Corelli Purcell theatre music and Bach cantatas.
Every two years Capelle joins forces with the Vocal & Operatic Department to produce one or two fully staged Baroque operas. Recent productions have included Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Charpentier's Les Arts Florissants.
Elect to explore Historical Performance
Offered as a weekly elective to all students, Historical Performance Studies explores a wide range of music and performance-practice issues from Mediaeval to Classical periods, in practical and theoretical classes.
Recent topics have included Baroque dance, keyboard temperament, rhetoric and Renaissance ornamentation. Visiting specialists have included William Lyons, Rebecca Austen-Brown, David Hatcher, Andrew Parrott, and Oliver Webber.
Perform with our Baroque Oboe Band
Run by Gail Hennessey, our oboe band is one of the only ‘all-student’ ensembles in the country. Repertoire stretches from the Baroque era to the 20th century and the band performs frequently within the Conservatoire and at external engagements.
Members have the opportunity to perform on the different period instruments including oboe da caccia, tenor oboe, Baroque oboe and bassoon and Jingling Jonnys.
Focus on Early Brass
As part of the BMus course, most brass players receive tuition on their equivalent early instruments, forming a dedicated Sackbut and Cornett ensemble and Natural Trumpet.
Directed by Susan Addison (sackbut and early trombone), David Blackadder (natural trumpet) and Richard Thomas (cornett and natural trumpet).
We have a variety of tutors covering a wide range of instruments who provide specialist teaching and advice within the Historical Performance department.Tutorial staff
The Historical Performance Department shares many projects, classes and workshops with the Conservatoire Recorder Department.Recorder
The Conservatoire offers places for students of harpsichord, fortepiano and allied early keyboard instruments within the Keyboard department.Keyboard
Martin Perkins is both Head of Historical Performance and Lecturer and Instrument Curator.
As a harpsichordist and continuo player Martin is active in the Midlands and London performing with many different groups.