Musical Director

Michael Fields

Michael Fields (born October 25, 1951) is a British-American musician - conductor, composer and guitar, lute, theorbo and ukulele player.

Fields began his musical journey playing folk, rock and jazz in California, where he also majored in music and theatre studies at Cabrillo College, Santa Cruz. Fields then turned his attention to classical guitar and piano and spent two years at the Melba Conservatorium in Melbourne, Australia. A growing interest in early music led him to England in 1974 where he continued his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, studying classical guitar with Hector Quine and lute with Anthony Rooley, Nigel North, Jakob Lindberg in England, and with Hopkinson Smith in Basel. He received the AGSM and LRAM diplomas in 1977.

Michael Fields combines his experience in music with a considerable knowledge of history, art, theatre and philosophy in a varied career - performing, directing, teaching and record-producing - which has taken him around the world several times. As a soloist, Michael Fields has given recitals in the USA, Australia and England, and performed the Vivaldi Lute Concerto on lute, classical guitar and baroque guitar. In 2001, he performed Rodrigo´s Concerto de Aranjuez with the Camden Chamber Orchestra in London, to mark the composer´s centenary.

His work with soprano Evelyn Tubb finds admirers world-wide. Critics have praised "the absolute affinity between voice and instrument" achieved by the duo, and commented that "Fields´ lute playing accompanied the voice with a precision and harmony rarely found between singer and accompanist." (L´Arena, Verona). They have recorded many CDs together - including three of English Ayres, one of Italian baroque arias by Sigismondo D´India, a collection of Lieder with 19th century guitar, and a collection of their own arrangements of classical favourites. Their latest release is a CD of medieval song, entitled "The Troubadour and the Nun".

Michael and Evelyn co-direct the baroque ensemble Sprezzatura, who have recorded a CD "Brotherly Love" of music by Daniel Purcell (Henry´s younger brother) and Kaleidoscope, an ensemble of voice, flute and guitar, whose CD, Pavan features some of his own compositions. Michael Fields is regarded as a leading interpreter of the works of Hildegard of Bingen. He directs the vocal ensemble, Vox Animae, whose audio and video recordings of Hildegard´s Ordo Virtutum have received international acclaim. They have appeared at the York Early Music Festival, Bournemouth Festival, at early music festivals in Denmark and Germany, and have broadcast for the BBC and Danish Radio.

Mayfield Chamber Opera Company, which Michael founded to specialise in Baroque opera, has mounted productions of Dido and Aeneas (Purcell), The Beggar´s Opera (John Gay), and given the first modern staged performances of Semele (John Eccles - 1707) under his direction. He has been a guest conductor/director of productions of The Fairy Queen and Acis and Galatea in Riga, Latvia, and of Dido and Aeneas in Belgrade. As Music Director of the chamber choir, Polyphony, Fields has conducted repertoire ranging from Baroque to Contemporary music, including performances of the Marc-Antoine Charpentier Messe de Minuit and Te Deum, Vivaldi Gloria, Rutter Gloria and Mozart Coronation Mass. This year saw the premiere of his own composition, Midsummer Mass for choir, soloists and orchestra. Michael has also taught early music courses in Britain, Finland, Latvia, Poland, Serbia, Italy and the USA, often in collaboration with the British Council. He has directed a number of Medieval and Baroque music projects at Dartington International Summer School, where he has also taught lute song and madrigal masterclasses. He has been the Musical Director of the early music festival, Sastamala Gregoriana, in Finland since 2005. Michael has taught guitar and lute at Westminster School in London since 1978.

Michael Fields has produced recordings for the Ring Ensemble (vocal ensemble; Finland) and the Egidius Ensemble (vocal ensemble; Holland), and for Finchcocks early keyboard museum in England. On lighter notes, Michael plays lute & guitar on the Van Morrison album Magic Time, has his own jazz group, Jazzmatazz, and has featured as arranger, guitar and harmonica player on a CD of songs promoting organic breakfast cereals.

Michael Fields' website