Online | The Italian Connection

40 Brunswick Square London WC1N 1AZ
29 Nov 2020 — 31 Mar 2020
  • Music
A time-telescoped tale of the beginnings of Baroque music.

Watch online via Musicke in the Ayre YouTube

This is a specially curated selection of live video extracts from Sunday afternoon concerts at the Foundling given by early music specialists Musicke in the Ayre between 2013 and 2017. It gives a glimpse of how British secular vocal music evolved from the lute songs of the Elizabethan/Jacobean age to the operatic arias of the Restoration and beyond (with Purcell and Handel), and the role that musical developments in Italy had in this evolution. The 4 concerts involved lutenist leader Din Ghani working with a varying line-up.

Din began playing lute 45 years ago, but began performing seriously in the last 8 years, specialising in lute song with his “umbrella” group Musicke in the Ayre. In this period he has clocked up over 135 performances: the latest being part of this year’s Brighton Early Music Festival. He makes most of his own instruments including two of the ones seen in this film.

Helen Atkinson began her singing career as a baroque soloist in the Oxford area, but since moving to York in 2007 has expanded into accompanying herself (on lute, vihuela and harp) in medieval and renaissance repertoire.

Soprano Jeni Melia has several CDs of lute songs to her name. She is a practising music therapist, and director of a specialist charity working with dementia; she also conducts two chamber ensembles.

Esha Neogy studied viol at Trinity Laban and plays it with a number of other early music ensembles; she helped found the prize-winning Ensemble Tramontana.

Esha, Jeni and Helen have all performed with Musicke in the Ayre since 2012, and formed the ensemble for the 2013 concert; each of the other 3 concerts involved one of the following:

A choral scholarship at St Martin in the Fields set Lydia White on the road towards becoming a soloist, until she was headhunted to teach English at a United World College in Freiburg. As a poet, her work has been set by modern composers and performed in Wigmore Hall, among other places.

Jane Hunt studied music in Bath; after gaining a performer’s diploma in singing, she has established a profile in the area as a soloist, with particular interests in early music and English song.

The versatile Sophia Brumfitt has worked across the entire spectrum of early music from medieval to baroque, and also with contemporary composers. Working with several ensembles include two she co-founded, her performing career has spanned the globe and even the airwaves, with appearances on TV and radio.


  • The Italian connection at The Foundling Museum