Historical Performance

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Guildhall theorbo player rehearsing in a church

Historical Performance at Guildhall


Under the supervision of Head of Historical Performance, Christopher Suckling, the Department provides opportunities for students to critically engage with and challenge current performance practices before entering an evolving profession.

Through a combination of ensemble and project-based learning, supported by individual tuition from some of the country's leading performers, studies centred around rhetorical delivery and historical stagecraft provide an introduction to a different ethos to performing music, giving you the experience necessary to continue your development as you embark on a varied career.

Recurring projects include Baroque Opera Scenes, the Baroque Orchestra (including a side-by-side project with the Academy of Ancient Music), the Cantata Project, and the Guildhall Consort. These projects are mutually supportive; instrumentalists, for example, might first encounter the seventeenth century by playing in consort with singers whilst vocalists develop stylistically through performing with experienced continuo players. These projects can be supported through a Research Elective which gives students the opportunity to develop their own practice-as-research projects.


Our relationship with the Academy of Ancient Music offers students masterclasses with principal players and side-by-side ensemble workshops and performances. The partnership also allows access to major artists working with the AAM, to AAM open rehearsals and to networking opportunities.

The Guildhall Consort is directed by Eamonn Dougan, Assistant Conductor of The Sixteen, and offers excellent opportunities for refining vocal ensemble techniques. For continuo players, working with Eamonn and his colleagues offers an intensive experience in coaching and directing. The Consort has also formed the chorus for performances in the Barbican Hall with visiting ensembles such as the Venice Baroque Orchestra and the English Concert.

Guildhall musician playing a sackbut

Performance & Collaboration

Studying music at an internationally-renowned conservatoire means you can become immersed in a world of performance from day one.

Study Pathways

Applications & Contact


Keyboard and plucked continuo instruments should apply as Historical Performance Keyboards, Historical Performance Guitar/Theorbo/Lute, or Historical Performance Harp.

Audition requirements for keyboard and continuo instruments can be found on our auditions page.

Vocal Studies applicants with an interest in Historical Performance should apply apply via the Vocal or Opera principal study department. Applicants should also email music_applications@gsmd.ac.uk to register their interest in Historical Performance.

Orchestral Instruments should apply via their principal study department (Wind, Brass & Percussion or Strings) then select the relevant Historical Performance electives during their course.

For further information and to discuss whether Guildhall's approach to historical performance is suited to your developing career, please contact the Head of Department, Christopher Suckling.

For more information regarding Historical Performance department or auditions please contact HP@gsmd.ac.uk.

Historical Performance contact details

Michal Rogalski, Historical Performance Department Manager
Tel: 020 7382 7259

Highlights, Successes & Alumni

Harpsichord player and historical performance students peform in Milton Court Concert Hall