Michael Fields (musician)

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Michael Fields (born October 25, 1951) is a British-American musician - conductor, composer and guitar, lute, theorbo and ukulele player.

He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, the son of an American father (Melvin Leo Fields) and an Australian mother (Roberta Doreen Harkin) who had met in Melbourne, Australia during World War II. Michael Fields lived in Hawaii until 1955, then in Marin County, California until 1961, Santa Cruz County until 1971, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 1971-74, and has been resident in England since 1974.

Fields showed an early aptitude for music: his first instrument was a Kamaka ukulele bought by his mother when he was born. After the family moved to California, he learned the "tonette", then he soon graduated to clarinet, which he played in the Capitola Elementary School Band. He began to play the guitar and piano at age 12, playing folk, rock and jazz music, and was soon leading his first band, "Piccadilly Circus", which performed at school dances. Other bands followed, the most successful being "The Back Door" in Santa Cruz, California and "Heritage" in Melbourne. During 1973-74, Fields led the backing band for "The Young Australians" - a group formed by Athol Guy of The Seekers.

Michael began the study of classical guitar at the Melba Memorial Conservatorium of Music in Melbourne, under the guidance of Josef Ruecker. He moved to England in 1974 to advance his studies in classical guitar and lute, studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, England, where his tutors there were Hector Quine, guitar and Anthony Rooley, lute. In 1977, Fields received the AGSM and LRAM diplomas in classical guitar performance and teaching, and continued his lute studies with Nigel North and later with Hopkinson Smith in Basel.

Michael Fields is known for his duo partnership with British soprano Evelyn Tubb, whom he met while at the Guildhall. They have made many recordings together and performed internationally.

  • He is the director of the medieval ensemble Vox Ainimae, baroque ensemble Sprezzatura (with Evelyn Tubb) and also a member of New Trinity Baroque (USA).
  • He began conducting in 1990. He is the musical director of Polyphony chamber choir in Wadhurst, East Sussex and of Phoenix Choir in Eastbourne, East Sussex.

In his career as a performer, opera director and teacher, he has travelled around the world several times, with many rewarding and interesting collaborations along the way. One of them was directing a performance of Dido and Aeneas in Belgrade in 1996 with Evelyn Tubb in the role of Dido and Predrag Gosta in the role of Sorceress.

Michael appears on the Van Morrison CD, Magic Time, playing both lute and classical guitar.

  • Other instruments played include archlute, chitarrone/theorbo, baroque guitar, medieval harp and piano.

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