At last! Real Live Music…

The silence of the last year is coming to an end; whatever anyone says, there is absolutely no substitute for real live music, whether you are a performer or enjoy being there to listen.

BEMP is delighted that the Third Thursday recital series can now get underway, with an event on the Third Thursday of every month from May 20th throughout 2021.  There is a wide range of music to choose from, some really early,  some of it new music  played on old instruments, all of it in the lovely acoustic of All Saints’ Church, Culmstock.  This is a special performance space and in partnership with The Friends of All Saints’ the series is presented to enable our professional musician friends to play for you and to assist the Church Development fund toward improving  facilities at the church.

BEMP in 2021

Look out for our new series of Third Thursday concerts in 2021.  Starting as soon as Covid restrictions permit (April?) and  in partnership with the Friends of All Saints’ Church in Culmstock, we will be offering a concert/recital every third Thursday of the month. Top flight performers to anticipate this year include Steven Devine & Kate Semmens, Newe Vialles, Pandora’s Box, In Echo and more.


In keeping with many other organisations, it is with great regret that we must announce that this course will not be taking place as previously advertised, as a result of situation we all now face with the advance of Covid-19.

Please check back for further information in due course.

Residential Course for Lutes, Voices & Viols May 7-11 2020

Following the last two years’ gatherings of viol players at Cadbury House and elsewhere in Culmstock, we are this year running a residential course open to viol players and lutenists, focusing on English music of the 16th and 17th centuries.  The tutors for viol, consort and continuo will be Caroline Ritchie and Henrik Persson;  we are delighted that Lynda Sayce will join as a tutor for lute, theorbo and ensembles.  Lots to look forward to, with a focus on English repertoire from the 16th and 17th centuries. All information here and reservations are open now!

GRAND BAROQUE IV – getting excited!

Just four weeks to go now until the whole team is in Exeter Cathedral and tickets are going fast… get them while you can from TicketSource 

When and where else could you see and hear  this incredible team of performers in the South West??Musical Director  JanJoost van Elburg
Soloists  Amy HaworthCharlotte AshleyCaroline TrevorIngeborg Bröcheler, Mark DobellMark BonneyThomas FlintSimon Whiteley, The Monteverdi String BandThe English Cornett & Sackbut EnsembleWilliam LyonsEligio QuinteiroPeter McCarthy, Satoko Doi-LuckRussell GilmourWilliam RussellScott Bywater

And here is what they will be playing, a fabulous programme of rarely heard baroque splendour:
Girolamo FANTINI  Sonata a due clarini – Trumpets
Francisco GUERRERO  Motet: Maria Magdalenae –  BEMP choir
Philippe BODDECKER Sonata sopra ‘La Monica’  – Dulcian  Theorbo Organ
Giovanni SANCES  Missa S. Maria Magdalenae, Kyrie & Gloria – Soloists, Choir & Full band
Ferdinand RICHTER Toccatina – Organ Satoko Doi-Luck
Giovanni SANCES  Missa S. Maria Magdalenae, Credo – Soloists, Choir & Full band
Vinzenz FUX  Canzon pro tabula à 10 – Monteverdi String Band, English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble
Giovanni SANCES  Missa S. Maria Magdalenae, Sanctus, Agnus Dei– Soloists, Choir & Full band
Heinrich BIBER  Funeral March, adapted from Requiem à 15, Sanctus – Full band
Heinrich BIBER  Requiem à 15 – Soloists, Choir & Full band



Announcing Grand Baroque IV!

So, we are off again, as if Grand Baroque I, II and III in 2013, 2015 and 2017 weren’t enough!  Here comes Grand Baroque IV, another foray into C17 extravagance on a scale rarely performed today. There is one important difference, however! Instead of dragging you away from the beach or BBQ over a sunny August Bank Holiday weekend, we are offering GBIV at 7.30 pm on Friday November 29th in Exeter Cathedral.

The programme will feature the choral work of two composers who were rewarded for their prodigious compositional and performing ability by earning  the patronage of wealthy courts,   Giovanni Felice Sances (1600-1679) in Vienna at the Habsburg court of Ferdinand III and Heinrich Ignatz Franz von Biber (1644-1704) in Salzburg, working for Archbishop Maximillian Gandolf.

We  commissioned the first transcription of Sances’ Missa Sancta Maria Magdalenae in 2004 and it received its first modern performance in Taunton that year.  With a second SW performance of the Mass (and probably the first in the UK) we shall feature Biber’s  Requiem à 15 he had the musicians and space available to him in Salzburg to invent works of extraordinary harmony and rhythm: now it’s time to share  them with you!

More information here …. or go straight to Ticketsource for tickets*

*Early Birds buying before August 31st will earn an automatic 10% discount at checkout if buying 4 or more tickets in one transaction.

Spring Festival off to a powerful start – and more to come

Gawain Glenton’s debut as guest MD with Blackdowns Early Music Projects started the Spring Festival with music of the Habsburg courts of Vienna.  Agreed by all involved, performers and audience alike, to be a hugely enjoyable programme, greatly enhanced by the installation of dragonflies in the Church!

Huge thanks to Gawain, to Emily White and her sackbut and violin students and to Martin Perkins and his ever versatile keyboards.

Tickets now selling fast for the remaining three events… click here for information or go straight to TicketSource for tickets.

SPRING Festival Tickets on sale now

Tickets now on sale for the Spring Festival, two choral concerts and two recitals between May 19 and June 9



Coming soon…..GRAND BAROQUE IV  ~ Exeter Cathedral  ~ Friday November 29th 2019 7.30pm

The fourth in our biennial series of baroque concerts with all the bells and whistles! This year the programme includes two large choral works,  Biber’s  Requiem in A maj and  Sances’ Missa Sanctae Maria Magdalenae with supporting instrumental works under our Principal Director JanJoost van Elburg.   

More details and ticket information will be available soon for all these events.

South West Viol Fest II May 23- 26

SOUTH WEST VIOL FEST II : Residential Course for Viols in Culmstock on the Somerset/Devon borders
May 23-26 2019     Tutors: Caroline Ritchie and Henrik Persson

Following the first course in May 2018 when Viols and Voices shared spaces at Cadbury House and elsewhere in Culmstock, Devon,  this second residential course in 2019 will be exclusive to viol players, and  tutored once again by Caroline Ritchie and Henrik Persson.

Where:  Based at Cadbury House, Fore Street, Culmstock, Devon EX15 3JD.  There is a variety of practice and performance spaces available, including the Church opposite the house, as well as quite a lot of overnight accommodation if required,  for those coming from a distance.

Dates:  The course starts with a meal together on Thursday evening, 23rd May, and will progress until final departures on Bank Holiday Monday morning, May 27th.  All meals and refreshments will be provided within the course fee, all diets accommodated.

Content:  Three days of consort playing,  solo coaching and masterclasses. Any repertoire will be welcome in 2019.  Consort music will be available,  although participants are welcome to bring music too.  Henrik and Caroline look forward to working with existing consorts as well as individuals. The exact content will be determined once attendees are known.  Observers will also be welcome.  A visit to the workshop of world renowned viol-maker Jane Julier will be arranged during Friday 24th May (resident in Culmstock).

Entertainment: in addition to enjoying one another’s good company, on Friday evening Lynda Sayce will offer a public lecture/recital on the wide family of lutes in her possession, anything from an oud to a soprano lute and theorbo.  On Saturday evening Lynda will join  Caroline and Henrik in another public recital under the Newe Vialles banner.  Last year’s recital was absolutely electrifying and we can’t wait for this next one! They will be playing French repertoire by Louis de Caix d’Hervelois, Roland Marais, Jean de Sainte-Colombe and Antoine Forqueray

Both of these performances are included in the course fee and are ticketed for the general public.

Finally, there will be an end of course play-through for all participants on Sunday afternoon which will be open to an interested local audience.

Fee:  £275 pp for 3.5 day including meals, excluding accommodation.  We can consider shorter participations of one or two days if the full course is not possible for some.  A number of discounted places for students may be available, please enquire. Pre formed viol consorts are welcome to apply as a group

Accommodation: If you are travelling some distance to attend and would like to stay at Cadbury House (a number of twin/double rooms is available) this will cost an additional £20 pp pn. If all these rooms are booked, then we may be able to find you alternative local accommodation with friends at a similar rate,  otherwise we can suggest local B&B/hotel accommodation.

To apply for the course please write to Catherine Bass with your name and contact details, providing a brief summary of your experience, which viols you play and whether you would like solo coaching (possibly in a masterclass setting).  Please also indicate if you would like to stay in Cadbury House or nearby.