Gail Hennessy was born in Wisconsin in the USA, and studied modern oboe in Louisville, Kentucky and Historical Performance Practice at Washington University before travelling to Britain in 1982, where she studied baroque oboe with the late David Reichenberg, and was an apprentice to baroque oboe maker Mary Kirkpatrick. She has also been influenced by playing in masterclasses given by the Dutch oboist Ku Ebbinge and Michel Piguet of Switzerland.
She now regularly plays and records with many of Britain’s early music groups including the Hanover Band, Parley of Instruments, New London Consort, St James’s Baroque Players, Ex Cathedra, the London Oboe Band, and her own group, Musetta, and has also played for Les Arts Florissants, Anima Eterma, the Gabrieli Players, the English Concert and the Academy of Ancient Music.
Gail teaches baroque oboe at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, at Birmingham Conservatoire, at the Dartington International Summer School and at the Cambridge Early Music Summer Schools.
She performs frequently as a soloist for radio and in festivals throughout the world, including a concerto tour of Japan in 1986, a Vivaldi concerto for the Lufthansa Festival, and a performance and recording of a newly discovered 18th century concerto in the USA in February 1999 (by Madame Laschansky).
As well as appearing on numerous recordings as an orchestral and obligato player she can also be heard on disc as a soloist in a Vivaldi trio with fellow oboist Paul Goodwin for Harmonia Mundi, and as oboe d’amore soloist in a Bach sinfonia with the New London Consort of Decca ’s L’Oiseau-Lyre label.
Nicholas Parle was born in Sydney, Australia, and after completing his Bachelor of Music studies at the University of Sydney he moved to London in 1985. In 1989 he won the First Prize in the International Harpsichord Competition in Brugge, Belgium, only the 3rd time in its 30-year history that a first prize had been awarded. Now, in addition to appearing as both soloist and continuo player throughout Europe, Japan and Australia, he increasingly teaches harpsichord, and is professor of harpsichord at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, as well as holding courses in Poland, Hungary, Australia and Japan.
Gail and Nicholas first played together in London in 1986, and discovered a strong musical rapport. Their decision to record Bach sonatas for oboe and harpsichord grew in particular from their performances over the years of the ‘big’ G minor sonata (BWV 1030b), a challenging work that, like much great music, reveals more and more with each playing.
Rodolfo Richter studied violin with Klaus Wusthoff, Pinchas Zukermann and Monica Huggett, and composition with Hans Joachim Koellreutter and Pierre Boulez. He is now a member of the Palladian Ensemble, and also performs with Sonnerie, Hausmusik, The English Concert, the Academy of Ancient Music, and many other groups.
Sally Holman studied bassoon at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and baroque and classical bassoon with Donna Agrell in the Hague. She now performs with many leading period instrument groups in Britain and Holland, and is equally in demand as a soloist and chamber musician. She is a founder member of the trio Apollo and Pan, winner of the 2001 International Early Music Network Young Artists’ Competition.
Katherine Sharman was born in New Zealand, where she studied both modern and baroque cello. She received a grant to continue her studies in England, where she now resides. She plays principal cello for several period instrument groups. Highly regarded as a continuo cellist, she also appears as a soloist, as well as in a duo with fortepianist Geoffrey Govier.
Peter McCarthy studied double bass with Peter Leah in Huddersfield, and composition with Alexander Goehr at Leeds University. He is now the bass player for The English Concert, and is the UK expert on the history of very large string basses.