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Richard Boothby


After studying with David Fallows in Manchester and Nikolaus Harnoncourt in Salzburg, Richard founded the Purcell Quartet in 1984 and was a founding member of Fretwork in 1985. Since then his career has been bound up with these two groups, with whom he records and tours; and through whom he plays the broadest range of repertory for the viol, from the earliest music to the latest contemporary music.

With the Purcell Quartet he has recorded nearly 50 albums for Hyperion and Chandos, and with Fretwork he recorded over 30 albums for Virgin Classics, Harmonia Mundi USA and other companies. He arranged and transcribed many of the great keyboard music of JS Bach for viols, which were recorded under the title Alio Modo; and Fretwork's recording of his arrangement of the Goldberg Variations has also recently appeared. He was widely praised for his performances of William Lawes’s lyra viol solos on the two Fretwork discs devoted to his music; and his performance of Komm süßes Kreutz front the Matthew Passion was described by The Telegraph as 'a minor miracle'.

Richard is a prime mover in the quest to enrich the viol repertory with new music and has been involved in commissioning music from George Benjamin, Michael Nyman, Alexander Goehr, Orlando Gough and Elvis Costello, among many others. He tours Europe and the United States regularly with both ensembles. In 1998 he directed performances of Monteverdi's L’Incoronazione di Poppea with the Purcell Quartet; and in 2001 directed them in a fully-staged production of L’Orfeo, with Mark Padmore in the title role.

As a soloist, he has given many recitals of the rich solo repertory, and in 1994 he recorded the three Bach sonatas for viola da gamba and harpsichord with Shalev Ad-El for Chandos Records, to critical acclaim. More recently he has given recitals of the music of Jean-Baptiste Antoine Forqueray, and solo recitals combining lyra viol music with the solo music of Bach, Abel and Philippe Hersant, a contemporary French composer. In the summer of 2012, he gave a solo viol course in France, concentrating on solo and consort music both old and new.

Faculties / departments: Historical Performance


For enquires please contact:

Richard Boothby

Viola da Gamba professor