I am a part-time PhD candidate investigating the life and compositions of the Tyneside-born composer William Shield (1748-1829), with a focus on his use of 'national airs' in theatre music. I have received grants towards my research from the Sir Richard Stapley Educational Trust, the Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust and the Yorkshire Ladies' Council for Education, and was the recipient of a Louise Dyer Award from Musica Britannica in 2016. My research has uncovered previously unexplored details of William Shield’s social background, early career, and compositional influences, offering a new perspective on how his works reflect contemporary perceptions of national identity and culture. I have presented papers on Shield at the North East Forum for Eighteenth Century and Romantic Studies, York Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies and English Folk Dance and Song Society and have several articles under consideration for publication.
Alongside my academic career, I remain active as a performer, having first learned the cello with Julia Watson through Gateshead Music Service before studying with Myra Chahin and Alison McGillivray at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama. I went on to study baroque cello with Susan Sheppard and Joseph Crouch at TrinityLaban Conservatoire, where my Masters in Performance was supported by a scholarship and grants from the Dewar Arts Awards, Leverhulme Trust, Pauline Holden Award, Matthew Hodder Trust, Reid Trust for the Education of Women, Kathleen Trust, Newby Trust, Finzi Trust, Earmark Trust and Hilda Martindale Trust. My thesis explored spiritual elements in the practice of Christian professional musicians, and I also undertook practical research into chordal techniques of figured bass realisation on the cello.
I have specialised in historically informed performance of seventeenth and eighteenth century chamber music and sacred music with ensembles including: Due Corde, baroque string tutors on the Historically Informed Summer School, Akenside Players (Handel House Museum Musicians of the Month April 2013), Concentus VII, whose debut album of Italian baroque sonatas and cantatas was released on Resonus Classics in January 2015 and featured on BBC Radio 3, Dei Gratia sacred baroque ensemble, and Otley Baroque. I am an experienced cello teacher and chamber music coach, and currently teach privately and for ArtForms Leeds.
William Shield's life and compositional practice
music in society in North East England c. 1730-1800
English ballad and dialogue operas, and their cultural and political context
traditional music, especially of Britain and Ireland, and its use by eighteenth century art music composers, as well as the absorption into oral traditions of composed theatre tunes
links between theatre performers and radical political groups in Newcastle and London c.1770-1800
baroque performance practice, particularly cello technique and continuo playing
baroque and classical string chamber music
baroque sacred music
interaction of musical practice and Christian faith
- MMus Baroque cello performance (TrinityLaban)
- BA (Hons) Musical Studies (RSAMD)
- DipABRSM Performance (Cello)