The Canadian Renaissance Music Summer School

CRMSS Tutors and International Scholars

Greg Skidmore

Back to top

The Tallis Scholars, I Fagiolini, Alamire, The Gabrieli Consort, Eric Whitacre Singers

Born in Canada, Greg Skidmore arrived in England as an undergraduate at Royal Holloway College, University of London. After graduating with First Class Honours in Music, his post-graduate Choral Scholarship at Wells Cathedral lead him to Lay Clerkships at Gloucester Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford. He now lives in London, England and pursues a varied career as a consort, choral, and solo oratorio singer alongside his burgeoning work as a conductor and workshop leader.

Greg is one of the UK's most sought after consort singers. He has appeared with The Tallis Scholars, The Sixteen, The Cardinall's Musick, Tenebrae, The Gabrieli Consort, Alamire, Contrapunctus, The Eric Whitacre Singers, Collegium Vocale Ghent, Cappella Amsterdam, and La Grand Chapelle (based in Madrid). He can be heard on discs released by Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, and Harmonia Mundi USA, including Alamire’s recent Grammophone Early Music Award winning disc, ‘The Spy’s Choirbook’. In 2015, he featured in I Fagiolini’s Betrayal, a fully staged, devised presentation of the madrigals and sacred music of Carlo Gesualdo. 2017, the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi’s birth, was a busy year for I Fagiolini, and Greg performed many concerts of Monteverdi’s madrigals and sacred music, toured a new CD release, and performed his opera L'Orfeo this year with the group. 2019 saw Greg take part in an extensive tour of I Fagiolini's Leonardo: Shaping the Invisible project, in collaboration with Dr Martin Kemp, a leading scholar on the life and art of Leonardo da Vinci.

Greg also works as a soloist. Solo engagements have included working with ballet dancer Carlos Acosta in his A Classical Farewell at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England; Handel’s Messiah with the Irish Baroque Orchestra; Purcell’s Ode for St Cecilia's Day with the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment; Purcell's Fairy Queen with the Gabrieli Consort; and Monterverdi’s 1610 Vespers at the Brighton Early Music Festival, and with I Fagiolini and the BBC Singers at the Barbican Centre. His solo recording debut, released in 2011, was as Christus on Ex Cathedra’s recording of the Lassus St. Matthew Passion and a recent Ex Cathedra CD release of Alec Roth’s oratorio A Time to Dance features Greg in a role written for him.

While at Christ Church in Oxford, he began a course of doctoral research in Musicology at the University of Oxford and started his own men’s voices consort, I Dedicati. Recently he was appointed Musical Director of The Lacock Scholars and gives a regular series of concerts with them, creating site-specific evenings that weave polyphonic music with plainsong and silence. He has given workshops and masterclasses in the UK, France, Canada, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and Australia in association with The Sixteen, I Fagiolini, and on his own, specialising in various collections of Renaissance polyphonic repertoire. In 2015, Greg joined the long list of distinguished Early Music conductors associated with the week-long Lacock Courses held in the UK and around Europe, and joined Eamonn Dougan, Associate Conductor of The Sixteen, to lead a course on Polish Renaissance polyphony in August 2017. In August 2018, he assisted Justin Doyle, Chief Conductor of RIAS Kammerchor (Berlin) in leading another of these courses. He is increasingly engaged in Canada as a guest conductor, clinician, and record producer. He has been published in Early Music and his writing has appeared in programmes and CD liner notes for The Tallis Scholars, The Sixteen, The Cardinall’s Musick, The Gabrieli Consort, Tenebrae, and Ex Cathedra.

Greg says:

"We're back!! After what can only be described as a horrible year, in so many ways, I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to CRMSS 2021. The urgency we all feel to get back to singing and to this profoundly wonderful music means CRMSS 2021 will undoubtedly be even more of a hot-house atmosphere this time and I can't wait. The fact that we're also marking 500 years since the death of Josquin des Prez, one of the great founding fathers of Renaissance polyphony, means this year will be so special. Please come and join us!"

Dr Kate Helsen

Back to top

Western University, London Canada

Before teaching Music History at Western University, Kate held a two-year post-doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) at the University of Toronto, researching musical notation in the 12 th and 13 th centuries. Her doctoral research focused on Gregorian chant transmission, orally and through the earliest notated books. She has published articles in Plainsong and Medieval Music, Acta Musicologica, the Journal of the Alamire Foundation, SPECTRUM, and Early Music.

She has been a researcher with many projects around the world including Portugal, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, as well as here at home in Canada; usually, her role focuses on connecting the musicological 'dots' with the technological tools now available to researchers in the Humanities. She is currently involved in developing software and analytics for medieval musical document analysis and chant melody comparisons on a large scale, in several SSRHCC-supported projects. She sings professionally with the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, in Toronto.

Kate says:

"I love that this week offers an opportunity to make quality music in intelligent and beautiful ways, connecting the throat with both the heart and the mind. Through singing, conversation, and friendship, we can liberate Renaissance polyphony from the 'imaginary museum of musical works', and experience them from the inside.

We were so excited to welcome you back for CRMSS 2020 before, well, you know... Having struggled to make whatever music has been possible under the circumstances for the last year, as I know you have too, I can tell you that I dream every day about the glorious sounds we made during CRMSS 2018 and 2019. To say, "looking forward to CRMSS 2021" doesn't even begin to cover it!"

Andrew Pickett

Back to top

Royal College of Music (London, England), Early Music Society of Nova Scotia

Counter-tenor Andrew Pickett's singing has been described by Opera Today as “the sweetest liquid legato.” He received his Master of Music in Literature and Performance from the University of Western Ontario, and then spent four years in the UK, earning a graduate diploma at the Royal College of Music and studying with such notable experts in the vocal Baroque as Dame Emma Kirkby, James Bowman, and Michael Chance. While there, he was a finalist in several international competitions, winning Best Singer at the RCM’s New Song competition.

Andrew has performed major roles in operas by Handel, Monteverdi, Cavalli, Purcell and Jonathan Dove, and been a soloist in works by Purcell, Charpentier, Handel, Britten, and Bach in the UK, Europe, and Canada. He is an alumnus of the National Youth Choir of Canada and of the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, and was a lay clerk at Manchester Cathedral. Andrew now lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he works as a voice teacher, conductor and early music clinician, founding member of the award-winning Helios Vocal Ensemble, and president of the Early Music Society of Nova Scotia.

Lucas Harris

Back to top

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Toronto Continuo Collective, Vesuvius Ensemble

Lucas Harris discovered the lute during his undergraduate studies at Pomona College, where he graduated summa cum laude. He then studied early music in Italy at the Civica scuola di musica di Milano (as a scholar of the Marco Fodella Foundation) and then in Germany at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen. After several years in New York City, he moved to Toronto in 2004 and became the regular lutenist for the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. He is a founding member of the Toronto Continuo Collective, the Vesuvius Ensemble, and the Lute Legends Ensemble. Lucas plays with many other ensembles in Canada and the USA, including the Helicon Foundation (New York) and the Smithsonian Chamber Players (Washington, D.C.). He coaches singers and instrumentalists at the Tafelmusik Summer and Winter Baroque Institutes and Oberlin Conservatory’s Baroque Performance Institute, and was an accompanist, coach, and lecturer for Vancouver Early Music’s Baroque Vocal Programme. In 2014 Lucas completed graduate studies in choral conducting at the University of Toronto, the degree having been funded by a prestigious SSHRC research grant not often awarded to performers. Upon graduating, Lucas was chosen as the Artistic Director of the Toronto Chamber Choir, for which he has created and conducted over a dozen themed concert programs. He has also directed projects for the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, the Ohio State University Opera Program, Les voix baroques, and the Toronto Consort. Lucas was praised for his work with Les voix humaines in Montréal: “The revelation of the concert was the Torontonian lutenist Lucas Harris, who weaved a poetic thread through his infinitely subtle interventions. The sweetness and patience of his playing . . . was astonishing.” (Le Devoir)

Lucas says:

"Live ensemble singing and playing is something I’ll never take for granted again. I think all the pent-up enthusiasm we had for the cancelled CRMSS 2020 will be channelled straight into making CRMSS 2021 the best Renaissance workshop North America has ever seen. I’m especially excited that we’re moving forward with incorporating a LUTE mini-workshop into CRMSS. As the world emerges from this pandemic, people will need to find joy and love through listening to live music, and I’d like us musicians to be ready to deliver that. I can’t wait to see you there!"

CRMSS International Scholars

Back to top

Unviersity of York, UK

2021 marks the introduction of the CRMSS International Scholars programme. Each year, we will welcome a group of student singers from outside Canada, starting with the United Kingdom. They will come as a pre-formed group, who know one another and have worked together before, and will share their talents and experience with the rest of the CRMSS participants over the course of the week. They will act as leaders within the larger singing groups, and participate in the small group sessions in amongst the Canadian participants, as well as have some time to rehearse on their own.

To begin, we are pleased to welcome all five current students studying for a master's degree in Music at the University of York, in the UK, enrolled in York's "Solo Voice Ensemble Singing" MA pathway (known as SVES). This is a course of performance-based master's level study dedicated entirely to one-per-part ensemble singing. The programme lasts one year and includes daily rehearsing and coaching, three major recitals, and opportunities to perform with all of the University of York's many other singing groups.

For more information on SVES, please have a look at the University of York's website.

This year's CRMSS International Scholars are:

Eleanor Hunt, soprano
Anna Claire Golitzin, soprano
Anna Palethorpe, alto
Ed Lambert, tenor
David Valsamidis, bass

Eleanor began singing as a chorister at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, and graduated from Durham University in 2020 with an Upper Second Class degree in German and Russian. At Durham, she held choral scholarships at both St John’s College Chapel Choir and University College Chapel Choir, and was involved with numerous other ensembles. In her final year, she was Manager of both the University Chamber Choir and Dunelm Early Music Ensemble, and on her Year Abroad sang with the Leipziger Kammerchor and the Sächsischer Kammerchor. Eleanor is currently studying under Susan Young whilst on the Solo Voice Ensemble Singing MA course at York.

Before moving to York for SVES, Anna completed a Bachelor of Music in Early Music History at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance, where she finished first in her class. In Ann Arbor, she sang with the Early Music Choir and Orpheus Singers, and and she appeared as a soloist in the baroque opera workshop and in various baroque chamber groups. In addition to singing, she studied harpsichord with Joseph Gascho. In England, she has sung with the Greg Skidmore’s Lacock Scholars in Ludlow and Hereford. Anna is from California, where she first began singing in a Russian Orthodox church choir.

An almna of Oundle School, Anna studied BA Music at University of Southampton with a choral and music scholarship. During her time at University, she had the privilege of doing a Year in Employment at Portsmouth Cathedral, where she was the first female choral scholar. With the cathedral choirs, she was lucky enough to perform in some of Europe’s most prestigious venues. Anna developed a love of choral music as a member of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, having grown up through their programme of choirs.

Ed started out his singing as a chorister at York Minster at age seven, which led to him exploring music from an early age. Following five years in York and a music scholarship at Oakham School, he then went on to become a Choral Scholar at Portsmouth Cathedral. He has recently graduated from the university of York in 2020 with an Upper Second-Class degree in Music. Whilst an undergraduate, he has had many varied vocal opportunities, including singing with The 24, the university acapella ensemble Vox and external choirs such as The Swan Consort, The Damian Singers, The Ebor Singers and The Chapter House Choir. Alongside singing with these choirs Ed has worked with Convivium Records on a tour to the Tolosa International Choral Festival in 2018 and recording works by Hugh Benham for an album in 2019 and sung at the Northern Aldbrough Opera Festival in a production of Handel’s musical drama Semele alongside artists from Opera North. Ed decided to continue his studies on the Solo Voice Ensemble Singing MA after his voice naturally moved from Baritone to Tenor through the coaching and guidance of his current teacher Susan Young. Alongside being on the SVES MA, he is the tenor choral scholar at York Minster.

David David is a bass-baritone, studying with Alex Ashworth. He graduated from the University of York in 2020 with a Music BA and is continuing his studies there for an MA in Solo Voice ensemble singing under Robert Hollingworth. A choral scholar at York Minster and member of The 24, David has performed Josquin and Okheghem through to Debussy, Penderecki and Take 6. He dabbles in Opera, having performed in The University of York Opera Society’s 2020 production of A Dinner Engagement by Lennox Berkeley and in the chorus in I Fagiolini's production of Orfeo in summer 2019. David was the Bass II section leader of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain in 2017-2018. David is an enthusiastic amateur baker and enjoys making artisanal sourdough with local organic flours.