THE SPINACINO CONSORT
Edinburgh based early music group
The Spinacino Consort was founded by Eric Thomas to explore music related to his research into the early 16th century lute repertoire. The Spinacino Consort is comprised of Eric Thomas, Annemarie Klein, Elizabeth Unsworth-Wilson, Claire Horacek and Héloīse Bernard. After our founding in 2019, the Spinacino consort enjoyed a varied concert schedule with highlights including playing in the University of Huddersfield concert series, appearing in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, taking part in National Chamber Music Day with Enterprise Music Scotland, and a tour of central Scotland celebrating Renaissance music inspired by the Virgin Mary. Future plans include recording a CD featuring the poetry of Elizabeth Melville, the first female Scottish poet to be published in 1603, in conjunction with Toccata Next.
Eric Thomas is a lutenist based in Edinburgh. He studied music at Edinburgh University, and went onto to pursue his interest in early music completing an MMus in Historically Informed Performance Practice, with the aid of a Carnegie-Cameron postgraduate bursary, jointly at The University of Glasgow and the Royal Conservatiore of Scotland. Eric continued his studies at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, studying lute and theorbo with Fred Jacobs, and also attended the Urbino Early Music Festival to study with Paul O’Dette and Dartington International Summer School for lessons with David Miller. Eric is currently a Phd candidate at the University of Southampton, under the supervision of Elizabeth Kenny and Laurie Stras, being awarded a Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship to research the role of improvisation in early 16th century Italian lute music. Eric has played with the Kellie Consort, and has appeared in concert with Dame Emma Kirkby, as well appearing regularly with recorder player Annemarie Klein as part of Musica Mundana.
Born in Luxembourg, Annemarie Klein completed her undergraduate music degree at the University of Edinburgh, and her Master in recorder performance at the Lemmensinstituut in Leuven, Belgium, where she studied with Bart Coen and Bart Spanhove. Recent performance highlights include recitals with David Gerrard (harpsichord) and with her ensembles Musica Mundana (with Eric Thomas, lute and theorbo, focussing on music of the Renaissance and early Baroque) and Atelier 32:44 (with Ward Ginneberge, accordion, exploring the tail ends of the classical music repertoire). She has also recently performed a programme of Vivaldi solo concertos with Ensemble Ad Libitum in Luxembourg and France, and premièred a new work, alongside soloists from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Based in Edinburgh, Annemarie is regularly invited to teach at various residential courses and to guest-conduct recorder groups around the UK.
Claire Horacek has recently been awarded a Master of Music degree in performance on the viola da gamba with distinction studying with Elizabeth Kenny and Jonathan Manson at Southampton University. She did her first degree in Fine Art at Oxford University but spent a good deal of time there playing the 'cello and furthering her love of early music and interest in historical performance practice. She has lived in Worcester for over 20 years
and for most of that time was a teacher of Art at the King's School Worcester. She now combines working as a freelance performer on both baroque and renaissance viols with teaching music & art as well as, when time allows, painting. She is a member of the Linarol Consort of Renaissance Viols which specialises in the repertoire of 16th century middle Europe and Ensemble Échos, a baroque chamber group formed by postgraduate students from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.
Elizabeth is a Scottish mezzo-soprano with a masters degree in Historical Performance at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she studied with Sarah Pring. She has performed with a number of London-based chamber groups, including the Dowland Works with Dame Emma Kirkby and sings in the newly formed Spinacino Consort, based in Scotland. During her studies she has performed in many projects, including the Baroque opera scenes, where most recently she played Amor in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione Di Poppea, Oenone in Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie, Tito in Cesti’s Il Tito and Arsemene in Handel’s Serse. She has very recently performed as part of the chorus of Gabriel with Alison Balsam in Saffron Hall and the Barbican Centre, in the Hampstead Chamber Choir’s Christmas concert as a soprano and alto soloist in Britten’s Ceremony of Carols and as a soprano soloist in Finzi’s In Terra Pax. Upcoming engagements include a series of concerts of Scottish lute songs with texts and tunes by women, a performance of Monteverdis L’Incoronazione Di Poppea and a cd recording with the Spinacino consort.
Héloïse Bernard is a French-American singer based in Glasgow, freshly graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She holds a Bachelor in Music from the Estonian National Academy of Music and Theatre and a Masters in French Literature from the University of Paris. On stage she has appeared as Missia in the Merry Widow, by Lehàr, Eurydice in Orphée aux Enfers, by Offenbach, all at the Festival of Opera Bouffe d’Etriché, in France. She has sung Mélisande in Auri Jurna's creation of Pelleas/Mélisande at the Theatre Von Glehni in Tallinn and at the International Student Drama Festival in Tartu. She collaborates with Estonian lutenist Kristiina Watt in the Ensemble Cordes en Ciel, offering recitals of baroque monody and duets.