National Centre for Early Music

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Ailsa Batters, Director

Ian Hoggart, ex-Director
Ailsa Batters, Director studied music at the Univeristy of Glasgow graduating with a first class honours degree in 2003.  She continued her studies at the University of York and gained an MA in performance with distinction in 2005. As a recorder player, Ailsa enjoyed a busy peforming career with ensembles such as Yorkshire Baroque Soloists, Opera North and the Nothern Sinfonia alongside teaching at the Universities of Huddersfield and York.  Most recently, Ailsa has been working as a primary school teacher and, holding the position of music co-ordinator, she directed choirs, recorder ensembles and co-ordinated trips for young people to perform in the Young Voices concerts in Sheffield Motorpoint Arena.  Ailsa previously directed the Minster Minstrels until 2010 and is delighted to have returned to the role in September 2015.

Ian Hoggart was involved in supporting and directing the Minster Minstrels during his time as a student at the University of York (2009-2016). In 2016, Ian completed his PhD, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under the supervision of Professor Peter Seymour, and moved to London to pursue a teaching and performing career. Ian has said: "Being Director of the Minster Minstrels has been an incredible experience and one I will hugely cherish. It has taught me so much, including the development of my teaching skills, organisational abilities and concert programming. The most important thing I will take from my time as Director is just how enjoyable and rewarding it can be for enthusiastic and committed young musicians to make music together. The uniqueness of the group also makes it very interesting to teach. The Minster Minstrels is a multi-instrument ensemble that covers a wide range of ages, ensemble sizes and repertoire. It therefore offers the opportunity to play in a large group, but can also be split into smaller 'chamber' ensembles more tailored to specific ages and abilities. Over the years it has been particularly exciting for me to watch the younger Minstrels develop into the advanced players of the group and take more leading and senior roles."