Jeffrey Skidmore   conductor

Jeffrey Skidmore

Jeffrey is the founder and conductor of Ex Cathedra and has directed Lacock courses in Jimena de la Frontera, Zoagli in Liguria, and Monteconero, as well as at the Lacock Summer School itself. In June 2014 he  returned to Monteconero to direct a course based on Monteverdi’s Madrigali Spirituali.

Jeffrey Skidmore was eighteen when he founded Ex Cathedra in his home city of Birmingham. He subsequently studied music with David Wulstan at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was a Choral Scholar under Bernard Rose. As Artistic Director and Conductor of Ex Cathedra he has pioneered historically informed performances of Renaissance and Baroque music in Birmingham and the West Midlands, and directed the first performances of many new editions, including two French Baroque operas, Zaide by Royer and Isis by Lully. He has prepared his own editions of Monteverdi’s Spiritual Madrigals and was recently awarded Honorary Fellowships from the University of Birmingham and the University of Central England.

Although Jeffrey now concentrates on conducting and research, he is actively involved in music education. He is Director of Ex Cathedra Education, Artistic Director of the Early Music Programme at the Birmingham Conservatoire and a Vocal Consultant for Walsall Education Department. Ex Cathedra is widely acknowledged as one of the finest ensembles in the UK, with a growing international reputation for its trailblazing performances of early music, and as a leading exponent of choral training and vocal skills education. Since its formation by Jeffrey Skidmore in Birmingham in 1969, Ex Cathedra has grown into a unique musical resource, comprising specialist chamber choir, vocal consort of 8–12 voices, period-instrument orchestra, and thriving education programme. The nurturing, development and showcasing of young local talent is an integral part of Ex Cathedra’s artistic policy. In addition to its own subscription series – which spans music from the 15th to 21st centuries – in Birmingham and London, Ex Cathedra has performed in festivals across Europe including the BBC Proms, Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music, Festival d’Art Sacré in Paris, Festival du Vieux Lyon, York Early Music Festival, Lourdes International Festival of Sacred Music, Bruges Early Music Festival and festivals in Italy, Finland and Israel.

Ex Cathedra collaborates regularly with other Birmingham-based arts organisations, most recently with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for a programme of Fauré and Lalande in Symphony Hall and with Birmingham Royal Ballet on productions of David Bintley’s ballet of Carmina Burana in Birmingham and Edinburgh, which was also recorded for BBC Television. Recent CD recordings include Music for the Sun King (Hyperion) and Christmas Music by Candlelight (on Ex Cathedra’s own label). Vivaldi Vespers, Lalande Grands Motets, Lassus Sacred Choral Music and Monteverdi Madrigals ‘made Spiritual’ are available on ASV Gaudeamus label and A New Heaven is released on Ex Cathedra’s own label.