National Centre for Early Music

[Skip navigation]
Navigation Menu

NCEM Announces Partnership with University of Southampton

07 September 2010

The National Centre for Early Music (NCEM) has created a formal partnership with the University of Southampton Music Department, home to one of the UK's leading centres for early music performance research.

This important partnership builds on the recent appointment of the University of Southampton's Head of Early Music, Elizabeth Kenny, as one of the Artistic Advisors to the NCEM's York Early Music Festival earlier this year. 

Over the coming months the NCEM and the University of Southampton will work on a semi-staged production of 17th century composer Henry Purcell's King Arthur for the 2011 York Early Music Festival. This production follows hot on the heels of the highly successful collaboration between the two organisations in Theatre of the Ayre's Venus and Adonis by John Blow, directed by Elizabeth Kenny, which was performed at the Wigmore Hall (where it was recorded for release on the Wigmore Live label), the Turner Sims, Southampton in May 2010 and at the York Early Music Festival in July 2010. The final performance of Venus and Adonis will take place in January 2011 at Oxford's Sheldonian Theatre. 

Dr Andrew Pinnock, University of Southampton Head of Music, said of the partnership: "Southampton and York have a surprising amount in common - both are ancient walled cities, steeped in musical tradition and both are home to universities with outstanding records for early music research and performance. We're thrilled to be working with NCEM on a series of co-productions.  Next year's King Arthur aims to clarify the allegorical design to which Charles II gave royal approval shortly before he died, allowing the audience to decode propaganda messages deliberately scrambled when the opera was first produced (1691).  Knowing what it means should make it much more enjoyable."

Delma Tomlin, Director of the National Centre for Early Music is delighted to have stronger links with the University of Southampton. She added: "We're looking forward to working closely with the University of Southampton, not only on our forthcoming production of King Arthur for next year's festival in which we will also both partner the Purcell Society, but also in exploring ways in which we can unite our resources across programming, tours and importantly our educational tools and outreach project, which will begin with an education resource for King Arthur for primary school children." 

The National Centre for Early Music is administered by the York Early Music Foundation and funded by Arts Council England, Yorkshire. 


Press Contact:

Shona Galletly, on behalf of National Centre for Early Music


t:   0113 255 1308

m: 07813 796 733


Notes to editors:

 1. The National Centre for Early Music which is based at St Margaret's Church, York, was opened in 2000 thanks to a grant of £1.5million from the Arts Council Lottery Fund. The NCEM administers York Early Music Festival, which was established in 1977, and has grown to be the largest celebration of early music in the UK. The 2011 Festival runs from 8 to 16 July. 

2. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for research and scholarship across a wide range of subjects in engineering, science, social sciences, health, arts and humanities.   

With over 22,000 students, around 5,000 staff, and an annual turnover of almost £400 million, the University of Southampton is one of the country's top institutions for engineering, computer science and medicine. We combine academic excellence with an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to research, supporting a culture that engages and challenges students and staff in their pursuit of learning. 

The University is also home to a number of world-leading research centres, including the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, the Optoelectronics Research Centre, the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, and the Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute