Since its creation by Director Julian Perkins in 2005, SOUNDS BAROQUE has devoted itself to conveying the thrilling theatricality and intense passion of music in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Comprising some of the finest period instrumentalists of our times, Sounds Baroque has collaborated with many eminent singers and actors including Simon Callow, Peter Capaldi, Rebecca Evans, Dame Emma Kirkby, Mark Padmore, Christopher Purves, Carolyn Sampson, Timothy West and David Wilson-Johnson, as well as an illustrious array of younger stars including Helen Charlston, Anna Dennis, Benjamin Hulett, James Laing, 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 Bristol, Cheltenham, JAM on the Marsh, London, Northern Aldborough, Roman River, Ryedale, Tel Aviv, Two Moors and York. Beyond the baroque it has given world premières of works by Paul Ayres, Stephen Dodgson and Iain Farrington, and often undertakes educational projects and engages in pre-performance talks and debates.
A unique feature of their work is the devising of carefully crafted pasticcio operas with Julian Perkins and librettist and critic Stephen Pettitt, evolving what was a common eighteenth-century practice for the modern age. Casanova was commissioned by London's Kings Place for their 2016 Baroque Unwrapped series. Described as 'a witty pasticcio' by Opera, it featured on BBC Radio 3 and enjoyed a run of performances, including as the opening event of the Two Moors Festival. Dinner with Handel was premiered in September 2021 as the opening event of the world's first official Handeliade, and was praised by the Director of Handel & Hendrix in London as '...so sparklingly intelligent and original and witty but with such a light touch that even those of us who will not have picked up the wealth of references contained within it still just loved every minute…. Stupendous!'
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. 2019 saw an acclaimed disc of songs by Henry Purcell with soprano Anna Dennis for Resonus Classics. Thanks to an award from the Continuo Foundation, Sounds Baroque is developing its project entitled 'I love and I must' that features songs by Henry Purcell and instrumental works by his contemporaries. Starring mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston with Jonathan Manson (bass viol), William Carter (theorbo and guitar) and Julian Perkins (harpsichord), this programme was first heard in May 2021 at the London Festival of Baroque Music.
2022 has seen Sounds Baroque continue its partnership with Cambridge Handel Opera with an acclaimed staged production of Handel’s Tamerlano. Described as ‘truly wonderful’ by Cambridge Independent, their collaborations have seen group principals mentor and perform alongside the next generation of period instrumentalists with advanced students from Cambridge University, Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Royal Northern College of Music, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and the Utrechts Conservatorium.