The Osborn Director of Music
In 2006 Dr David Skinner was appointed as the first Director of Music at Sidney since the foundation of the College in 1596. He is known primarily for his combined role as a researcher and performer of early music, and is a co-founder of the award-winning ensemble The Cardinall’s Musick , with whom he produced more than 25 recordings during his time as co-artistic director (1989-2004). As a record producer he has been involved with a number of award-winning projects (including two Gramophone Awards and three runners up, Diapason d’Or, Deutche Schallplatten, and a Grammy nomination). He has also served as academic advisor and music editor for a number of professional vocal ensembles, including the Hilliard Ensemble, Tallis Scholars, The King’s Singers, The Sixteen, and several of the collegiate choirs in Oxford and Cambridge. From 1997 to 2001 he was a Postdoctoral Fellow of the British Academy at Christ Church, Oxford, and from 2001 to 2006 was the Lecturer in Music at Magdalen College, where he conducted Magdala the mixed-voice chapel choir. His current professional ensemble is Alamire, which exists as an extension to his research and performance activities, and in order to explore and promote the compositional processes behind the great masterworks, and lesser-known works, of the late medieval and early modern periods. He is also Artistic Director of the early music label Obsidian Records. Recent projects include a television documentary on the Office of St David for BBC Wales, and an Arts Council funded exploration of the music of Josquin Desprez within the medium of modern ’sound art’. Plans are afoot to exploit the multi-media experience of late medieval and early renaissance music in a three-part television documentary, currently under development. Dr Skinner has published widely on music and musicians of early Tudor England, and his most recent books include the collected works of Nicholas Ludford (Early English Church Music, 2003 & 2005) and The Arundel Choirbook (Duke of Norfolk: Roxburghe Club, 2003). He has currently signed with Novello & Company, who will be publishing various work selected and edited by David, the first being The Tallis Psalter & Complete English Anthems.
Senior Organ Scholar
Laurence Carden was born in London and attended Highgate School. At the age of four, he asked to learn the violin, and over subsequent years made the same request for piano, drum kit and singing lessons. In 2011, he began organ lessons and has been hooked ever since. Laurence was a long-term member of the New London Children’s Choir, and played violin in the Barbican Young Orchestra for two seasons. He has enjoyed performing at a range of venues, including the Royal Albert Hall, the opening of St. Pancras International, St. Mark’s Basilica and Carnegie Hall. Particular highlights include playing under the baton of Sir Colin Davis, performing with Nicola Benedetti and being a member of the winning Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year in 2014. Laurence studied the organ with Jane Watts from 2011 to 2015, and then began tuition with Stephen Farr. He has been a regular organist for church services across North London, and has played at St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Royal Festival Hall, St. Lawrence Jewry, Washington National Cathedral and St. Peter’s in Vienna. Laurence is delighted to be Organ Scholar at Sidney from 2015–2018.
Junior Organ Scholar
Jim Cooper was born in Bedford and attended Bedford School from the age of seven. Here he learnt the trombone, achieving grade 8 with distinction at the age of twelve. He also played in several local and national ensembles, including Bedfordshire Youth Orchestra, National Youth Wind Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra. During his time with the NYO he performed in several television and radio broadcasts including at the BBC Proms. He had the opportunity to work with conductors including Vasily Petrenko, Edward Gardner and François-Xavier Roth, performing at venues including the Barbican, the Royal Festival Hall, the Sage and Birmingham Symphony Hall. Jim sang in Bedford School Chapel Choir as a chorister and then later as a choral scholar. He began learning organ at the age of fourteen and, when he reached sixth form, accompanied the choir each week in their Sunday services. In November 2016, the choir performed at the Royal British Legion's annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall. He has also had the opportunity to perform in several Cathedrals in England, including Gloucester, Ely and Truro, and across Europe.