Susanna Pell


Photo: © Dominika Maria Alkhodari

​Susanna studied music at the University of York and then went on to study the viol with Jordi Savall at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel. That was a very long time ago!

In 1987 she joined the innovative medieval ensemble The Dufay Collective and a year later gave her first performance with the world renowned viol consort Fretwork, becoming a full-time member soon afterwards. With these groups she toured the USA, Japan, South America, Australia, the Middle East and India, in addition to performances closer to home, and made many recordings for radio and disc, including Purcell: Complete Fantazias (Winner of the Baroque Instrumental Gramophone Award 2009 : Editor’s Choice, Classic FM Magazine July 2009); Birds on Fire - Jewish Music for Viols (Gramophone Magazine: September 2008—Editor’s Choice). With Fretwork she has performed a large body of newly commissioned music by such composers as George Benjamin, Orlando Gough, Alexander Goehr, Elvis Costello, Gavin Bryars and Tan Dun and appeared on Ryuichi Sakamoto's recent disc Out of Noise.

She performed on the soundtrack of several films, among them Zeffirelli's Hamlet, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and The Da Vinci Code and appears on Kate Bush's 2005 release Aerial. Her freelance music making saw her regularly appearing with The Purcell Quartet, Phantasm, The New London Consort, The Taverner Consort, The King's Consort, The Sixteen, The Parley of Instruments and Opera Restor'd. In 2006 she qualified as a teacher of the Alexander Technique and in 2007 relocated from London to Richmond, North Yorkshire with her husband, lutenist Jacob Heringman and daughter, Edie.

In 2011 a desire to reduce her carbon footprint and to spend more time at home prompted her to quit air travel, and therefore international touring, and she is now focusing her energy on performing and teaching as locally as possible. She directs viol consorts at the Universities of York and Durham and has a strong teaching base in the North East: at summer schools Norvis and HISS, and running her own courses. She is focusing her performing on her duo with Jacob Heringman, Pellingmans' Saraband and The Herschel Players with flautist Graham O'Sullivan, violinist Huw Daniel and harpsichordist, Mie Hayashi, whilst occasionally revisiting her former life as a guest with Fretwork.

Jacob Heringman


Photo: © Piotr Lysakowski

The American-born lutenist Jacob Heringman studied with Jakob Lindberg at the Royal College of Music in London, and later with Pat O'Brien in New York.

Settling in England in 1987, he quickly established himself as one of the world’s most respected and most innovative solo lute players, and as a much sought-after ensemble player performing regularly throughout Europe, North and South America, and the Far East. Jacob has made many CD and radio recordings of medieval and renaissance music with leading English ensembles, including The Rose Consort of Viols, Fretwork, Alamire, Musicians of the Globe, The King's Singers, The New London Consort, Virelai, and the Dufay Collective. In recent years, Jacob has been increasingly involved in crossover and contemporary music projects, arranging a large body of material for performances and ECM recordings by the ensemble Alternative History, and for duo programmes with John Potter.

As a continuo player, Jacob Heringman has performed and recorded with The King's Consort, The English Baroque Soloists, The Parley of Instruments and The Taverner Consort, among many others.

As a soloist, Jacob released his first CD, Holburns Passion: music for lute, cittern and bandora by Anthony Holborne, on the ASV label in 1998. This disc was chosen by Gramophone Magazine as one of the best CDs of 1999. Black Cow: lute music by Valentin Bakfark and Matthaeus Waissel was Jacob's first disc for Robert Fripp’s DGM label. His second for DGM, the first lute CD ever to be devoted to the music of the great Josquin Des Prez, was released in 2000, and has received numerous superlative reviews, notably in Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine. It had already attracted attention and a cover story in Early Music Today even before its release. Jacob’s fourth, fifth and sixth solo CDs are on the AVIE label: Jane Pickeringe’s Lute Book (2002), The Art of the Lute Player (2002) and The Siena Lute Book (2004) have all received high acclaim in the music press. After a long gap, Inviolata: Josquin des Prez was released in 2021, for the 500th anniversary of Josquin’s death.

As an accompanist, Jacob Heringman has performed and recorded lute songs with Emma Kirkby, John Potter, Michael Chance, and Barbara Bonney, among others. He was also part of a duo with the mezzo-soprano Catherine King, with whom he toured extensively and recorded four lute song discs for ASV and Linn, all of which were greeted with high praise from reviewers. One of these, entitled Airs de Cour, for which the duo was joined by the tenor Charles Daniels, was voted one of the top CDs of 1999 by both Gramophone and the BBC Music Magazine. Most recently, Jacob has been performing regularly with the singer Clare Wilkinson.

In 1990, Jacob founded the group Virelai with viol player Susanna Pell, singer Catherine King, and flautist William Lyons. Virelai specialises in music of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, with occasional forays into modern music. Virelai has made three CDs for Virgin, and a BBC Music Magazine cover CD. A CD of specially commissioned modern settings of renaissance love poetry, entitled Sad Steps, was released by Riverrun Records in 2002.

Jacob Heringman's lute playing can also be heard on the soundtracks of many films, including Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Kingdom of Heaven, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, and The Hobbit, among many others.

Jacob has taught at many universities and conservatoires, and at various Lute Society (UK and USA) and other summer schools, including the American Lute Society's courses in Vancouver, Cleveland and Amherst, the UK Lute Society's weekend courses, Cambridge Early Music Summer Schools, and the Historically Informed Summer School.

Since 2004, Jacob has been a qualified teacher of the Alexander Technique, certified by the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT). Since 2011, Jacob has restricted his touring exclusively to locations that can be reached without air travel.