Masterclasses and workshops

Students aiming to become professional benefit enormously from contact and advice from professionals. The members of the Ensemble William Byrd are always ready and willing to share their experience and know-how in the form of master-classes. Good amateurs also benefit from workshops led by the singers and the director of the Ensemble.

Proposition for a masterclass in 2014/2015:
Vocal chamber music from the 16th and 17th centuries in its historical and practical context.

Most vocal music if this period was conceived for an ensemble of soloists. How did the singers of the period do it, having in front of them only their own separate parts, and generally no conductor?


2001-2002: The creation of the Chœur Master, a workshop/master-class for choral conductors and singers in the Val d’Oise. Over the two years, the choir worked on two different aspects of Renaissance music – sacred “Palestrina-style” polyphony, and early 17th century Italian madrigals – each year culminating in public concerts in Royaumont and Pontoise. Singers from the Ensemble William Byrd participated both in the preparation, in workshops, and in the concerts.

2002-2003: Graham O’Reilly rehearsed Carpe Diem, the Sannois music school choir, and conducted the group in concerts of French Renaissance and Italian Baroque music.

2004-2005: Weekend choral conducting course (technique, interpretation and performance) for choir directors from the Val d’Oise, in which six participants conducted a regional amateur choir.

2006-2007: The Ensemble was once again invited to create the Chœur Master of Val d’Oise in a format designed to consolidate the lessons of the conducting course. The repertoire was of English music of the 16th and 20th centuries.


Graham O’Reilly is regularly invited to conduct choirs, particularly in Renaissance and Baroque repertoire, and give Master-classes and workshops:

2006: The Choir of the Ambronay Festival. Preparation over six week-ends and a four-day course, followed by three concerts, one of them within the festival.

2007: At the request of Argenteuil’s Cultural Development Department, Graham O’Reilly and some members of the Ensemble gave 50 children aged 10 to 13 from the Argenteuil Children’s Choir an introduction to English Renaissance music culminating in a concert at Argenteuil Cathedral.

2006: Masterclass on the vocal music of Charpentier during the Stockholm Festival.

2007: he was invited by the chamber choir Cori Spezzati to rehearse and direct a programme of English music.

2007: Masterclass and workshops on Portuguese 17th century music during the Festival of Evora (Eborae Musicae).

2008 : he was invited to conduct the Choir of Radio France in a programme of 17th century Iberian music, a repertoire repeated with the Maitrise de Caen in 2010.

2011/2012: Again with the Maîtrise de Caen, he conducted a programme of the music of Percy Grainger in 2011, and repeated the programme with the Choir of Radio France the following year.

2013 : he gave introductory talks on the interpretation of Early Music to students of the Clermont-Ferrand Conservatoire. He also gave a master-class on English baroque repertoire to the Singing class.

2014 : Masterclass on the Monteverdi Vespers with the Atelier Baroque de Brunoy.

2014 : Masterclass on English Renaissance music with the singing class of the Conservatoire de Toulon.

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