Jeffrey Skidmore

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Jeffrey Skidmore

Jeffrey Skidmore (born 27 February 1951) is the conductor and artistic director of Ex Cathedra, a choir and early music ensemble based in Birmingham in the West Midlands, England. An active participant in musical education and a pioneer in researching and performing neglected choral works of the 16th to 18th centuries, he has worked with leading musicologists to prepare new performing editions of French and Italian music. In particular, his recordings of French and Latin American Baroque music with Ex Cathedra have won wide acclaim.

Education and current activities[edit]

Skidmore (rear, in front of the door) with the Ex Cathedra Choir in the café of the Birmingham Town Hall – photographed on 1 March 2008

Jeffrey Skidmore was born in Birmingham, England, in 1951.[1] He also attended St. Heliers Road Sunday School in Northfield before 1962, when he went to Bournville Boys Technical School, later Bournville Grammar-Technical School for Boys.

Skidmore began conducting while still at school, and was only 18 years old when he founded the Ex Cathedra choir in Birmingham in 1969. After going to Bournville Boys Technical School, later Bournville Grammar-Technical School for Boys, he went on to read music with David Wulstan at Magdalen College, University of Oxford, where he was a choral scholar under Bernard Rose.[2] He then taught as a music school teacher in Birmingham.

Directing the Ex Cathedra choir and its associated Ex Cathedra Consort and Baroque Orchestra, Skidmore has appeared in concert series and festivals across the UK and abroad, and has made a number of highly acclaimed recordings. In addition, he regularly conducts other ensembles such as the BBC Singers, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Hanover Band. He has commissioned more than ten new works and conducted many world premières by well-established and new composers, including Fyfe Hutchins, Gabriel Jackson, John Joubert, Daryl Runswick, Peter Sculthorpe, Philip Sheppard, Peter Wiegold and Roderick Williams.

In the field of opera Skidmore worked with Marc Minkowski and David McVicker on the 2004 production of Eccles' Semele at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris; and conducted Cavalli's La Calisto, Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, and Rameau's Pigmalion at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Birmingham City University (formerly University of Central England). With Ex Cathedra he gave the first performances in modern times of the French Baroque operas Zaïde, reine de Grenade (Zaïde, Queen of Grenada) by Royer and Isis by Lully.[3][4]

Contributions to musicology and musical education[edit]

Skidmore is a pioneer in the field of research and performance of neglected choral works of the 16th to 18th centuries, and, in particular, has won wide acclaim for his recordings of French and Latin American Baroque music with Ex Cathedra for Hyperion Records. An honorary fellow at the Birmingham Conservatoire and a research fellow at the University of Birmingham, he has worked with many leading musicologists to prepare new performing editions of French, Italian and Spanish music by Giovanni Animuccia, Juan de Araujo, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Michel Richard Delalande, Claudio Monteverdi and Jean-Philippe Rameau.[2]

Active in music education, Skidmore is Artistic Director of Early Music and the Capelle Baroque Orchestra of the Birmingham Conservatoire, and director of Ex Cathedra's wide-reaching education programme. He frequently gives choral training workshops and teaches at summer schools in the UK and overseas. He has regularly directed the choral programme at Dartington International Summer School and was Classical Music Programmer for the 2005 Kilkenny Arts Festival.[3][4][5]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The year of his birth stated in this article is based on the fact that he was 18 years old when he founded Ex Cathedra in 1969: see The artists, Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music, archived from the original on 28 September 2007, retrieved 20 February 2008 ; Ex Cathedra Choir, Ex Cathedra, retrieved 20 February 2008 .
  2. ^ a b The artists, Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music, archived from the original on 28 September 2007, retrieved 20 February 2008 .
  3. ^ a b Jeffrey Skidmore, Ex Cathedra, retrieved 20 February 2008 .
  4. ^ a b Programme for Ex Cathedra's performance of John Joubert's Wings of Faith at The Oratory, Birmingham, on 22 March 2007.
  5. ^ Latin American Vespers – Moon, Sun and All Things: Ex Cathedra; QuintEssential Sackbutt & Cornett Ensemble, Kilkenny Arts Festival, 2005, retrieved 19 June 2008 

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

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