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Robert Hollingworth appointed Anniversary Reader

Posted on 8 March 2012

The University of York has announced the appointment as an Anniversary Reader of Robert Hollingworth, the director of I Fagiolini – the vocal ensemble that specialises in innovative performances of Renaissance and contemporary music.

In parallel, the University’s Department of Music has appointed I Fagiolini as an ensemble-in-residence. Robert Hollingworth will combine his academic activities at York with his international performance and recording diary with I Fagiolini, and will continue his various conducting engagements.

The appointment of Robert Hollingworth as Reader in Music, is one of a series of chairs and readerships which the University is creating to mark its 50th Anniversary in 2013. Appointees will be outstanding individuals who have achieved distinction in their fields.

Robert Hollingworth was a chorister at Hereford Cathedral and studied violin and keyboard before going on to read music at New College, Oxford University, where he founded I Fagiolini in 1986. The group were awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society’s coveted Ensemble Prize in 2005. They are currently preparing a Cultural Olympiad project of sacred music in English cathedrals with Australian Circus company, Circa.

Their most recent world premiere recording of Striggio’s Mass in 40 Parts won both Gramophone (UK) and Diapason (France) early music disc of the year. Their new CD on Decca 1612 Italian Vespers is released this summer.

Robert Hollingworth has directed other ensembles at home and abroad, most recently the BBC Singers, Accentus (France), NDR Chor (Germany), The Academy of Ancient Music and English Concert. In 2004, he directed the Nederlands Kamerkoor in a ground-breaking new music-theatre project (Faust) set in startling venues such as a ship-building yard in Amsterdam, a disused station and Bremen Cathedral.

Robert Hollingworth writes and presents programmes for BBC Radio including Discovering Music and The Early Music Show and has worked on a number of feature films. He was appointed an artistic advisor to the York Early Music Festival (2006-9) and in 2009 to the Trigonale Festival, Austria.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian Cantor, said: “Robert Hollingworth’s appointment is a reflection of the University’s commitment to attracting the finest expertise to York. He will enhance our Department of Music’s superb international reputation for composition and performance.”

Head of Music at York, Professor Jo Wainwright, said: “We are thrilled by the appointment of Robert Hollingworth as an Anniversary Reader. The York Music Department places the experience of music – creating and performing it – at the centre of our activities and Robert's inspirational approach to performance makes him the perfect fit for our vibrant musical community.”

Robert Hollingworth said: “If there’s one music department in the country that I would want to be part of, it would be York because of the way the teaching mixes with and enhances amazing performance opportunities. I look forward to bringing my own enthusiasm for vocal music to an already very strong department in that area and also bringing the Fagiolini-esque priorities of looking outside the box both of unexplored and conventional repertoire.”