Baroque-harp virtuoso and imaginative continuo-player, Andrew Lawrence-King is one of the world’s leading performers of early music.
A creative and inspiring conductor who directs from one of several continuo instruments (including harp, organ, guitar, harpsichord & psaltery), he has led baroque operas, oratorios and chamberr music at LaScala, Milan; Sydney Opera House; Casals Hall, Tokyo; Berlin Philharmonie; Vienna Konzerthaus; New York’s Carnegie Hall; Moscow Philharmonie and Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes. As harp soloist, he won the 2011 Grammy for Best Small Ensemble Performance in Dinastia Borgia directed by Jordi Savall. As researcher, he investigates baroque opera for the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions.
Andrew Lawrence-King’s musical career began as Head Chorister at the Cathedral and Parish Church of St Peter Port Guernsey, whence he won an Organ Scholarship to Cambridge, completing his studies at the London Early Music Centre. He made his London professional debut at the BBC Promenade Concerts, and rapidly established himself as a versatile continuo-player with Europe’s foremost specialist ensembles. In 1988 he founded and co-directed the continuo-group Tragicomedia. He joined Jordi Savall’s Hesperion XX, and was appointed Professor of Harp and Continuo at the Akademie für Alte Musik, Bremen, and the Escuela Superior de Musica de Catalunya in Barcelona. He has also taught at the Sibelius Academy and Helsinki Stadia (Finland), and is a regular teacher at the Historical Harp Society of Ireland’s Scoilnag Clàirseach.
In 1994 Andrew Lawrence-King formed his own ensemble, The Harp Consort, and was immediately signed up by Deutsche Harmonia Mundi for a seven-year series of solo and ensemble recordings: Luz y Norte [Diapason d’Or & Amadeus magazine’s CD of the year]; the medieval ‘opera’ Ludus Danielis; Italian Concerto, on which he is both conductor and concerto soloist [Best Early Music CD, German Phonographic Academy]; La púrpura de la rosa, the first New World opera [Noah Greenberg Award]. His recital CDs include The Harp of Luduvico (Spanish & Italian renaissance), La Harpe Royale (French Baroque), His Majesty’s Harper (Dowland & Byrd) and The Secret of the Semitones (Bach), and he has also recorded Vivaldi’s Four Seasons & Handel’s first opera, Almira, [American Handel Society CD of the Year].
The Harp Consort now records exclusively for Harmonia Mundi USA. Their chart-topping first release was Missa Mexicana: festive polyphony and popular dances from 17th-century Mexico [London Times CD of the Year]. Their second CD, Miracles (songs by Gautier de Coincy, 13th-century Prior of Vic) won the Dutch “Edison” award: it was also Gramophone Magazine’s Editor’s Choice & London Telegraph CD of the Year. Their latest release is El Arte de Fantasía: dances, tientos & chansons from the Spanish Golden Age.
Andrew Lawrence-King conducted a staged production of Peri’s Euridice at the Los Angeles Getty Centre for the 400thanniversary of the earliest opera, and this season he directs Monteverdi’s Orfeo and the medieval Ludus Danielis in Copenhagen. His work on 17th-century dances with Steven Player & The Harp Consort has won the ensemble an unparalleled reputation for stylish and entertaining stage-shows, and his duo album with Paul Hillier was chosen by Elvis Costello as record of the year in Rolling Stone magazine. Andrew’s work on early Irish harps has gained considerable attention in traditional music circles, and the two CDs of Celtic Viol, in which Andrew accompanies Jordi Savall, were awarded the Spanish Premio de la Música in consecutive years. Andrew was awarded an honorary doctorate by Sheffield University for his achievements in Baroque opera.
Andrew Lawrence-King now divides his time between solo recitals, tours with The Harp Consort, and appearances as guest director for orchestras, choirs and baroque operas in Europe, Scandinavia and the Americas, interspersed with worldwide performances of Luz y norte and Missa Mexicana. He is Principal Guest Director of Concerto Copenhagen (Scandinavia’s leading baroque orchestra), the Florentine ensemble, L’Homme Armé (specializing in baroque opera and oratorio) and the new Portuguese ensemble, La Portingaloise. He was awarded a three-year Research Fellowship by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council to research Spanish Baroque music-drama. He is now Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia, Perth; Professor of Early Harp at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London; and teaches Harp & Continuo at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. His first solo recital for Harmonia Mundi USA is Chorégraphie: Music for Louis XIV’s Dancing Masters. This season he has premiered a newly reconstructed Handel harp concerto in Kokkola, Kotka & Kouvola (Finland) and St Petersburg.
A keen sailor, Andrew holds the Royal Yachting Association’s coveted Ocean Yachtmaster certificate, and spends most of his free time aboard his boat, ‘Continuo’. This passion for the sea is expressed in his revival of Guernesiais traditional music, Les Travailleurs de la Mer: Ancient Songs from a Small Island. He lives in Guernsey with his wife, harp-maker Katerina Antonenko.