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Laurence Dreyfus
Laurence Dreyfus  Biography
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Biography
Laurence Dreyfus

Laurence Dreyfus is one of the world's leading performers and scholars of early music and also occupies a position as an international researcher and writer on performance practice through the ages. He is the Thurston Dart Professor of Performance Studies and Head of the Music Department at Kings College, London University.

Laurence Dreyfus is the founder and director of the viol quartet Phantasm which has been acclaimed for its performances and recordings of music of the 16th and 17th Centuries, and especially works by Purcell and Byrd. Although deeply immersed in the historical background to these composers' lives and works, Laurence Dreyfus's and Phantasm's performances combine meticulous authenticity with fresh recreativity. Within the framework of the composers' scores, performing on valuable period instruments the artists yet allow themselves the kind of freedom and spontaneity that is essential to music making from any period, but which has often been lacking in the more 'academic' early music ensembles.

Laurence Dreyfus's musical background is catholic and eclectic. He studied the cello with Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School of Music, and with Philadelphia Orchestra cellists Marcel Farago and William Stokking (now the principal). He then studied the viola da gamba with Wieland Kuijken at the Brussels Royal Conservatorium, where he was awarded the Diplome superieur.

After obtaining his Doctorate in musicology at Columbia University, Laurence Dreyfus began an important career in music performance research. He has published extensively on the music of J.S. Bach, including 'Bach's Continuo Group' and 'Bach and the Patterns of Invention', which won the American Musicological Society's Otto Kinkeldey Award. These works have been highly acclaimed for their insights into Bach's compositional processes and performance practices. Laurence Dreyfus's performance research covers a wide historical span, including investigation into general performance practice from the perspective of the end of the 20th Century. Currently he is researching the life and work of the conductor Hermann Levi, who was a close colleague and friend of both Brahms and Wagner.

Amongst Laurence Dreyfus's discography is an award winning recording with Phantasm of the complete Fantasies for Viol by Purcell, written when the composer was a daring young man; a recently released recording called 'Still Music of the Spheres' in which Phantasm perform consorts by Byrd and Mico; acclaimed recordings as a soloist in music by Bach, Marais and Rameau; and a Grammy award recording of songs by Purcell with Sylvia McNair and Christopher Hogwood. His recording with Phantasm, in which Bach's Art of Fugue is coupled with Mozart's quartet arrangements from Bach's Well Tempered Clavier has recently been released. Future releases will include Byrd songs, with Geraldine McGreevy, (soprano) and Ian Partridge, (tenor) on Simax Classics, Byrd songs with Barbara Bonney, (soprano) on Decca, and Matthew Locke’s Four-Part Consorts, on GMN.

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Locke: Consort Music
Locke: Consort Music Phantasm
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