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Anglo-Japanese Society of Wessex

An Unincorporated Association

Honorary Patrons:
Alexander Rosenblatt, George Logan (Dr Evadne Hinge), Michael Soumei Coxall, Kazue Yanagida

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Kazue Yanagida

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Established 1996

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柳田 和江(名誉パトロン)AJSW日本代表

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The Artisans: Music of Old England

Wed Apr 6th 2011, 12:15–1:00 pm ◀ This event has finished
St Dunstan-in-the-West, 186a Fleet St, London, EC4A 2HR


The Artisans’ exciting programme offers a musical journey through medieval and renaissance England. From foot tapping dances to enchanting songs, this concert will give you a taste of the music of Old England.

Artist info:

Top row: Emily Askew (Vielle, Bagpipes), Hazel Askew (Voice, Harp), Alexis Bennett (Voice, Vielle), Nicolas Mendoza (Voice, Rebec)
Bottom row: Matthew Robinson (Voice, Medieval Lute), Belinda Paul (Dulcian), Sarah Stuart (Percussion)

The Artisans are a new medieval band emerging from London. The musicians bring together a broad experience from both the early music and folk worlds, performing on a variety of historical instruments including recorders, bagpipes, vielle, rebec, hurdy gurdy, harp, oud and percussion.

Emily Askew is an extremely versatile musician playing recorders, vielle (medieval fiddle), bagpipes and fiddle. Her interests are wide and varied reaching from the deep roots of folk music through to Medieval, Baroque and contemporary repertoire. Emily studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Ian Wilson and William Lyons, where she graduated with a first class honours BMus as well as receiving a concert recital diploma. She is also the recipient of the 2009 Dove Memorial Prize for the highest BMus mark. Emily has performed with a range of ensembles in many venues including the Brighton Pavilion (part of the Early Music Festival), Christchurch Spitalfields and St Martin-in-the-Fields.

Hazel Askew is known on the folk music scene for her singing and melodeon playing, but she started her musical education on the specialist music scheme at Pimlico School, where she studied concert harp. During this time she took part in many orchestras, choirs and musical opportunities as well as touring in Italy. However her interest in folk music meant she spent a lot of her spare time playing in sessions, workshops as well as for Morris, Rapper and Appalachian dance teams. Four years ago she formed the Askew Sisters duo with her sister and they have been playing the folk clubs and festivals ever since. They were twice semi-finalists in the BBC Young Folk Award and won the New Roots Competition in 2005. In recent years, Hazel has decided to take up the gothic harp. She now has lessons from Leah Stuttard from Mediva.

Nicolás Mendoza started his musical training at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia where he learnt piano and violin. Once in England, he studied in York with Peter Seymour, Gary Cooper, and Tim Roberts. Recently he has taken up the rebec and hurdy gurdy to help him pursue his interest in medieval music. He has appeared with numerous ensembles in festivals in Yorkshire, including the York Early Music Festival, the Beverley Early Music Festival, and the University of York New Music Spring Festival. He has also worked with the Minster Minstrels, helping to provide a gateway to early music for children. As a soloist he has performed in York, Manchester, and London to critical acclaim. He co-founded the Prince and Pauper Consort which has performed twice at the Brighton Early Music Festival and other venues such as the National Portrait Gallery, the London Guildhall’s Old Library and Farnham Castle.

Belinda Paul was born in Melbourne and has always been attracted to obscure wind instruments, making her debut at the age of eight she was a member of Paul Williams' Elastic Band (lead kazoo). She has since focused her attention on early oboes, going on to perform as principal with The Academy of Ancient Music, The Sixteen, The Hanover Band and La Stagione, Frankfurt. She is also a member of Balthazar Ensemble and Fourier Ensemble, two groups specialising in 19th century wind repertoire, and is a founding member of Concentus VII

Alexis Bennett discovered the vielle at the Guildhall School. It was in a cupboard next to an old Mars Bar and a copy of Cosmopolitan. He stole the vielle and the Mars Bar and has never looked back! After finally defeating Superman and changing his last name to Bennett, Alexis made the unusual career decision to join the Artisans.

Alexis studied music, English literature and history at the University of Edinburgh before postgraduate training at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Alexis has also performed with a variety of groups including Florilegium and the Dufay Collective, and is a familiar face on the London ceilidh scene as a caller and fiddler. He is also a composer, largely for film-makers and animators, and his music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Channel 4, Turner Classic Movies and at film festivals worldwide, including Cannes, London and Edinburgh. He is currently researching his PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Sarah Stuart’s interest in medieval and renaissance music grew out of her early encounters with period performance as an apprentice on the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s experience scheme for young players. Since extending her percussive expertise back through the centuries, she has amassed an interesting array of percussion instruments from several field trips to countries whose indigenous music still use instruments from ancient times. Sarah received First Class Honours for her percussion studies on the Royal Northern College of Music’s prestigious Joint Course with the University of Manchester, and in her final year also won a Gold Medal — the RNCM’s top solo recital prize. Since graduating Sarah has worked as a freelance percussionist with several of the UK’s leading orchestras, and following her season with the OAE (2007–8), enjoyed an association with the London Philharmonic Orchestra as a member of their Future Firsts programme. She is also proud to be the first RNCM student to take a portion of her instrumental studies in folk music, where she studied fiddle with Catriona Macdonald, continuing a passion dating back to the age of six.

Matthew Robinson plays a variety of plucked strings and has recently taken up the Oud which he has found useful for Medieval Iberian repertoire. He obtained his BMus (Hons) 1st class from Birmingham Conservatoire and is now studying for an MMus postgraduate degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama enabled by the Adele Kramer-Chappell fund. Matthew has played as a solo guitarist for many festivals and societies throughout England but also enjoys working as a chamber musician. He frequently appears with virtuoso guitarist Eduardo Niebla and has toured with him throughout the U.K. and Europe. He has sung with many accomplished choirs and often accompanies himself in concert. He has even found himself singing Michael Bublé with an orchestra and playing the lead in Pirates of Penzance. Matthew loves cooking and has an ambition to own a cupcake shop!

Venue: St Dunstan-in-the-West

Pictures of St Dunstan-in-the-West at the Flickr website

The church of St. Dunstan in the West dates back to circa 1070 AD, and the present building was completed in the early 19th century.

The nearest tube stations are Chancery Lane (Central line) and Temple (Circle and District line).

For more information, visit the church's website.


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