Dowland's Foundry

Established in 2023, Dowland's Foundry's heartland repertoire is the golden age of Elizabethan song.

The group takes its name from the genre's most iconic exponent, the lutenist John Dowland - who in the first of his published songs invites us to imagine his tongue as a kind of forge (“my tongue, that makes my mouth a mint 
/ and stamps my thoughts to coin them words…”). By extension, strings and voices can also be seen as elements of a workshop, crafting thoughts into sounds. In this sense, Dowland’s Foundry reflects a tradition of minting ideas into music, four centuries in the making.

Today lute song is mostly heard solo. Rarer is its truest expression: songs of several lines - a conversational genre, for whole households. Lute song is in fact close to a domestic argument, a discussion amongst individual voices: "speaking" harmony as a dynamic, conflict-rich process. This intimate understanding of the genre underpins Dowland’s Foundry's performances.


Sam Brown renaissance lute
Gwen Martin soprano
Clemmie Franks alto
Daniel Thomson tenor
Laurence Williams bass

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Past programmes