The musician behind Consort of 1
Lizzie champions the shawm, in all its glorious versatility. Having taken up the instrument as a part of the historical re-enactment movement to re-form Waits bands throughout the country, she then found herself drawn to pursue it further and now makes shawm playing her main occupation. Since 2007 Lizzie has studied with some of the country’s leading Renaissance wind players at Cambridge and Dartington summer schools and with William Lyons at The Guildhall College of Music and Drama. She also plays a wide range of other historical instruments, including bagpipes, recorders, pipe & tabor, curtals and fiddles.
Having grown up in King's Lynn, where she played clarinet and violin from a young age, Lizzie went on to complete a BA in music at Durham University. Whilst there she became interested in world music, taking lessons on shakuhachi, playing gamelan and travelling to Delhi for intensive vocal and violin lessons in the classical Indian style. This interest in music making outside the classical mainstream was also fostered by her apprenticeship with Norfolk Music Works, where she held both administrative and musical posts from graduation in 2001 until 2003. Her work there involved learning basic guitar, as well as sessions on everything from steel pans, African drumming and samba to early years singing, folk, rock and DJ sessions.
Having taken a break to work on a tall ship for a year, Lizzie started work for Essex Music Services in 2004, teaching violin, viola, guitar, clarinet, recorder & piano as well as running world music sessions, after school clubs and even trying her hand at some class teaching. She also started playing penny whistle in a folk rock band and shawms and other early instruments in The King's Lynn Waites and Wyldes Noyse. Gradually it became apparent that this last was what she really wanted to do.
Lizzie now performs up and down the country, in and out of historical costume, as a member of Blondel. She is also a York Wait, having performed at numerous concerts with them over the past few years as well as recording and helping to produce their 3 latest albums. This includes the Gresley Dance project “Cherwell thy Wyne” for which she wrote some of the tunes and arrangements. Freelance engagements have included the Globe's “Nell Gwynn” both on tour and in the West End, “The Knight of the Burning Pestle” at the Wanamaker Theatre, and large scale events at Hampton Court and the Tower of London. Lizzie has also performed with Passamezzo in Morocco and London as part of the “Shore to Shore” and other projects, and with Gaita both live and on CD.
As well as making and selling reeds for shawms and curtals, Lizzie has become the UK's only commercial maker of rommelpots. She runs the Colchester Waits, England’s only shawm band open to all comers.
Lizzie's latest project “Consort of 1” combines early music on historical instruments with the use of live looping equipment which allows layering of parts to show Medieval and Renaissance melodies from a new perspective.