Elizabeth Kenny is represented by Rayfield Allied worldwide.

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Elizabeth Kenny

Lute

  • A bronze Liz Kenny should be on the empty plinth in Trafalgar square, in my opinion.
    Early Music Review
  • Kenny is an exquisite musician.
    The Guardian
  • …a lovely solo for theorbo…played exquisitely by Elizabeth Kenny.
    The Observer
  • Elizabeth Kenny is one of Europe’s leading lute players. Her playing has been described as “incandescent” (Music and Vision), “radical” (The Independent) 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 has an extensive discography of collaborations with ensembles across Europe and the USA, and her own repertoire interests have led to critically acclaimed recordings of solo music from the ML Lute Book, and songs by Lawes, Purcell and Dowland.

    In 2011 Elizabeth was one of three shortlisted nominees for the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards in the Best Instrumentalist category.  In 2007 she founded her group Theatre of the Ayre, its focus on seventeenth century vocal music with an improvisational character. The group’s recent CD release, The Masque of Moments - their debut recording for Linn - won a Grammy Award. Elizabeth also devised and directed Le Malade Imaginaire and A Restoration Tempest for the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.  She was one of the artistic advisory team for the York Early Music Festival from 2011-14.  She returned to York in 2016 as a judge for the National Centre for Early Music’s Young Composers’ Award, as part of a growing commitment to enlarging the repertoire for the lute with new work. 

    She has given premiere performances of solo and chamber pieces by James MacMillan, Benjamin Oliver, Heiner Goebbels and Rachel Stott. 

    Elizabeth taught for two years at the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin, is professor of Lute at the Royal Academy of Music, and a Reader in Performance at Southampton University. She guest-edited a Dowland-themed issue of Early Music to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the composer’s birth in 2013, and is the author of occasional articles on seventeenth century performance.

    • Selected Reviews
      Various

      Elizabeth Kenny’s dexterous handling of harmonics and glissandi made the theorbo variously chime and roar.
      Bachtrack
      The true engine-room of City Musick’s sextet is the lutenist Elizabeth Kenny, whose fingerwork enlivens everything she touches.
      The Yorkshire Post
      A bronze Liz Kenny should be on the empty plinth in Trafalgar square, in my opinion.
      Early Music Review
      …a lovely solo for theorbo…played exquisitely by Elizabeth Kenny.
      The Observer
      The brilliant Kenny…played with remarkable clarity.
      Early Music Today
      Exzellent die Continuobegleitung von Elizabeth Kenny … [und] perfekt Solostücken.
      Die Presse
    • The Masque of Moments, Theatre of the Ayre
      Linn CKD 542 (February 2017)

      There are exquisite sounds from Kenny’s plucked-instrument ensemble, and beautiful numbers from masques by Henry and William Lawes, Coprario, Locke and others, with nicely refined singing.
      Nicholas Kenyon, The Observer
    • Shakespeare Songs with Ian Bostridge
      Wigmore Hall, London (November 2016)

      The lutenist Elizabeth Kenny offered superb accompaniment in the early material.
      Neil Fisher, The Times
      Nothing is more evocatively Shakespearean than a lute and Elizabeth Kenny’s played with melting beauty William Byrd’s Caleno Custure me and Thomas Morley It was a lover and his lass.
      Louise Flind, bachtrack
    • Duo Recital with Robin Blaze
      Totnes Early Music Society, Dartington Hall (June 2015)

      Elizabeth Kenny matched Blaze to sheer perfection, accompanying with the greatest empathy, as well as balancing total technical control with such poignant expression in her lute and theorbo solos. The ornamentations always flowed seamlessly, never excessive or in any way intrusive, yet always sufficiently varied to maintain interest from start to finish.
      Philip R Buttall, Seen and Heard International
    • A Restoration Tempest, devised/directed for the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
      Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London (January 2015)

      A forgotten corner of musical history has been brilliantly re-animated by the lutenist Elizabeth Kenny plus a group of her colleagues from the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment…The candle-lit Wanamaker Playhouse seems to confer magic on everything staged there, and so it was when Kenny and four other string players launched into Matthew Locke’s elegant introductory suite. Two actors (Molly Logan and Dickon Tyrrell) brought comic zest to the incarnation of Prospero, Ariel, Caliban, Miranda, et al; singers interwove a tissue of masques and dances with songs of the period, soprano Katherine Watson and tenor Samuel Boden being outstanding.
      Michael Church, The Independent
      With just two violins, a viola, a cello, a gamba, a hurdy-gurdy, a theorbo and what appeared to be a tennis ball in a tin (for thunder), lutenist Elizabeth Kenny and director Caroline Williams conjured up an intimate reduction of The Tempest in which Locke’s music was the focus... A mongrel entertainment, but one of great charm, played stylishly by the soloists of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
      The Times
      Although this was a restoration piece, the whole evening had a vigour and life that made it seem as if we were watching a much more modern production. The depiction of the story through words, music and song was a delightful concoction which flowed with ease from piece to piece and was a feast for all the senses.
      Emily Owen, Bachtrack
    • Duo Recital with Iestyn Davies
      Spitalfields Festival, London (December 2014)

      The songs poured forth with perfect ease and naturalness, with no sense of strain either on the performers’ part or ours. Two hours of counter-tenor and lute might seem too much of a good thing, but Iestyn Davies and Kenny programmed the evening shrewdly to provide maximum variety…both performers showed a gift for spinning subtle variations in the melody, without interfering with its ease and flow…the whole thing was a joy, perfectly judged and yet apparently totally spontaneous.
      Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph
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