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Posts tagged ‘workshops’

Recording sessions offer at the NCEM York

As part of my work with the National Centre for Early Music in York we are opening the doors and encourage more people to come in to use the lovely, inspiring, bright, airy space.

One of the uses of the venue that suits really well – with its lovely acoustics, sound proofing and studio facilities is recording sessions (either studio style or with a small live audience.)

From Jan to March 2013 NCEM is offering a 30% its day rate (info below.)

Having used the space myself for recording projects i’d happily chat through the potential in the space but it is certainly well worth a look!


From the NCEM promo:

As we sink into the winter months The National Centre for Early Music has a warming offer on recording sessions at our beautiful St. Margaret’s Church in York: 30% off the standard hire day rate on any booking taking place until 31st of March 2013.

Together with the stunning natural acoustics of this inspiring space, few other medieval churches could offer such a warm welcome at this time of year. Renovated to an exceptional standard in 2000, the space boasts triple glazing, silent under floor heating, dedicated artists facilities, soundproofing and acoustic treatment to tailor your sound.

As a concert venue for 180 people the space suits more intimate ensembles perfectly. Either for live recordings or for studio sessions the space adapts well and allows you to shut out the world and focus on creating beautiful work.

With a range of well maintained early music keyboard instruments – see for details; there is little to complicate your time or arrangements. We are able to offer a range of support services too from session engineers to catering and accommodation.

The venue is well used by a wide variety of early music specialists (as well as jazz, folk and contemporary musicians) and recordings this past year include John Potter and Christopher O’Gorman (Hyperion) and Profeti della Quinta – winners of the 2011 York Early Music International Young Artists Competition (Linn).

BBC Radio 3 use the NCEM to broadcast live their annual Early Music Show from York and artists recorded by BBC Radio 3 for broadcast in 2012 include countertenor Iestyn Davies, Phantasm, Gallicantus with lutenist Elizabeth Kenny with artists for 2013 already booked to include Paul O’Dette, Ensemble Medusa with Patrizia Bovi and Fabio Bonizonni.

The BBC Music Magazine’s review of John Potter & Christopher O’Gormans ‘Conductus – Music and Poetry from Thirteenth Century France’ Recording (autumn 2012) gives great testament to the value of the church here at the NCEM:

‘Conductus proves that ascetic simplicity can be as deeply moving and aesthetically breath-taking as the most complex, heart-on-sleeve music … It’s hardly necessary to mention that the performances are superb, their precise diction well-served by Jeremy Summerly’s production and Julian Millard’s engineering. The sound is intimate yet resonant, closely-focused and detailed yet with an ambience vividly suggesting spaciousness’ (BBC Music Magazine)

 If you’d like to take advantage of our 30% discount on our daily hire rate (reducing the venue fees to £280 +VAT!) do please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you. Contact: or 01904 632220.


York Mystery Cycle Workshops


This course is aimed at all those who would like to learn a little more about the long and rich history of the York Mystery Plays and about the society within which the plays were originally conceived and performed. The series of four evening sessions, based loosely around a lecture / seminar / performance format, will explore various aspects of the history of the York Mystery Plays. Each week we will explore a different aspect of the plays’ history and context.

The topics explored will range from the nature of medieval society, how the plays may have been written by their (anonymous) playwrights and how the performers set about producing these remarkable plays.

The sessions will be stand alone and pitched at the level of the interested amateur rather than the professional scholar, but will seek to open up avenues of further thought or investigation for anyone who wishes to pursue the topics explored in greater detail.

Tickets are £10 for one session or £40 for the whole course. Bookings at York Theatre Royal on 01904 623568 or on


The Course Programme:

Over the four weeks of the course, we shall explore the history and character of the York cycle of mystery plays, using a combination of illustrated lectures supported by readings from contemporary documents and from the drama itself. Each week will be led by members of Ars Ludendi, York’s premier educational performance group. The sessions will be chaired by Dr Mike Tyler and Paul Toy, with significant input from the other members of Ars Ludendi – Dr Rob Wright, Dr Joanna Huntington, Gillian Tyler, and Lesley Wilkinson..

Week 1 – Wednesday 7th March 7pm at De Grey Rooms, York
When? The historical context

This week we shall explore the traces that have been left in the historical records, and consider what these tell us about the importance of the plays to their original medieval audience. We shall also look at the problems that their style of performance created for the performers and for the city as a whole. We shall conclude the session by looking at how, after a gap of 300 years, the plays came to life once more as part of the 1951 Festival of Britain.

Week 2 – 14th March 7pm at De Grey Rooms, York
Whence? So how were they written?

This week will focus on the construction of the cycle, and examine what may have inspired the playwrights in their choice of episodes and their dramatic and didactic content. Focussing in detail on the plays which make up the passion sequence, it is possible to shed light on the ways in which the playwrights drew on contemporary texts in very specific ways in order to present their interpretations.

Week 3 – 21st March 7pm at De Grey Rooms, York
Why? The religious landscape of medieval York.

In this session we shall consider the ways in which religious belief and practice permeated the everyday lives of the medieval citizenry of York. This week’s key themes include the nature and implications of the multiplicity of religious orders and houses active in the city in the fifteenth century.

Week 4 – 28th March 7pm at De Grey Rooms, York
How? Performance of the cycle.

Anyone who has experienced the cycle as an audience member cannot fail to be struck by the combined impact of various elements of performance – the sum is invariably even greater than its parts! This was no less true for a medieval audience than it is for us today. In this final week we shall consider various practical aspects of the plays in context, focussing especially on performance technique, logistics and music