Eric Thomas is a lutenist based in Edinburgh. He studied music at Edinburgh University, dividing his time between performance, composition and musicology, and gained a BMus (Hons) degree. He went onto to pursue his interest in early music completing an MMus in Historically Informed Performance Practice, with the aid of a Carnegie-Cameron postgraduate bursary, jointly at The University of Glasgow and the Royal Conservatiore of Scotland, under the supervision of John Butt, receiving lute tuition from Jamie Akers. Eric continued his studies at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, studying lute and theorbo with Fred Jacobs, and also attended the Urbino Early Music Festival to study with Paul O’Dette and Darlington International Summer School for lessons with David Miller. Eric has started a Phd at the University of Southampton, being awarded a Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship to research the role of improvisation in Italian lute music. As well as his activity in performance and research, Eric is a dedicated guitar teacher, founding the Bruntsfield Guitar School and is also a guitar tutor at Portobello Music School. He enjoys teaching pupils all ages with pupils ranging from seven to seventy!
Katie Rose Johnston is a visual artist based in Glasgow, having recently graduated in Sculpture with a First Class Distinction from The Glasgow School of Art. She has exhibited in the Cello Factory in London, The Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh, DOK Artist Space in Leith, as well as previously exhibiting at The Whisky Bond in Glasgow and at The Hungarian School of Fine Arts, Budapest. Katie utilises bright colours, textures and organic forms to create intimate yet playful installations that re-interpret the context of craft, the woman and the home.
Emily White is professor of sackbut at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She also teaches trombone and sackbut at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Wells Cathedral School andco- directs Huntly Summer School with Morag Johnston. She was made Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in the 2016 honours and became an affiliated solo artist to Conn-Selmer in the same year. As a member of The English Cornette and Sackbut Ensemble, she has received two Gramophone awards and a Diapason D’Or. ECSE - who play internationally - performed their BBC Proms debut in 2013. They are especially renowned for their collaboration with vocal ensembles and their many recordings include with I Fagiolini in The Striggio Mass in 40 Parts as well as with Alamire in The Spy’s Choirbook - voted Best Classical CD of 2014 in The Times, and winner of the Gramophone Early Music Award. They gave recitals and collaboration concerts in June and July 2017 in Stour, York and Cheltenham Festivals - and are heading up to the Edinburgh Festival in August .
Emily is also a baroque violinist and is a member of the ground-breaking ensemble In Echo as both a sackbut and violin player. They closed the 2016 York Early Music Festival and their debut CD has been recorded in 2017 with Delphian label. It features both early music repertoire as well as a new commission by Andrew Keeling.
Emily also specialises in contemporary music and is a member of Pandora’s Box, the trombone trio with John Kenny and Miguel Tantos-Sevillano. Artists in residence at the 2016 Cumnock Tryst, the trio have toured internationally and have given recitals across Spain, Portugal, Ireland and USA. In 2017, they were guest artists at the International Trombone Festival in California. She performed the Secret House, Solo Sonata for Female Trombone written for her by John Kenny. This is recorded on the disc Secret House released this summer and also features music based on birdsong written for her by Peter Cowdrey.
Emily studied trombone and violin at The Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Trinity Laban, and is very appreciative of the inspiration and ideas she has received from teachers and colleagues alike.
Morag Johnston is a Baroque violinist with a background in folk music. Growing up in Shetland, her early musical years were steeped in folk music tradition: learning the rich repertoire by ear from her mother and playing for dance troupes. However after discovering Bach she decided to pursue Baroque music and subsequently won a place at The Conservatory of Music in The Hague where she was taught by Walter Reiter. Now, she studies baroque violin with Veronika Skuplik at Hochschule Für Künste, Bremen.
She has been privileged to receive coaching from many internationally acclaimed baroque artists including: Rachel Podger, Nicolette Moonen, Jaap Ter Linden, Rachel Beesley, Theresa Caudle, Oliver Webber, Kati Debretzeni, Emily White, Allison McGillivray and Frank de Bruine.
Winner of the North Nibley Performing Arts Bursary, she performs regularly with The Bishop's Consort, and with them, repertoire such as The Monteverdi Vespers. Recently, she performed with: Matthew Wadsworth at Totnes Early Music Society; Devon Baroque; in a project with the English Consort and Don Giovanni with Dutch National Opera Academy. She has performed at the Globe Theatre and St. John Smith's In the Square, London. She is a principal member of the groups Northern Lights, Brewery Band and Tappit Hens. She played this August at Utrecht Early Music Festival.
Shona Donaldson originally comes from Huntly and is one of Scotland's leading young tradition bearers. She was in residence in her home town during 2010. Shona is a bothy ballad winner and recorded artist. She has taught at Huntly Summer School for two years.
Alice, originally from Salisbury, is enjoying a varied career, as an educator, as an Open Academy Fellow at RAM and as a violinist with a historical performance specialism, performing with groups including Instruments of Time and Truth, La Nuova Musica and Music For Awhile, and holds the Belsize Baroque Bursary 2018.Following studies at Bristol University, where she led the main university ensembles, Alice was awarded scholarships to study at RWCMD (with Lesley Hatfield) and later from RAM (with Rachel Podger) graduating from both institutions with Distinctions. Alice is a passionate chamber musician and member of FIGO (BREMF LIVE Scheme Ensemble), with whom she will perform at the Rachel Podger’s Brecon Baroque Festival 2019. Alice also creative learning and participation work both with FIGO and as an individual. Recent highlights include a concert she organised with Resonate Arts for those living with dementias, working at the Huntly Summer School with fellow historically informed musicians Emily White and Morag Johnston in which they created a sound-story about ‘Juno the SuperDog!’ and at Superstrings Club where she led the ‘Comprov’ (composition and improvisation) sessions in which the children created and performed a live film score. Alice is very much enjoying her time as an Open Academy Fellow and the huge range of projects she has experienced. Alice is looking forward to concerts at the Wigmore Hall with Music For the Moment series and with the For Crying Out Loud! series.
Kirsty Whatley is one of only a handful of harpists to work professionally as a historical harp and continuo player, working on copies of instruments from the Renaissance and Baroque eras. She can be heard internationally with some of Europe's most renowned specialist early music ensembles. She trained in Manchester and Switzerland, and now lives in beautiful Dorset in the south of England.
Kirsty trained initially on modern harp, and has an MMus from the University of Manchester, where she studied harp with Eira Lynn Jones, (Halllé Orchestra/Royal Northern College of Music). She spent some time as a freelance classical harpist, working with groups such as Moscow City Ballet; however, her desire to move away from the "fluffy" romantic image still often associated with the harp led her first to ever-more modern music (her article on Berio's harp 'Sequenza II' is published in a book by Ashgate, and she premiered Andrew Keeling's 'Sacred Time' for solo harp), and then back to the harps and music of earlier times. In 2004 she started postgraduate study at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland. There she specialised in historical harps, and now works predominantly as an “early” harpist. As such, she plays copies of instruments that trace its history across more than four centuries, from the early 1700s back to the sophisticated music of the late-medieval period. For her, the excitement of these bygone times lies in the beauty of the instruments themselves and in the exploratory, research-based practice of breathing new life into them in modern performance.
Kirsty works with groups such as: The Taverner Consort & Players, Alamire, The BBC Singers, Fretwork, London Handel Orchestra, English Touring Opera and I Fagiolini, and overseas with Ensemble Leones, Alex Potter, Tetraktys, Ensemble Gilles Binchois, Stavanger Baroque and Le Miroir de Musique. She recently began presenting concerts in the quartet Courtiers of Grace with Clare Wilkinson (voice), Jacob Heringman (lute) and Gawain Glenton (cornetto). She has performed live on BBC Radio 3 and national radio stations abroad, plays regularly in various international festivals and has recorded CDs with several of the above ensembles.