On the Beat: directing from the Continuo
Lawrence-King, Andrew. "On the Beat: directing from the Continuo". Sounding Board: The British Harpsichord Society, 2016.
Born in Guernsey, now based in Tallinn, Estonia – award-winning Baroque opera, orchestral & ensemble director; imaginative continuo-player; Early Harp virtuoso; specialist in baroque gesture & Historical Action; investigator of Flow; opera composer; Andrew Lawrence-King is the doyen of historical harping, one of the world’s leading performers of Early Music, and an internationally renowned scholar. His pioneering recordings of Trabaci, Ribayaz, Handel and Carolan re-established the lost worlds of Italian, Spanish, Anglo-Welsh & Irish baroque harps; as co-director of Tragicomedia and director of The Harp Consort, he led a revolution in historically informed improvisation & continuo-playing; his research into Tactus has redefined our understanding of baroque rhythm; as guest director and teacher, he inspires musicians around the world to reach new levels of technical precision and stylish historicity with fun, energy and passion.
Andrew has directed at La Scala, Milan & Sydney Opera House and won Russia's highest theatrical award, the Golden Mask (2012) for Cavalieri’s Anima & Corpo. His direction of Handel’s Orlando (2019) won the Russian Eugene Onegin Award and was nominated for another Golden Mask. He won the American Handel Society prize for his recording of Handel’s Almira; the German Echo prize as director and concerto soloist on organ, harpsichord and harp; the Dutch Edison award for medieval conductus. He recorded and directed both staging & music for productions of Torrejon’s Púrpura, the first New World opera, and Ludus Danielis, the earliest surviving music-drama, in King’s College Chapel, Cambridge and York Minister.
Following on from a series of medieval duo albums with Paul Hillier, their post-modern Bitter Ballads was Elvis Costello’s CD of the year in Rolling Stone magazine. During his long collaboration with Jordi Savall, he has won a Grammy (best ensemble 2011), the Spanish Premio de la Música in duet (2010) & trio (2011), and Australia’s Helpmann Award in duet (2013) & ensemble (2018). His recording of Earthly Angels with soprano Kajsa Dahlbäck was YLE, the Finnish broadcasting company’s CD of the year (2018). Andrew’s latest recording traces the roots of favourite Christmas carols from the Finnish Piae Cantiones (1582) with the Helsinki Utopia Choir, released on Jordi Savall’s AliaVox Diversa label (2019).
2017 saw the premieres of Andrew Lawrence-King’s first two operatic compositions: Kalevala: the Opera, setting the Finnish national epic to ancient traditional melodies; and Arianna a la recherche, a remake of Monteverdi’s lost 1608 masterpiece from Rinucini’s libretto and the surviving musical fragment, the famous Lamento. His third opera will be premiered this season: Il Teatro alla modasets Marcello's hilarious (1720) satire on Vivaldi, with a backstage view of a baroque theatre, complete with Virtuoso, Primadonna, Impresario, Composer and Bear. Following Marcello's advice, all the music is stolen! Inspired by Peter & the Wolf and the Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Andrew's next composition project, The Play of Music & Time: an Explorer’s Guide to Early Opera, will be composed during his residency at the Arvo Pärt Centre.A satirical opera about Handel and Swift in 18th-century Dublin, Carolan's Travels, and the World Passion oratorio are also forthcoming.
From 2010-2015, Dr Lawrence-King was Senior Visiting Research Fellow for the Australian Centre for the History of Emotions. He is Professor of Early Harp and Continuo at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London and Director of OPERA OMNIA, Academy for Early Opera & Dance, Institute at Moscow State Theatre Natalya Sats. He is currently working on an English translation of Il Corago, the anonymous c1630 guide for baroque opera directors. The online Academy of Basso Continuo goes live soon.
Andrew Lawrence-King directs The Harp Consort, combining state-of-the art early music performance with stylish improvisation & entertaining stage presentation; Il Corago, the production team for historical staging of early opera; the International Baroque Opera Studio and OPERA OMNIA Moscow. He has directed historical staging and music for productions of Anima & Corpo, Orfeo, Arianna, La Morte d’Orfeo, Sant’ Alessio, Dido & Aeneas, King Arthur etc.
Andrew's hobbies include marathon running, cross-country skiing, sailing, kayaking, fencing (modern epée & historical rapier) and Tai Chi Chuan. He is an Ocean Yachtmaster and a qualified hypnotist.