Andrew Lawrence-King - musical director
Full ALK biography here
Andrew Lawrence-King’s approach to directing, in his work with The Harp Consort and as guest director for ensembles in Europe, Scandinavia and USA, has been hailed by performers, audiences and critics all over the world as “the most creative, warmest and most liberated path in modern-day authenticity”, “assured, crackling with energy and style”, “fascinatingly vivid and imaginatively varied”.
His prize-winning recordings and enthusiastically received live performances have received particular praise for their well-researched, creatively innovative, and intelligently presented programme planning: “Lawrence-King’s scholarly, yet vastly entertaining … blend of music, history and sociology was so seamless that a listener could sit back and absorb the avalanche of influences and idioms without feeling as if trapped in a lecture. That was the beauty of the concept - and of the artistry.”
Nevertheless, historical detail and intellectual constructs are matched by deeply felt instinctive musicianship: “Andrew Lawrence-King and his musicians are certainly not presenting a skeletal attempt to revive long-lost scores, but rather they have brought to life a Gesamtkunstwerk (complete art work), in the very best sense. One has seldom before heard this music sound so lively, so playful and yet so serious all at the same time.”
Even familiar repertoires are heard in fresh colours, with his unique combination of deep-rooted sensitivity to period performance practice and lively adoption of authentic liberties: “Andrew Lawrence-King’s fascinating Bach programme… can ‘cross over’ to a mainstream platform without surrendering or diluting any of its own musical point, purpose or integrity. Academic arguments aside, this is music of beguiling, filigree beauty, performed with a quiet, intoxicating virtuosity and an all too rare sensitivity.”
Andrew Lawrence-King’s concept of continuo is characterised by thrilling rhythm, whether the elegant swing of court ballet, the visceral grind of popular dances - “energy, passion and undisguised joie de vivre explode from the CD (helped by the muscular percussion and guitar contributions). The result is a sound that is vividly ebullient.” - or the more subtle ebb and flow of abstract music: He has a very natural and relaxed approach to rhythm, one that allows for considerable elasticity without sacrificing the integrity of the line or indulging in wanton license. Even with some give and take, ornaments are played crisply and in tempo, and faster notes are played articulately and absolutely even. He can make the most stunning gradations of dynamic, with phrases contoured to near perfect taper, but always vital and directed.
As director, Andrew Lawrence-King’s “total technical command and inspired imagination” is grounded in old-fashioned virtues: conscientious preparation, careful rehearsal planning, attention to budget constraints, sharply analytical hearing (and perfect pitch) to identify and solve ensemble problems, subtle awareness of psychological dynamics amongst ensemble members. He can direct rehearsals in English, Spanish, Italian, German and French, and coaches pronunciation in English, Spanish, Italian, and German. He also understands and reads Dutch, Catalan, Finnish, Guernesiais, Russian and Latin.
Prof Dr Lawrence-King is Senior Visiting Research Fellow for the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions at the University of Western Australia, Perth, and is recognised as a leading expert on Historical Action for early opera.
Above all, Andrew Lawrence-King seeks to draw out the best from each individual performer, empowering them with improvisatory freedom, giving them confidence with reliable direction, and enthusing them with persuasive musicality, to create an ensemble performance that is much greater than the sum of its parts.
Press quotes: CD Review Magazine, Spain; Early Music Review, UK; Gramophone Magazine, UK; Cleveland Plain Dealer, USA; Stuttgarter Zeitung, Germany; Gramophone Early Music Quarterly, UK; Radio Network Magazine, Holland; Boston Globe, USA; BBC Music Magazine, UK