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Vocalist Emma Kirkby - silvery stillness

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According to her website, Emma had no expectations of becoming a professional singer. As a classics student at Oxford and then a schoolteacher she sang for pleasure in choirs and small groups, always feeling most at home in Renaissance and Baroque repertoire. But one song led to another and in 1971 the redhead joined the Taverner Choir, and in 1973 began her association with the Consort of Musicke and the Academy of Ancient Music.

She loved and respected early music, and with help from Jessica Cash in London, and from the directors, fellow singers and instrumentalists with whom she has worked over the years, she crafted and revealed her pure and extraordinarily beautiful singing.

She has made well over a hundred recordings, from sequences of Hildegarde of Bingen to madrigals of the Italian and English Renaissance, cantatas and oratorios of the Baroque, works of Mozart, Haydn and J. C. Bach. Recent recordings include: Handel's Opera Arias and Overtures 2 for Hyperion and Bach's wedding cantatas for Decca.

In 1999 Emma was voted Artist of the Year by Classic FM Radio listeners; in November 2000 she received the Order of the British Empire, and in June 2007 was delighted to be included in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for appointment as a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. BBC Music Magazine, April 2007, in a recent survey to find “The greatest sopranos,” placed Emma at number 10.

While 'such things are inevitably parochial, partial, controversial, and outdated as soon as they appear', she is pleased at the recognition this implies for an approach to singing that values ensemble, clarity and stillness. . ."

Emma Kirkby sings Mozart's Laudate Dominum in a 1993 recording with the Academy of Ancient Music and the Choir of Winchester Cathedral conducted by Christopher Hogwood.

We grow older, but there is nothing more beautiful than giving thanks.

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