The performers’ hidden secrets!

Anna Crookes – soprano

Anna Crookes hails from Merseyside, and spent ten years studying at Chetham’s School of Music and the RNCM Junior Dept as a pianist. Her indecisiveness has resulted in her pursuing careers as a pianist, singer, piano teacher and very bad housewife for the last twenty-six years, and she is proud to have been a member of ‘Fag’ [pronounced ‘Fadge’ – Ed] since the very first rehearsal. She also loves accompanying and has played for several members of the group, both past and present. Highlights of Fag in recent years have to include working on The Full Monteverdi, a wonderful opportunity to really get inside some of the best a cappella vocal music ever written, and, at the other end of the spectrum, being scared witless by Berio’s extraordinary Sinfonia. When she is not making music professionally, she can be found either on her beloved allotment, spending time with her family or at the back desk of the second violins in the Great Missenden orchestra.


Julia Doyle – soprano

Born and educated in Lancaster, Julia read Social and Political Sciences alongside a Choral Scholarship at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. After finishing her degree, she worked in America as a research consultant in infant linguistic and musical development, and then in Arts Management in London before following in family footsteps (despite their wise advice) and pursuing a singing career. Having joined I Fagiolini in 2007, she has since performed all over the world with them and with many of Europe’s other top ensembles, and is fast establishing a career as as soloist specialising in Baroque repertoire. Outside Bach and Handel, Julia specialises in ‘honking’ like a horn (as featured both on television and live in concert with I Fagiolini at Cadogan Hall), playing the spoons, and singing silly songs with her extremely lively toddler.


Emma Tring – soprano

Emma’s love of singing began at the age of 11 when she starred as orphan Annie in a school production. She continued singing throughout school and then university at Bristol before spending a year on the Early Music Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Since then she has appeared as an oratorio soloist in venues around the UK and has dipped her toe into the operatic world, particularly enjoying a tour as Micaela in Carmen around the five-star hotels of Thailand.

In 2008 Emma was thrilled to join the BBC Singers’ soprano section where one of her first live Radio 3 concerts was the UK premiere of Elliott Carter’s Mad Regales for six solo voices at the Barbican, directed by Oliver Knussen. Another highlight was singing under Daniel Barenboim at the BBC Proms, where he conducted the BBC SO, BBC Singers and soloists with little more than his eyebrows! In 2008 Emma got married in Chile but also began her relationship with I Fagiolini in the weird and wonderful Tallis in Wonderland: one of her best years yet.


Clare Wilkinson – mezzo soprano

Enjoying the privileged position of being the first mezzo in I Fagiolini, a group conceived with no such job description, Clare regularly shoehorns herself into soprano, alto and tenor lines. After a musical upbringing and a choral scholarship (Classics degree between concerts) at Cambridge, she moved to London to indulge her passion for consort singing, Bach and singing with viols, and is now lucky enough to be busily occupied with these things alongside the best and nicest people in the field. Clare has recently dedicated much time to learning a remote Austrian dialect and regaling her colleagues with details of this venture. This year she will fulfil a long-held dream by leaving London to pursue the good life in a Cambridgeshire cottage. Clare likes it when people give her chocolates after concerts, and takes equal responsibility (with Anna) for I Fagiolini’s [surely ‘your and Anna’s’ – Ed] recent champagne-drinking habit.


William Purefoy – countertenor

Remarkably untraumatised by the Christ’s Hospital school uniform, William went on to sing like a girl at Magdalen College Oxford, whence he emerged proudly with slightly less than a Gentleman’s Degree in Mathematics. Since then, and he refuses to say exactly how long ago, he has continued to use a small portion of his vocal cords, while at various points playing trumpet in a disreputable band called the Honkin’ Hepcats, singing in the four-man vocal ensemble ‘Cantabile’ and spending three years at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Despite all of this he can still be seen performing in public, sometimes even with the formidable outfit I Fagiolini, often in productions at the Globe and, albeit rather rarely, with the Little Oxford Big Band.


Richard Wyn Roberts – countertenor

Richard has sung notes above middle C ever since becoming a chorister. After some quality time in the Middle East, he read music at New College, Oxford, where he fell into the unorthodox world of ‘The Little Beans’. [Can we just point out that the name I Fagiolini was your idea, Rabbits? – Ed] Following a year at the Royal College of Music, he pursued his love of singing with many leading early music ensembles, including the Tallis Scholars and the Gabrieli Consort. His concert engagements have taken him around the world, and he has featured on recordings with the Academy of Ancient Music and English Baroque Soloists and for BBC TV drama. With I Fagiolini he has enjoyed exploring and bringing to life a wealth of repertoire, both early and contemporary. Richard lives out in the jungle [that’s a very obscure reference to a piece for I Fagiolini by Adrian Williams that no-one is going to understand – Ed] of Surrey and is married to the county’s loveliest consultant, with whom he has two exciting children.


Matthew Long – tenor

Matthew was born in London to two professional singers and after 18 or so years of resistance, caved in to his parents’ wishes, resigning himself to the idea that singing was probably the only way he’d ever make any money.

He studied music at the University of York and sang as a choral scholar in the choir of York Minster. After graduating Matthew moved to London and since then has maintained a busy schedule of touring and recording, working regularly for a number of British groups including The Sixteen, The Monteverdi Choir, The Gabrieli consort and Tenebrae Choir. Projects with these outfits have taken him all over the world and have given him a desire to return to many countries to discover what happens outside their airports, concert hall dressing rooms and hotel bars.

Matthew made his operatic debut at the Sage, Gateshead in 2008 singing a lead role in a new opera, Skellig, by American composer Tod Machover. He was reviewed well in the national press and was particularly praised for his ‘choirboy looks’. He has performed as a soloist with the Hanover Band and The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment as well as for a number of british choral societies. He particularly enjoys solo and small ensemble work and hopes to continue developing a career in these fields.

Matthew is delighted to have joined I Fagiolini and is looking forward to taking part in many exciting projects in the future. He is available for babysitting work.


Nicholas Hurndall Smith – tenor

Nicholas studied music at Corpus Christi College, Oxford where he was organ scholar, but soon abandoned the solitary organ loft in favour of singing. He met Robert on tour with New College Choir and joined I Fagiolini in 1992.  He trained with David Pollard on the Guildhall School of Music & Drama’s Opera Course, supported by The Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipemakers and Tobacco Blenders, and now is equally at home on the concert platform and operatic stage.  Besides performing, he enjoys teaching the choral scholars at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and is a keen rock climber.  [He also has friends wherever in the world we are performing – Ed]


Eamonn Dougan – baritone

Having read music at New College, Oxford, Eamonn studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He now leads a busy career as a consort singer and soloist, principally as a member of I Fagiolini and The Sixteen. His solo recordings include Messiah, St Matthew Passion and Brahms’ Requiem and he has recently performed with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Academy of Ancient Music, the Hanover Band and Orchestra de la Communidad, Madrid. Eamonn joined I Fagiolini in spite of being asked to memorise a piece at a few hours’ notice for his first concert. He constantly has to mollify his wife about how much room all the Fagiolini music takes up in their house. He will happily talk about English song to anyone who wants to listen.


Charles Gibbs – bass

Charles was born and lived in Bristol, before reading (occasionally) Modern Languages at Cambridge. While there he started to sing and continued at the Royal Academy of Music. His subsequent career has taken him all over the world, with professional choirs, ensembles and sometimes as a soloist. He was a Vicar Choral at St Paul’s Cathedral, spent a year slaving away in Les Miserables, moved to darkest Somerset and reared a family [what – is that like rearing pigs? – Ed], all before re-emerging as a BBC Singer and shortly after also joining I Fagiolini, for whom he had been an occasional guest singer for many years. He now lives in Hertfordshire and envies Anna’s allotment, because there is a 13-year waiting list where he is. As the oldest singer in the group, he feels that his opinions should be treated with a little more respect.


David Miller – lute

David Miller is a long established soloist and well known as an accompanist and continuo player on lute, theorbo and early guitars, flourishing in the various realms of the early music world, as well as making his mark in the modern musical scene. He performs and records with all the principal English period instrument orchestras and with many of the finest ensembles. He is professor of lute at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and Trinity Laban. He is also a tutor for the European Union Baroque Orchestra, the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, and the Dartington International Summer School.

David’s musical focus is as a soloist and accompanist. He has received assistance from the British Council for solo recitals in Bohemia, has given solo recitals in Essaouira, Morocco, for the Festival du Printemps Musical des Alizés, and has appeared as a solo artist for the inaugural National Trust Music Festival at Sea, playing John Dowland in Denmark. He performed with Frances Kelly and Joseph Cornwell at the 2004 Greenwich International Festival of Early Music and returned in 2005 playing solo Bach on the lute. Over the past ten years he has worked extensively with English National Opera and more recently with the Royal Opera, Glyndebourne, Bordeaux Opera and English Touring Opera.

David maintains a busy recital schedule with such artists as Robin Blaze, James Bowman, Catherine Bott, Michael Chance, Elin Manahan Thomas, Elizabeth Wallfisch and Abdul Salam Kheir. He has also performed at many prestigious European Festivals including Aldeburgh, Brighton, Flanders, Leipzig, Potsdam, Spitalfields, Stour and York. He performs annually at the BBC Proms and has appeared there with The Sixteen, English Baroque Soloists, OAE, the BBC Singers, and His Majesties Sagbutts & Cornetts.

Among numerous recordings are several CDs of English songs and lute music, including John Dowland discs with James Bowman and with Charles Daniels, as well as the complete works of John Danyel with Nigel Short. He has recorded a CD of consort music by Dowland with Concordia and the King’s Singers in a project commemorating the four hundredth anniversary of the gunpowder plot; he has played on the recent BBC Television soundtracks of Francesco da Mosto’s Venice, The Canterbury Tales, Bob the Builder and Dr Who.


Eligio Quinteiro – theorbo, lute and early guitars

Eligio Quinteiro was born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Canary Islands). He studied classical guitar with Olímpiades García and Joaquín Prats, graduating in 1993. He studied lute and theorbo with Eugène Ferré in Toulouse (France), attending masterclasses with Paul O’Dette and Hopkinson Smith. In 1997 he moved to London to follow a postgraduate course in Early Music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He is artistic director of the ensembles Capilla Cayrasco and Camerata Cayrasco, and is in great demand as a soloist and as an accompanist for recitals of baroque song (on theorbo) and romantic lied (on guitar). As a specialist in basso continuo, Eligio has performed and recorded with the leading early music ensembles in the UK and Spain. He has given masterclasses in chamber music, lute and guitar at the Royal College of Music (London) and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (Cardiff).  He made his stage debut at the age of 11, playing the snare drum in the “Toy Symphony” with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria.


Joy Smith – early harps

Joy studied harp, flute, piano and harpsichord at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester from the age of eight. She went on to study English at Oxford University before winning a scholarship on the postgraduate harp course at Trinity College of Music, London, where she gained the United Kingdom Harp Association Prize. Her eclectic taste in music has led her to play in an unusual array of venues from the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden and the Royal Albert Hall to the Glastonbury Rock Festival and the Café de Paris. She is regularly found travelling the world with her arsenal of seven harps (from electric to medieval) and is delighted to be the official I Fag harpist. She is co-director of the baroque-fusion group Eclipse and loves bellydancing.


Steven Devine – early keyboards

Steven Devine studied at Chetham’s (partly because he saw Anna winning Young Musician of the Year as a pianist on the TV) and Oxford University. He is the harpsichordist for London Baroque and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and pretty much anyone else who asks nicely. A parallel career as a musical director has seen him conduct at the Proms, co-direct the recent award-winning Chandos recording of Dido and Aeneas, and take charge of Raymond Gubbay’s Christmas by Candlelight Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall for the last six years. Steven is an expert at connecting to the internet in any airport lounge or hotel room in any part of the world in order to fulfil his other role – as Director of Education for the Finchcocks Collection of Historical Keyboard Instruments in Kent.

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