Since its creation by Director Julian Perkins in 2005, SOUNDS BAROQUE has devoted itself to conveying to audiences the thrilling theatricality and intense passion of the music of the 17th and 18th centuries. The group comprises some of the finest baroque instrumentalists of our times, has collaborated with many eminent singers and actors, including Dame Emma Kirkby, Simon Callow, Peter Capaldi, Timothy West and David Wilson-Johnson, as well as an illustrious array of younger stars, including Anna Dennis, Ashley Riches, Anna Starushkevych and William Towers.
Sounds Baroque is heard regularly on BBC Radio 3 and has appeared at London’s Southbank Centre, Kings Place and St John's Smith Square, and at international festivals in Cheltenham, London, Ryedale, Tel Aviv, Two Moors (Devon) and York. Beyond the baroque it has also given world premières of works by Paul Ayres, Stephen Dodgson and Iain Farrington, and often undertakes educational projects and engages in pre-performance conversations in conjunction with its performances.
Recent and ongoing projects include the opera pasticcio, Casanova, devised by writer and critic Stephen Pettitt and Julian Perkins and premièred at London's Kings Place in 2016. Praised by Opera magazine as 'a witty pasticcio', it features re-arranged and re-texted works by seventeen mostly baroque and classical composers (but including also Bellini!) and includes what might well be the world's longest-held note in a recitative.
Sounds Baroque’s discs for Avie Records, CONVERSAZIONI I and CONVERSAZIONI II, explore the wealth of vocal and instrumental music conceived for artistic gatherings – or conversazioni – in Rome at the turn of the eighteenth century. Individual volumes have been praised for ‘stylish aplomb’ in The Sunday Times and described as ‘a winner’ by Early Music Review and ‘a model of clarity and warmth’ by International Record Review.
Plans for 2018 include a performance at St John's Smith Square and a recording of songs by Henry Purcell with soprano Anna Dennis. 2018 also sees the start of two exciting new partnerships. Their work with Cambridge Handel Opera will involve group members performing alongside and mentoring the next generation of period instrumentalists in performances of operas by Handel and his contemporaries, while a project with Junior Department, Royal Academy of Music will see core members of Sounds Baroque performing alongside and mentoring advanced students for Coram's annual Handel Birthday Concert.
Check out Sounds Baroque's live video of Purcell's 'Sweeter than Roses' at St John's Smith Square from January, 2018. It features soprano Anna Dennis with Henrik Persson (bass viol), Jamie Akers (theorbo) and Julian Perkins (harpsichord).