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Sir Francis Willoughby's Lutebook

Sir Francis Willoughby's Lutebook
73 Queen's Park Crescent East, Northrop Frye, Room 205
Time: Nov 17th, 3:30 pm End: Nov 17th, 5:00 pm
Interest Categories: Music, Faculty of , Medieval Studies (FAS), 1800-1900, 1500-1800, 1200-1500
Workshop: John Edwards (Artistic Director, Musicians in Ordinary)

The Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies presents

Workshop: John Edwards (Artistic Director, Musicians in Ordinary)

“Sir Francis Willoughby’s Lutebook”


Sir Francis Willoughby (c.1547-96) of Nottinghamshire was the son of a wealthy landowner, Henry Willoughby, and Anne Grey, a member of a family who had been staunch supporters of the Tudors from the time of their initial power grab. Francis’s family connections to the Greys’ failed attempt to snatch the crown for themselves, via his cousin Lady Jane, though, meant he was suspect at court. He inherited and then nurtured vast wealth from the nascent coal and iron industries, which meant that he was able to maintain a lordly household (including two musicians) after receiving a splendid humanist education. As well as dancing and virginal playing, lute playing was, of course, among his accomplishments and his manuscript lutebook is one of the earliest sources of English lute music. Collected between the early 1560s and 1580 the book contains pieces from Italy, France, Spain, the Low Countries and what appears to be unique music by lutenists from the court of Henry VIII, as well as Elizabethan court lutenists. John Edwards will put the collection of the manuscript and its contents in the context of lute music sources of the ‘Golden Age’ of Elizabethan music, discuss the problems with realizing and editing some of the contents and then perform a short concert of pieces from the book.


Lutenist John Edwards has always had a love of song, to which end he leads The Musicians In Ordinary which explores the solo song and chamber vocal repertoire of the Renaissance and Baroque. The ensemble has presented a season of concerts in Toronto for over fifteen years. John has given lectures and concerts at institutions ranging from the scholarly to those for a more general public, including the Renaissance Society of America, The Shakespeare Association of America, the Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies, Grinnell College and Lehman College and the Graduate Center at CUNY, the Universities of Alberta and Toronto, the University of California, San Diego, Trent and York Universities, the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Kingston Opera Guild and the Bata Shoe Museum. He has also played continuo with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet of Canada. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from York University and has been a Fellow of the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies at Victoria College.

This event is free and open to all. Registration is not required. For further information, please contact the CRRS at 416 585 4468.

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