Bridget Cunningham

Bridget Cunningham is an international conductor, prizewinning harpsichordist and musicologist who trained at the Royal College of Music and was awarded a Junior Fellowship to work in the Centre for Performance History and coach singers in the baroque style.

As Artistic Director of London Early Opera, Cunningham is creating, researching and conducting an ongoing series of Handel recordings with Signum Classics exploring Handel the man, his music and his travels to capture musical snapshots of moments in his life. These new CDs are being released worldwide and include Handel in Italy Vol.1 & Vol.2, Handel in Ireland Vol.1 and Handel at Vauxhall Vol.1 & Vol.2 and Handel’s Queens;

“Handel has never sounded better” BBC Music Magazine 5 Stars, October 2019

Her solo harpsichord performances include playing for Prince Charles and the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace, Maison Hine and Château de Hautefort in France, the London Handel Festival and a broadcast on Austria’s National Radio Stephansdom with pianist Angela Hewitt. She coaches The Handelians from London Early Opera and collaborates with the Schola Pietatis Antonio Vivaldi and baroque dance groups including Mercurius Company and Les Plaisirs Des Nations performing with them at Yale University. She also gives lecture recitals and concerts at Art Galleries including the opening of ‘Watteau: The Drawings Exhibition’ at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

Cunningham is a versatile conductor and harpsichordist and has performed at several prestigious venues and festivals including the Opera house Teatro Petruzzelli Bari, Yale University’s Center for British Art America and recently conducted Handel’s Semele, Bach’s Easter Oratorio and also Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro, Serenade, Haydn Harpsichord and Violin Concerto and Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen in a Romantic and Gipsy programme at St Martin-in-the Fields, London for the Music of the Spheres Ensemble.  She also directed a world premiere by Grace Evangeline-Mason commissioned by the BBC to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of Handel’s Water Music – broadcast live on the River Thames with London Early Opera. Other broadcasts include BBC 2 Messiah, BBC 4 Vivaldi’s Women, Radio 4 Front Row and Radio 3 In Tune, SkyArts, RTE, RTP and a short film for Handel and Hendrix in London.

  • London Early Opera follow up their debut release with a treasure trove of music by George Frideric Handel, as well as his contemporaries Thomas Arne and John Hebden, centered on the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens – a carnival of music and entertainments that entertained visitors for nearly 200 years. The booklet notes features images and expert commentaries of the Vauxhall Gardens by author David E. Coke and conductor and musicologist Bridget Cunningham. ★★★★★ Revelatory - a superbly performed, thoroughly enjoyable disc - Choir & Organ A treasure trove... highly recommended - The Northern Echo Bridget Cunningham's re-imagining of the first part of a typical evening's entertainment puts George Frideric centrestage, and sets the scene delectably with the flirtatious bustle of the Sinfonia to Acis and Galatea - BBC Music Magazine An attractive potpourri... bright, lively sound - The Observer A perfectly sensible and enjoyable approach to imagining what a typical night at Vauxhall might have sounded like. There is a charming ebba and flow to this hypothetical entertainment - Gramophone Most decorously sung and played by London Early Opera, conducted by Bridget Cunningham - Financial Times
  • London Early Opera continue their programme themed around a typical evening’s entertainment at the 17th & 18th century Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, with a second collection of works by George Frideric Handel and contemporary composers of the day (John Stanley, Thomas Gladwin, John Lampe and Johann Adolph Hasse). Featuring performances by soloists Claire Bessent, Mary Bevan, Benjamin Bevan, Eleanor Dennis, Charles MacDougale, Nicky Spence and Greg Tassell, the programme evokes the carnival of music and entertainments that amused visitors in these London gardens for nearly 200 years. The booklet notes feature images and expert commentaries on the Vauxhall Gardens by author David E. Coke and as well as conductor and musicologist Bridget Cunningham. Claire Bessent’s lovely ‘There sweetest flowers of mingled hue’ is amply worth the price of admissionGramophone A must for early music devotees - Northern Echo  
  • Bridget Cunningham marks St Patrick’s Day with a new harpsichord CD that gives a glimpse into Handel’s fascinating time in Dublin. In 1741 at the age of 56, following a financially difficult time in London and with fashions turning against Italian opera, Handel went to Dublin for 9 months – a thriving musical city and the 2nd largest in the British Isles after London. The story of this fascinating trip is told in both music and detailed accompanying notes by harpsichordist and musicologist Bridget Cunningham. This disc is part of Cunningham’s ongoing series with the ensemble London Early Opera, which has already seen releases of several volumes of Handel’s music, including Handel in Italy and Handel at Vauxhall.
  • London Early Opera continue their new series of Handel’s works with the second volume of pieces composed in Italy. Both volumes of Handel in Italy explore the young composer’s Italian years through his cantatas, sacred pieces, operatic works and instrumental compositions. Handel wrote prolifically during his stay in Italy, his output includes oratorios, operas, sonatas, instrumental works and sacred vocal masterpieces including over 100 cantatas. Featuring performances from internationally acclaimed soloists, the sopranos Sophie Bevan and Mary Bevan with their uncle, baritone Benjamin Bevan conducted and conceived by Bridget Cunningham.
  • London Early Opera perform a unique programme of Handel’s Italian-inspired works, devised by conductor Bridget Cunningham and featuring a unique family collaboration from from world-renowned soprano sisters Sophie Bevan and Mary Bevan alongside their uncle, bass Benjamin Bevan. Editor's Pick: This is as polished an account as any on account of Sophie Bevan's unerring sense of decorum for what each movement requires Gramophone The quality of the musicianship is highBBC Music Magazine A dazzling disc from the Bevan siblingsThe Observer An enjoyable showcase for Mary, Sophie and Benjamin Bevan - The Sunday Times A pleasant compilation, showcasing the considerable vocal talents of three of the Bevan familyEarly Music Review
  • Handel’s Queens features some of the most exquisite pieces of music written by G.F. Handel and his contemporaries for the two finest singers of the eighteenth century, Faustina Bordoni and Francesca Cuzzoni. Often wrongfully framed as rivals, these dazzling new recordings with Mary Bevan and Lucy Crowe reveal the distinctive yet versatile talent of the Italian vocalists.  Conductor Bridget Cunningham continues her research and created Handel’s Queens and directs London Early Opera from the harpsichord. Handel’s Queens - as part of this important series serves as a further example of Cunningham’s dedication to imaginative programming and outstanding period performance on this double CD placing her at the forefront of baroque research and recording.
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