Professor George Pratt
MA, BMus(Oxon), ARCO, HonRCM, HonFTCL, FISM
Emeritus Professor George Pratt was in music education for over 35 years – briefly at Abingdon School, then at Keele and Huddersfield Universities.
While living in Staffordshire, he was Chair of West Midlands Arts, and a member of Arts Council England’s Regional and Music committees. He chaired ACE’s investigation into ‘Afro-Caribbean and South-Asian music in the UK’ and, later, the Committee of the UK Early Music Network. A most exciting challenge was as a Member of the National Curriculum Music Working Group, distilling the wisdom of teachers from throughout the western world into the 1992 Curriculum for all State Educated children in England and Wales.
He was a member of the Higher Education Funding Council’s ‘Music Research Assessment Panel’ and of its ‘Teaching Assessment Panel’ moderating the teaching of many UK University Music Departments and Conservatoires. He was appointed President of the Incorporated Society of Musicians in 1997. He has been a frequent contributor to BBC Radio’s 3’s ‘Saturday Review’ and ‘Music Restor’d’, and for seven years co-presented ‘Spirit of the Age’, Radio 3’s weekly early music programme. All these activities have provided invaluable opportunities to meet and engage with performers and scholars who now, in their turn, make their contributions to ‘Music in the Castle’.
He retired from Huddersfield in 1999, and now divides his time between reviewing recordings (for BBC Music Magazine), broadcasting, lecturing on cruise ships throughout the world, playing harpsichord and organ and taking artistic responsibility for ‘Music in the Castle’ as Powderham Castle’s ‘Honorary Kapellmeister’
Charles Courtenay Earl of Devon
Charlie Courtenay became the 19th Earl of Devon in 2015 upon the death of his father, the late Hugh Courtenay. He is both a practising Barrister and a California attorney.
He read theology and history of art at St John’s College, Cambridge and worked for some time in the art world before turning to law. In 2004 Charlie moved to California and practised as a litigator at the Los Angeles office of Latham & Watkins, where he specialised in intellectual property litigation and cross border disputes.
In January 2014, he and his young family returned to England and moved his practice to Latham & Watkin’s London office. Returning to England allowed Charlie, his wife AJ and their children Jocelyn & Jack to enjoy greater proximity to Powderham Castle and to support such wonderful endeavours as ‘Music in the Castle’.
In 2015, the family moved from London and made Powderham Castle their home and Charlie assumed management of the Castle and Estate.
Charlie is excited to see Powderham’s precious rooms provide a venue for such fresh and virtuoso talent.
Dame Emma Kirkby
Originally, Emma Kirkby had no expectations of becoming a professional singer. As a classics student at Oxford, then a schoolteacher, she sang for pleasure in choirs and small groups, always feeling most at home in Renaissance and Baroque repertoire. She joined the Taverner Choir in 1971 and in 1973 began her long association with the Consort of Musicke. Emma took part in the early Decca Florilegium recordings with both the Consort of Musicke and the Academy of Ancient Music. Emma has built long-term relationships with chamber groups and orchestras, in particular London Baroque, the Freiburger Barockorchester, L’Orfeo(of Linz) and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and now with some of the younger groups such as the Palladian Ensemble and Florilegium.
To date she has made well over a hundred recordings of all kinds, 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. More recent recordings include Classical Kirkby, devised and performed with Anthony Rooley; Cantatas by Cataldo Amodei; with Fretwork, consort songs by William Byrd; Scarlatti Stabat Mater with Daniel Taylor; Honey from the Hive, songs of John Dowland, with Anthony Rooley; Musique and Sweet Poetrie; and lute songs from Europe with Jakob Lindberg.
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.
Despite all the recording activity, Emma still prefers live concerts, especially the pleasure of performing favourite programmes with colleagues; every occasion, every venue and every audience will combine to create something new from this wonderful repertoire. She is generously committed to sharing her skills and knowledge through teaching, and has warmly commended the mix of concerts at Powderham between established performers and our New Generation Artists from Conservatoires and Specialist Music Schools.
Sir Roger Norrington
Sir Roger has had a distinguished career as a world-renowned conductor, in the UK as Music director of Kent Opera, founder of the London Classical Players, Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, and Emeritus Conductor of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He conducted the First Night of the Proms in 2006 and the Last Night of The Proms on 13 September 2008. Abroad, he has been principal conductor of Camerata Salzburg, the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, and is currently Principal Conductor of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Chief Guest Conductor of the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.
These eminent appointments betray his keen interest in historically informed performance of earlier music. But he has led the way in approaching later composers from Beethoven, through Berlioz, Brahms, to Bruckner, Mahler and others, in the same spirit of enquiry about how their music should really sound, on 19th century instruments played with 19th century techniques.
Judith Weir (b 1954 to Scottish parents in Cambridge, England) studied composition with John Tavener, Robin Holloway and Gunther Schuller. On leaving Cambridge University in 1976 she taught in England and Scotland, and in the mid-1990s became Associate Composer with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and Artistic Director of Spitalfields Festival. She was a Visiting Professor at Princeton (2001) Harvard (2004) and Cardiff (2006-13) and in 2014 was appointed Master of the Queen’s Music. In 2015 she became Associate Composer to the BBC Singers.
She is the composer of several operas (written for Kent Opera, Scottish Opera, ENO and Bregenz) which have been widely performed. She has written orchestral music for the BBC Symphony, Boston Symphony and Minnesota Orchestras. Much of her music has been recorded, and is available on the NMC, Delphian and Signum labels. She blogs about her cultural experiences at www.judithweir.com.