To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016, K’antu Ensemble explores Shakespearian Songs and Dances evoking the spirit of Elizabethan and Jacobean England. Music will include compositions by Robert Johnson, John Dowland, Thomas Morley, broadside ballads and folk tunes quoted in his plays. Their lively mix of music will appeal to Early, Folk, Classical and World Music fans alike.
Founded in 2012, K’antu Ensemble explores the less-trodden territories of early music, combining elements of folk and world music with historically-informed techniques. The music of Spain and South America seemed like the obvious starting place – hence the name K’antu, referring to an ancient style of Peruvian and Bolivian music and dance.
They are currently promoting their second album, Dancing & the Divine, following the success of Gusto, which has been featured in Early Music Today Magazine.
English venues include King’s Place, Symphony Hall and St Martin-in-the-Fields, where they reached the semi-finals of the Chamber Music Competitions in 2014 and 2015. They have also broadcast on Radio 3’s In Tune as house band during their residency at the Southbank Centre.
Making a name for themselves on the international stage, they were invited to present a concert for the Göttingen International Handel Festival in Germany and recently toured Hungary supported by an Emerging Excellence Award from Help Musicians UK.
Ruth Hopkins (Director) read Music at Oxford University. Supported by the Dame Felicity Lott Bursary, she won the Corton-Hyde Early Music and Ambache Competitions during her postgraduate studies. She currently holds the Feeney Fellowship and an Alice Horseman Award supporting her research for K’antu Ensemble.
She particularly enjoys early and contemporary repertoire as well as theatrical and operatic work. Roles have included Romilda (Xerxes), Alcina (Alcina), Cupid (Orpheus in the Underworld), Suor Genovieffa (Suor Angelica), Sandman (Hansel & Gretel), Sem (Noyes Fludde) and Eloise (Entr’act by Alex Patterson).
She regularly premieres new music as a soloist and with Thumb Ensemble. Projects have included premieres at LSO St Lukes Soundhub for Robert Szymanek and Phillip Venables, Edmund Hunt’s prize-winning Ginungagap conducted by Edwin Roxburgh, and Nicholas Stuart’s The Canal for Leeds Lieder Festival.
In recital, she has collaborated with pianists Duncan Appleby, Asako Ogawa, and Robin Bowman. Future plans include a series of concerts featuring music by Caccini and Strozzi with lutenist/theorbist Toby Carr.
Ruth Hopkins: Soprano, Violin & Recorders
Sarah Langdon: Alto & Recorders
Michelle Holloway: Alto & Recorders
Ben Mitchell: Tenor, Baroque Guitar & Charango
Mihaly Benko: Archlute
Andrew Hopper: Bass & Viola da Gamba
Tymoteusz Jozwiak: Bass & Percussion