Elizabeth Kenny is one of Europe’s leading lute players. Her playing has been described as “incandescent” (Music and Vision), “radical” (The Independent on Sunday) and “indecently beautiful” (Toronto Post). In twenty years of touring she has played with many of the world’s best period instrument groups and experienced many different approaches to music making. She played with Les Arts Florissants 1992-2007 and with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment 1997-2015 and still returns to initiate seventeenth century projects such as The Hypochondriack and A Restoration Tempest.
Her research interests have led to critically acclaimed recordings of Lawes, Purcell and Dowland, and to the formation of her ensemble Theatre of the Ayre . (see below) As well as regular collaborations with singers such as Robin Blaze, Ian Bostridge and Nicholas Mulroy in recital, she has a great fondness for the viol consort repertory and has recorded William Lawes’ Royal Consort with Phantasm, as well Dowland’s Lachrime ( 2016). Elizabeth also appears alongside Ian Bostridge on Warner Classic’s Shakespeare Songs, which won a 2017 Grammy Award for ‘Best Classical Solo Vocal Album’.
As a soloist she is committed to a diverse range of repertoire, from the ML Lutebook (a much-praised CD released on Hyperion records)to new music for lute and theorbo: she has premiered works by James MacMillan, Heiner Goebbels and Benjamin Oliver, and these will be recorded alongside seventeenth century solo music for theorbo in October 2018 for Linn records. With Theatre of the Ayre she judged the National Centre for Early Music’s Composers’ Award in 2016.
Liz Kenny is Director of Performance at the University of Oxford, and professor of Lute at the Royal Academy of Music. she was Professor of Musical Performance and Head of Early Music at Southampton University 2009-18. She was an artistic advisor to the York Early Music Festival from 2011 to 2014.