Emma Kirkby

Emma Kirkby feels lucky in many ways: that she met renaissance vocal polyphony while still at school, that she studied Classics and sang with the Schola Cantorum at Oxford, and, best of all, that there she encountered “historical” instruments known to Renaissance and Baroque composers, the lute, harpsichord, and wind and string instruments, whose sound and human scale drew from her an instinctive response. As a schoolteacher and amateur singer she was invited to perform professionally with pioneer groups; and long partnerships followed in Britain and abroad, with ensembles, individual players, and record companies, so that now Emma’s voice and style are recognized worldwide. Emma was awarded a DBE in 2007, and in 2011 the Queen’s Medal for Music. Amazed by all this, she is nevertheless glad of the recognition it implies, for a way of music-making that values ensemble, clarity and stillness above volume and display; above all she is delighted to see a new generation of singers and players bringing their skills to the endeavor.