Eboracum Baroque are a group of young professional singers and instrumentalists that perform across the UK and Europe. They specialise in the performance of Baroque music in a historically informed style and on period instruments. The ensemble are particularly renowned for their performances of 17th and 18th Century English music. They are passionate about ensuring Baroque music is accessible to all ages and have an active education programme.
Eboracum Baroque was formed in 2012 at the University of York. The group expanded to include young professionals from across the UK and is now based in Cambridge. They perform regularly across the UK and Europe and have formed notable partnerships with the National Trust and Horrible Histories author, Terry Deary.
Originally the ensemble was formed as part of the undergraduate dissertation of Chris Parsons with the performing of new editions created by Chris of the composers, Michel Richard De Lalande (1657-1726) and Andre Campra (1660-1744). The music was particularly focused around Grand Motets by both composers and orchestral suites including an excellent suite for Trumpets by De Lalande. The first performance of these works and of the ensemble was at Beverley Minster on Saturday 3rd March 2012.
The group continued to perform at the University of York and took a performance of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas to the Edinburgh Fringe for a week long run. The Edinburgh trip also included a concert featuring Charpentier’s Te Deum and Bach’s Cantata BWV 51.
Having made their London debut in 2013 with a well received performance of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at the Grimeborn Opera Festival, Eboracum Baroque returned to the festival in August 2014 with a production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea. It received a number of 4 star reviews and was described as ‘extremely fine musical performances all round’ – Planet Hugill
In January 2015 the group recorded their first CD which was funded by the National Trust and Arts Council England. The CD features forgotten music by the English Baroque composer, Thomas Tudway (1650-1726) and was recorded at Wimpole Hall near Cambridge where Tudway worked from 1714-1726. It includes a large scale setting of the Te Deum and Jubilate and a Birthday Ode for Queen Anne. It was described by The Guardian as ‘Stylish Choral Singing’ and is available to purchase today and via the Eboracum Baroque website.
In December 2015 the group went on its first major tour abroad with performances of Handel’s Messiah in Münster and Hannover in Germany in which both received standing ovations by sell out audiences and encores of the Hallelujah chorus.
They are delighted to work with the Horrible Histories author, Terry Deary on a number of major projects beginning in 2013 with a new narration to Purcell’s The Fairy Queen and in 2016 will perform a new production with him of Purcell’s King Arthur.
The group formed BaRocks! the education arm of the ensemble in 2015 and since then has delivered a number of education workshops and projects including a new vocal commission based on Handel’s Fireworks music with schools across Cambridgeshire. They are passionate about inspiring the next generation of musicians and hope to further develop education projects in the future across the UK.
Chris Parsons is a conductor, trumpeter and teacher based in the UK. He read Music at the University of York before completing a masters degree in Historical Performance Practice at the Royal College of Music in 2014.
During his time at both institutions, Chris was fortunate to participate in many exciting and varied projects in multiple ensembles. His time at York culminated in being awarded the University of York Concerto Competition prize for which he performed Telemann’s Trumpet Concerto with the University Baroque Ensemble. At the RCM he appeared as a soloist with the Baroque Ensemble performing Corelli’s Trumpet Sonata. Chris also played Principal Trumpet in a series of Bach Cantatas (BWV 119, 51, 110).
As a Trumpeter, he has performed all across the UK and Europe both as a soloist and as an orchestral player including with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, International Baroque Players and Yorkshire Baroque Soloists. As a modern trumpet player, he has appeared with the Brandenburg Sinfonia and Ukrainian National Opera (UK Tour). Chris has performed in prestigious venues such as St John’s Smith Square, London and the Palace of Versailles. He performed as part of the BBC Proms conducted by Sir Roger Norrington live on BBC Radio 3 in a concert of French Baroque music. Recent solo recitals include trips to Germany and Denmark to perform Naji Hakim’s Sonata for Trumpet and Organ with the organist Alex Berry.
Chris works as a community musician conducting the Thetford Singers, a non-auditioned choir of around 50 voices. They sing a wide range of music and future performances include Mozart’s Coronation Mass with orchestra and Zimbe! In May 2015 and July 2016 he prepared them for performances with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment of Handel’s Coronation Anthems as part of the Watercycle education project and an abridged concert performance of Purcell’s King Arthur.