“The spontaneity of improvised jazz and the perfection of state-of-the-art Early Music… a stupendous mixture of historical accuracy and improvisatory freedom… breaking the concert mould… music-theatrical fascination… stunning…virtuosity… without rival… Spanish Humour…French elegance… thrilling… a magical collage of text, sound and dance: The fabulous Harp Consort!”
So critics have acclaimed Andrew Lawrence-King’s ensemble, which made its debut at the 1994 Utrecht Festival. The Harp Consort was immediately in demand on the concert platform and in the recording studio: “assured, crackling with energy and style” in Purcell’s Musick’s Hand-Maid; “delightful, exuberant, full of flair and virtuosity, and very beautiful” in Exquisite Consorts, William Lawes’ suites ‘for the Harp Consort’.
But it was their first CD, the Spanish Dances of Ribayaz’s Luz y Norte – “fascinatingly vivid and imaginatively varied… a joyous experience, not to be missed” – that topped the classical charts worldwide (five weeks at #1 in Australia!), won innumerable awards (including Amadeus’ CD of the year and a Diapason d’Or) and (along with two songs by John Paul Jones) brought The Harp Consort to international cult status.
As THC’s award-winning record- producer, John Hadden, writes: “The rest is history!”
In concert, dancer/guitarist Steven Player and Andrew Lawrence-King developed Luz y norte – “energy, passion & undisguised joie de vivre explode from the CD” – into a stage-show “the most remarkable concert of 17th-century music I have ever heard…rhythmic & exciting, gallant, exuberant, even comic: a Gesamtkunstwerk in the very best sense”, which has toured in Europe, Scandinavia, the Americas, Australia & New Zealand and Japan, has been televised on three continents and broadcast on radio worldwide.
20 YEARS OF THC HISTORY
94 Cantigas in Paardenkathedraal
95 Madrid Auditorio Nacional, Kuhmo
96 USA tour, Vivaldi Four Seasons
97 Sydney Opera House, Wigmore, Berlin Phil
98 Carnegie Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus
99 Mexico, Warsaw Phil, Kings Singers
00 Euridice, Vespers, La Scala
01 Japan, Mexico, 1589 Intermedi
02 USA, Israel, Estonian Philharmonic Choir
03 Locatelli concerto, Púrpura
04 Valls Missa Scala Aretina, Almira
05 Japan, Tasmania, The Harp DVD
06 Oratorio, Glasgow, Helsinki
07 Buxtehude EBU, Ludus Danielis
08 Stockholm TV, Piae Cantiones
09 Handel EBU, Moscow Phil, Florence
10 Missa Battalla, Australia, Slovenia
11 Orfeo, Ludus Danielis, Euridice
12 Combattimento, Kalevala, Dido
13 Shakespeare’s Musick, Morte d’Orfeo
14 Monteverdi Vespers, 6 Brandenburgs
Improvisation and early World Music continued with the CD and stage-show Carolan’s Harp, ”the marvelous early music counterpart to ‘Riverdance’… the virtuosity of the instrumentalists is matched by the spirit and style of the singers.” and new perspectives on Handel,Vivaldi & Bach in Italian Concerto, awarded the German Phonographic Academy’s Echo Prize. The revival of the first South American opera, La púrpura de la rosa (Lima, Peru, 1701), won the Noah Greenberg Prize for musicological research, and Andrew’s Lawrence-King’s direction of Handel’s first opera Almira won the American Handel Society’s prize for Opera CD of the Year.
Andrew Lawrence-King greeted the new millennium by directing the 400-year anniversary production of Peri’s Euridice at the Los Angeles Getty Centre. The Harp Consort’s UK Classical Chart #1 & London Times CD of the Year Missa Mexicana received its concert debut at La Scala, Milan "Ella Fitzgerald meets the 17th century", and Miracles of Notre Dame, London Daily Telegraph CD of the Year, won the Dutch Edison Prize. The ensemble staged the medieval Ludus Danielis in Kings College, Cambridge and York Minster, opened a new concert hall in Glasgow, and made its Russian debut in wintry Siberia!
In 2005, Andrew began a three- year Arts & Humanities Research Council Fellowship at Sheffield University, investigating Hispanic baroque music. This led to the first performance in modern times of the earliest Spanish Oratorio, and staged productions of Púrpura and the earliest Spanish opera, Hidalgo’s Celos aun del aire matan.
Andrew’s current research as Senior Visiting Research Fellow for the Australian Centre for the History of Emotions has established him as an international authority on early opera and baroque gesture, and this year he won the prestigious Helpmann Award for his duo recital in Melbourne with Jordi Savall, as well as Russia’s highest music-theatrical prize, the Golden Mask, for the first opera, Cavalieri’s Anima e Corpo.
These successes also influence the latest developments with The Harp Consort, spinning-off research projects (Landi’s La Morte d’Orfeo, the medieval Kalevala & Monteverdi’s Combattimento with 17th-century swordsmanship), international collaborations (with Marco Beasley and Xavier Diaz Latorre) and orchestral projects (both modern and early) into new THC programs, and creating the early opera and Historical Action production company, Il Corago.
“The ancient art of improvisation is revived in grand style by the liberating performance of The Harp Consort, directed by the harpist, Andrew Lawrence-King, a marvellous modern-day magician… Early Music comes to life, as if it had been written only yesterday, and sounds more modern than a lot of new music! … Extremely beautiful and intelligently provocative in its life between the areas of art-music and popular traditions, and in its exploration of little known and hither-to uncelebrated baroque music… The Harp Consort makes old music new.”
2010 - present
2010 - present