Phantasia was formed in early 2023, when Chris and Emma-Marie came across each other having previously struggled to find people who play period instruments in the area. They had both played with numerous well-known period instrument ensembles all around the world (see website) and had an interest in re-discovering lesser-known music and finding "forgotten gems". Chris and Emma-Marie decided to concentrate initially on repertoire of the 18th and early 19th centuries, but are now also expanding to cover some music from the 17th century. This encompasses the Baroque, Classical and early Romantic eras which gives a wide range of variety in a programme, whilst still concentrating on historically informed performances on instruments from that time. Further variety is provided by Chris switching instruments between theorbo and mandora, both of which can be played alone and combined with the violin.
The particular types of theorbo (German theorbo, d-minor tuning) and mandora (early 19th century model) are very rare, with only a few examples in the world. Emma-Marie uses different violins and bows as appropriate to the era of music being played. Chris and Emma-Marie have since performed regular concerts which were very well received, and are booking in many more for the future. They are also well aware of the importance of gaining an online presence and both already had Youtube and social media channels with a good following. One of the Phantasia showcase videos was recently featured by ClassicFM, the largest online platform for classical music in the world. Chris has been a regular ClassicFM artist for the last few years as a soloist with great success, now Phantasia are reaching a wider audience as well.
Both Chris and Emma-Marie had dabbled in folk music before, and wanted to incorporate a strong element of "period folk" in their programme. They have enjoyed exploring British folk music of the 18th century so far, and this is always popular with audiences, especially when playing a real foot tapper! Phantasia are now moving forward as a trio with a harpsichordist, they plan to collaborate with singers and instrumentalists in flexible combinations, and explore other areas of repertoire.