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Richard Boothby

Richard Boothby

Richard Boothby has been playing the viol ever since David Fallows handed him a tenor viol while attempting to teach him about Wagner’s ‘Ring’ in Manchester University in 1977. After studying with Charles Medlam and Nikolaus Harnoncourt, he founded The Purcell Quartet in 1984 and Fretwork in 1985.

He has helped to enrich the viol-consort repertory with new music from today’s finest composers, from Elvis Costello to George Benjamin, and from Alexander Goehr to Nico Muhly. He was a member of ‘Trio Aporia’, together with Stephen Preston (baroque flute) and Jane Chapman (harpsichord), to explore radical experimental contemporary music, alongside the more usual baroque repertory.

His arrangements of Bach keyboard music, settings of Purcell songs for voice & viols and arrangements of Michael Nyman’s music have won critical praise

With the Purcell Quartet he recorded nearly 50 albums for Hyperion and Chandos; and with Fretwork he recorded over 30 albums for Virgin Classics, Harmonia Mundi USA and more recently Signum Classics.

His recordings of the complete solo lyra viol music of William Lawes, and he newly rediscovered fantasias for solo viola da gamba by Telemann were greeted with high critical praise.

In addition to his work with Fretwork, he now regularly performs entirely alone in programmes that include the new Telemann Fantasias, lyra viol music, Abel’s solo improvisations and contemporary music.

He is professor of Viola da Gamba at the Royal College in London.