Florisma is a period chamber ensemble specialising in baroque music. They perform nationally in recital and for private events, and have recently released their first CD to critical acclaim.
“A very sparky, exciting new ensemble, Florisma strikes just the right balance of passion, precision and musical insight. It was a joy to work with such fine musicians” – Penelope Spencer
Soprano Penelope Appleyard, baroque cellist Hetti Price and recorder player Michelle Holloway began playing chamber music together while they students at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. While studying here they were joined by harpsichordist and organist William Drakett, and they went on to win the Conservatoire’s Early Music Prize, in which they were praised for their communication, expression and creative ornamentation. They performed in the Early Music platform and received chamber coaching from baroque cellist Henrik Persson as well as guidance from Andrew King and Dr Shirley Thompson.
The four all graduated with distinctions in performance and after a period of time busily building freelance careers after music college, came back together to officially launch a chamber group which they called Florisma (an amalgamation of the words flourish and melisma!) and record their first disc together, Handel’s Neun Deutsche Arien (Convivium Records) to critical acclaim. This disc has been described as “engaging and colourful” in a 5 star review from Robert Hugill, as “a lovely recording: beautifully sung” by renowned counter tenor James Bowman, and as "a pleasure from first note to last" by singer and radio presenter Catherine Bott. (See more on our disc release and review pages!) The disc was launched with a live performance of the nine arias at the Gresham Centre, London, in October 2017. They are becoming recognised for their creative and playful approach to high baroque music, and are frequently described as communicating a real "sense of joy" (planethugill.com) in both their recording and in live performance.
2018 is an exciting time for Florisma, as a new group to the concert circuit, with a new CD to promote, and a new harpsichordist, Marta Lopez Fernandez. They are looking forward to a series of concerts, including a return to the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire to perform in their new recital hall. They are also planning to explore performing English pleasure gardens repertoire in outdoor concerts, including at Canons Park, where Handel used to live and work. Florisma are interested in bringing early music to unexpected locations (to modern audiences at least!) and particularly bringing early English repertoire back into the community.
Penelope Appleyard - Soprano - www.penelopeappleyard.co.uk
Michelle Holloway - Recorders
Hetti Price - Baroque 'Cello/Viols - www.hettiprice.co.uk
Aileen Henry - Triple Harp
Marta Lopez Fernandez - Harpsichord
Penelope Spencer - Baroque violin
Karin Björk - Baroque violin
Gail Hennessey - Baroque oboe
Hector Sequera - Lute - www.cantastorie05.com
Asako Ogawa - Harpsichord
William Drakett - Harpsichord
Sara Wilander - Harpsichord