Next meeting


18 April 2020
Venue: Denis Arnold Hall, Faculty of Music, University of Oxford
Address: St Aldate’s, Oxford OX1 1DB

A joint meeting with the Lute Society, this meeting will also feature the VdGS AGM and an afternoon concert with Alison Crum and Roy Marks.
The theme of this meeting is Masque Music.

Parking: Westgate Car Park, or Redbridge Park and Ride (more info below)

11 am
Arrival and coffee

Shem Mackey will talk about the ‘Plan de Paris’ viol. This instrument is famous for having an incredible marquetry map of Paris on its back but its origins have been a mystery. It was previously thought to have been made in the 16th century by ‘Gaspard Diuffoprugcar’ but is now widely and correctly considered to be a 17th century instrument. But who really made this viol?

Elizabeth Kenny will present a talk on the involvement of lutes, viols and voices in relation to masque music. Lutes, Viols and Voices: what did they do for their wages?

1 pm

2:30 pm
Matthew Spring’s talk is entitled ‘English Masque dances in intabulations. A neglected repertoire for the solo lute and other instruments’.

3:15 pm
Andrew Ashbee will present ‘Popular Music from the Masques of James Shirley’, talking about the surviving masque symphonies and their distribution in Playford books and manuscripts for amateur performance.

4 pm – Tea

4:30 – 5:30 pm
Concert: ‘A Spagna in the Works’
Alison Crum - early viols and Roy Marks - lute
16th century dances, divisions and instrumental settings played on a variety of early viols and lute featuring Music by Anon, Ebreo, Ortiz, Rogniono, Tromboncino and others.
Tickets for the above concert are £10 (£8 concessions) and can be bought at the meeting.

The speakers:

Shem Mackey is a keen researcher of the viol, in particular the French school of making and has published academic articles in the Early Music Journal (OUP) and in the journal of the American Viola da Gamba Society. He has lectured at international conferences both in the UK and mainland Europe.

Elizabeth Kenny is one of Europe’s leading lute players and is the Director of Performance and Performance Studies at the Faculty of Music, University of Oxford.

Matthew Spring studied at Keele University and Magdalen College, Oxford. A lecturer in early music at Bath Spa University, he is regularly invited to contribute articles to musical journals and books, and his book, The Lute in Britain has been published by Oxford University Press.

A leading authority on John Jenkins, Andrew Ashbee has lectured and written widely on English composers of the seventeenth century. He has held Honorary Fellowships at the Leeds and Durham Universities.

Information on parking:
There is no on-site parking at the Music Faculty for the public. Members are advised to use the Westgate car park, which is about 7 mins walk away, or the Redbridge Park and Ride with a direct bus link to St Aldate’s and the faculty.
The Oxford City Council website offers useful info on parking around Oxford:

Westgate Parking-

Redbridge Park and Ride –

Our next meeting will be in St Cecilia’s Hall in Edinburgh on Saturday 20th June 2020. The day will feature David Hatcher, a leading exponent of the renaissance viol, Martin Barnett with his Glasgow Viol Consort, and Susanna Pell with an antique Scottish viol in her care. David will present a talk on early German renaissance repertory, Martin will do a presentation charting the development of his incredible group of young players, and Susanna will illustrate some Scottish repertory on her old instrument and its fascinating history. The meeting will end with a massed playing and singing session conducted by David, for which we will need participants! Please email the meetings organiser for more information. Please email the meetings organiser for more information:

Meetings are meant for people who are interested in the viol to get together to learn more and meet each other. They are a great place for newcomers to start as well as a forum for the latest research and ideas to be debated. There are always a number of different speakers and live music. There are usually three meetings each year (normally in March, June and November), at least one of which is in central London.
Our meetings are free to members, but a small charge or donation is requested from non-members.