Benjamin Bayl – organ & harpsichord
Since September 2006 Benjamin Bayl has been Assistant Conductor of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, working alongside Music Director Iván Fischer. He is also currently the Assistant Artistic Director of The Gabrieli Consort, collaborating with Paul McCreesh.
Born in Sydney in 1978, Ben studied at King’s College Cambridge, where he was Organ Scholar for the Choir. After studies at the Guildhall School of Music, Schola Cantorum Basel and the National Opera Studio, he went to the Royal Academy of Music as a conductor (Sir Charles MacKerras Scholarship).
Recent conducting engagements included Il mondo della luna (Iford Opera); Little Magic Flute (Opera North), appearances with The Gabrieli Consort at Spitalfields; concerts with Orchestra of the City (as Music Director), New London Orchestra, Guildford Philharmonic, EUBO, Belsize Baroque and London Chorus. He regularly conducts the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Gabrieli Consort in rehearsal.
He has worked as assistant-conductor and continuo with Harry Bicket (Ariodante, Barcelona), Christian Curnyn (Saul, Opera North), Harry Christophers (Dido and Aeneas, Barcelona; Semele, Ascanio, Hercules, Buxton), John Rutter (Messiah, RPO), Masaaki Suzuki (B minor Mass, Aldeburgh Festival), Laurence Cummings (King Arthur, Aldeburgh), Gary Cooper (Orlando, Sadler’s Wells), Richard Hickox (Giulio Cesare, Sydney) and Paul McCreesh (Creation, Madrid).
As a continuo player Ben performs with The Gabrieli Consort, The King’s Consort, The Sixteen, Ex Cathedra, Monteverdi Choir, His Majesties Sagbutts & Cornetts, Northern Sinfonia, BBC Singers, Polyphony, RPO, LSO and CBSO. Ben has also worked at English National Opera and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, joining the music staff in a wide variety of repertoire.
Future conducting engagements include Orlando (Opera Australia, Melbourne), a concert of Handel cantatas with Gabrieli Consort in Rome, and concerts with the Australian Youth Orchestra for World Youth Day 2008, in the presence of the Pope. As assistant conductor, he will collaborate with McCreesh (Tamerlano, Madrid), Pinnock (Orlando, Sydney), Hickox (Così fan tutte, Sydney), Bicket (L’incoronazione di Poppea, Barcelona), Maazel (1984, Palau les Arts, Valencia) and Attilio Cremonesi (Juditha Triumphans, Sydney).
George Crawford – violin
George was born in Hackney, London in 1979. He became interested in a wide range of musical pursuits from an early age – it was not uncommon to find him conducting, singing and playing violin, viola and percussion in a single concert at school!
He continued his education as a student on the Joint Course between the University of Manchester and the Royal Northern College of Music. Here, as well as studying violin and viola, George had a number of professional conducting engagements, and played drums in the University big band.
In 2002 George became a member of the European Union Baroque Orchestra with whom he toured extensively through Europe and Japan, including 10 performances as soloist in Bach’s double violin concerto. Performance on period instruments now makes up most of his professional activities, in orchestras and smaller ensembles in the UK and across Europe.
In the course of just a few years, George has worked with many of the foremost period instrument ensembles. These include the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Academy of Ancient Music, the King’s Consort, the Hanover Band, the Gabrieli Consort, the Early Opera Company, Independent Opera, Ensemble Sonnerie, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, B’Rock (Belgium) and the Holland Baroque Society.
2005 saw the first performances of George’s own ensemble, Battuta, as part of the Hackney Proms seasons at the Hackney Empire. The concerts, designed with a strong bias toward the local community, inclusion and equal opportunities, were a great success, with some fantastic feedback from the audiences. All he needs now is lots of money to put on some more!
Camilla Scarlett – violin
Camilla Scarlett was born in London in 1983. She read music at Magdalen College, Oxford, before being awarded the Rowsby Woof Scholarship and an AHRC grant to study violin with Howard Davis at the Royal Academy of Music. She gained her Postgraduate Diploma on violin with Distinction in June 2006 and was given the San Martino Scholarship by the RAM to continue her studies on baroque violin with Rachel Podger.
Camilla has performed under the direction of artists including Simon Standage, Margaret Faultless, Pavlo Beznosiuk, William Christie, Trevor Pinnock and Sir John Eliot Gardiner. She has appeared at the London Handel Festival, the Aldeburgh Festival, and for the BBC Bach project. Camilla was concertmaster for the UK’s first fully staged production of Rameau’s ‘Dardanus’ with RAM Opera, directed by Laurence Cummings. She has performed in the Gabrieli Consort and Players Barbican performance and Deutsche Gramophon recording of Haydn’s ‘Creation’, as well as Independent Opera’s production of Handel’s ‘Orlando’ under Gary Cooper.
She is currently a member of the European Union Baroque Orchestra and has recently received a Bache Fund Award on completion of her studies at the RAM.
Alexandria Lawrence – viola
Alexandria studied at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music in Ohio, USA, before coming to England for postgraduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, where she studied baroque viola with Katherine McGillivray. As a freelance musician she has played with a number of period-instrument ensembles, including the Gabrieli Players, King’s Consort, Classical Opera Company, English Touring Opera, Saraband Consort, Harmony of Nations, Dunedin Consort and La Serenissima.
Although French baroque music certainly lies at the centre of her musical interests, Alexandria has cultivated a passion for jazz and swing dancing over the past six years and tries to make ‘swing outs’ a regular part of her musical diet! The viola d’amore is a more recent addiction…
Malgosia Ziemkiewicz Artabe – viola
After attending Arriaga Conservatorio, Bilbao, Malgosia completed her studies in modern viola with Professor Marek Marczyk, at the Chopin Academy in Warsaw where she won a full scholarship for the five years of study. The last three years in Warsaw led to an increasing interest in early music under the direction of Agatha Sapiecha.
Inspired by a course with Simon Standage in Wilanow, Poland, Malgosia came to the Royal Academy, London, to study for a two year postgraduate diploma in baroque viola with Katherine McGillivray, later taking lessons with Jane Rogers and Pedro Gandia. During this period she performed with Laurence Cummings, Trevor Pinnock, Catherine Mackintosh, Jonathan Manson and Maggie Faultless.
She now plays violin and viola with various orchestras and chamber groups including English Baroque Soloists, MCO and La Serenissima. Malgosia also organizes concerts in the UK and Europe. She was first viola with the European Union Baroque Orchestra for the last two seasons. Projects included programs conducted by Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Cristopher Coin, Jaap ter Linden, Rachel Podger and Edward Higginbottom.
Natasha Kraemer – ‘cello
In 2005 Natasha successfully completed two years of post-graduate studies in the Early Music Department at The Royal Academy of Music, where she studied the Baroque cello with Jenny Ward Clarke.
As an Academy student her ensemble won the annual Friends of RAM Early Music Prize two years in succession (2004/2005).
Natasha now performs as a freelance cellist with many orchestras and chamber groups working in the UK and travelling abroad. These include The Gabrieli Players, English Concert, The Sixteen, Hanover Band, English Baroque Soloists and Classical Opera Company. She is also principal cellist with The Sweelinck Ensemble and Saraband Consort.
She recorded Haydn’s The Creation with The Gabrieli Players last year and has just recorded some Handel Arias with countertenor Rolando Villazon with the same group, both for Deutsche Grammophon.
Carina Cosgrave – bass
Carina Cosgrave was born in London in 1983 and began playing the bass aged 11. She studied both double bass and baroque bass at the Royal College of Music with Peter Buckoke completing her Postgraduate Diploma in July 2006 supported by a Douglas & Hilda Simmons Study Award.
Carina has worked with a number of orchestra and ensembles all over the UK including Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment as part of the Young Musicians Experience Scheme, Yorkshire Baroque Soloists, Sinfonia Brittanica, Sweelinck Ensemble, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and New London Orchestra. She has performed on broadcasts for BBC Radios 3 & 4 and recordings for the Naxos and EMI Uk labels.
Jørgen Skogmo – theorbo
Jørgen Skogmo was born in Norway in 1982 and began studying guitar when seven years old. Having first studied in Norway with Jarl Strømdal, he studied guitar with Robert Brightmore and theorbo and chamber music with David Miller at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.
Jørgen is beginning to perform extensively, and to date he has given performances in such prestigious venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, Royal Opera House and, as part of a ‘Composer Portrait’ Prom broadcast on BBC Radio 3, the Royal Albert Hall. Jørgen has performed with ensembles such as the London Handel Orchestra, English Touring Opera, English National Opera, Canzona, Armonico Consort, Ex Cathedra, Charivari Agreable, and during the 2006 Spitalfields Festival with I Fagiolini.
He has recorded for René Gruss Records with violinist David Frühwirth and as mandolinist he was invited to record with the Philharmonia Orchestra for EMI Records.