Photo: Robert Piwko
Clare Norburn is a playwright and soprano. She studied music at Leeds University and London College of Music. She has sung as a soloist with many medieval ensembles including her own group The Telling, Mediva (who were finalists in the York International Young Artists Competition and selected for Southbank Centre’s Fresh Young Artists Series), Eclipse and Vox Animae with whom she has recorded and performed medieval abbess, Hildegard of Bingen’s music drama Ordo Virtutum. She has performed throughout the country as a soloist including at The Purcell Room, The Bridgewater Hall and at leading festivals including Spitalfields Music, Brighton Festival, Newbury Spring Festival and Buxton Festival.
Since 2010 Clare has been developing a new genre of concert/plays for actor(s) with live music. This May saw the premiere of her eighth concert/play project Burying the Dead for the ensemble Ceruleo which will be performed 14 times in 2018/19.
Her Beethoven’s Quartet Journey (a cycle of 6 concert/plays to accompany a full cycle of all Beethoven’s string quartets) was developed with funding from Arts Council England with the full cycle premiered in Lympstone, Devon. It featured on Radio 4’s Today programme. Several performances will go to Bury St Edmunds, Wimbledon International Music Festival, St George’s Bristol and Tetbury Festival in 2018. Extracts were performed at the Southbank Centre’s Study Day in October.
Clare’s third concert/play, Breaking the Rules, received a 4 star review in The Guardian: “vivid and daring one man psychodrama”. It is a collaboration with vocal ensemble The Marian Consort, with actor Gerald Kyd as composer and murderer Carlo Gesualdo, directed by Nicholas Renton. It toured 17 major UK festivals/promoters in 2016 and 2017 including Cheltenham, Bath, Newbury, Brighton, Buxton and Lichfield Festivals, funded by Arts Council England and was recently performed at LSO St Luke’s. It will tour again in 2019 to Bridgewater Hall and St George’s Bristol.
She has written three shows about women (including the medieval Abbess Hildegard of Bingen) for her medieval group The Telling whose 17-date tour in 2018/19 will visit Buxton Festival, Music at Oxford, Stroud Green Festival, Omnibus Theatre (Clapham), Little Missenden Festival, Kingston Festival of the Voice and Colchester Early Music.
Together with soprano Deborah Roberts, Clare co-founded Brighton Early Music Festival. She recently stepped down after 15 years to concentrate on writing and singing. She is Artistic-Director of Stroud Green Festival, North London’s quirkiest acoustic music festival. She trains and mentors young ensembles for the National Centre for Early Music, Handel House, Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. She ran the Early Music Live! scheme for 10 years at Brighton Early Music, and has supported a number of young ensembles at Stroud Green Festival, helping them develop new projects, secure bookings with promoters and funding. She also works as a freelance arts fundraiser.