Monteverdi String Band

We are a period-instrument string ensemble specialising in music from the late 16th to late 17th centuries. Our core ensemble is based on the 17th century 5-part texture and our instruments are based on models from the early 17th century, creating a unique, rich, complex sound, well-suited to the intricate music of the period.

The inspiration for forming our group was the blossoming of wonderful cornet and sackbut ensembles, with whom we as individuals often performed works such as Monteverdi's Vespers: we formed MSB to create a string counterpart to these ensembles, studying and implementing the sound, style and ornamentation so essential to bring this music to life.

Our own projects have combined music and other art forms, from contemporary literature (The Madrigal Transformed) to swordsmanship (Il Combattimento) and acting (Galileo). Our most recent guest artists are Hannah Ely (soprano) and Toby Carr (lute, theorbo), who have helped us create The Madrigal Reimagined, a celebration of the Italian madrigal and the creativity and virtuosity it inspired, illuminated by contemporary readings. We are excited to be recording this programme in November 2023 for Resonus Classics.

During the pandemic we also started a smaller venture, MSB in focus, in which individual players could develop projects. The first fruit of this was Con Arte e Maestria, a programme of virtuoso diminutions old and new performed by MSB director Oliver Webber and keyboard player Steven Devine, released by Resonus in 2021. Early Music Review remarked that "Webber and Devine apply their consummate technical skills and flawless musical instincts to bring this vital performance technique vividly back to life". This disc has given further inspiration to our subsequent ventures, with similarly devised ornamentation appearing in The Madrigal Reimagined.

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Past programmes