Sidney Sussex College rose from the ruins of the Cambridge Greyfriars in 1596 and has long been a nest for professional musicians.
The large Chapel that stood on this site in pre-Reformation times was the regular venue for University ceremonies and was where a number of early English composers took their degrees, including Robert Fayrfax (MusB, 1501; DMus 1504) and Christopher Tye (MusB, 1536). Later, the great Elizabethan composer William Byrd would have been well-known to the foundress, Lady Frances Sidney, and two very fine elegies by Byrd survive for her nephew, the poet and courtier Sir Philip Sidney. Aside from the abundant contribution the Choir makes to the musical life of the College, Sidney is home to a wealth of musical ensembles and choral groups, and Fellows with both academic and practical expertise. The College boasts an active Music Society which organises weekly chamber recitals with guest appearances. Currently resident in the College are Dr Christopher Page (1991), founder and former director of the multi-award-winning Gothic Voices, and Dr David Skinner (2006) who is a co-founder of The Cardinall’s Musick, director of Alamire, and Sidney’s Director of Music.