Oliver Webber – Baroque Violin
Thursday 25 August 2022
“Oliver Webber deserves a knighthood for services to period violin performance. He is a fount of historical knowledge…his sound gleams like metal in moonlight.” The Gramophone
Oliver has had a passion for the music of Monteverdi and his contemporaries since his student days in the Hague. He has been a been a key figure at the heart of historical performance for 20 years, and can be heard in concert and on disc with many of the UK’s best known period instrument ensembles: he is the leader of Ludus Baroque (Edinburgh) and principal and guest leader with the Gabrieli Consort and Players, The London Handel Orchestra, the Early Opera Company and the Hanover Band.
As a soloist he has performed on violin, viola d’amore and violino piccolo at major London and British venues, as well as festivals throughout Europe such as the Festival Paganiniano di Carro in Italy, and Vrijdag van Vredenburg in Utrecht. He is also frequently called upon as a leader and director abroad, with De Swaen, Amsterdam and Barokkanerne, Oslo and in 2012, he led the string band for Andrew Parrott’s ground-breaking recording of Orfeo.
Much in demand as a chamber musician, Oliver is a member of the Parley of Instruments, Passacaglia, Abbandonata and the London Handel Players, whose recent recordings for Somm have been described as “performances that are perfection itself, with a dazzling beauty of tone and of phrasing”.
Almost uniquely among performers, Oliver makes his own gut strings; with luthier George Stoppani he has helped to re-string several baroque orchestras (including the Gabrielis) in the light of the most recent historical research. He is a professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and lectures throughout Europe on various aspects of historical performance. He is currently engaged in a project to re-create the Italian violin band of the 17th century in all its original glory: the Monteverdi Violins are the first part of this enterprise; other research interests include ornamentation from 1580 to 1850, and historical violin and bow holds. Bringing the fruits of scholarly research to life on the concert platform is a driving force behind his work.
Oliver lives in London with his wife and 2 sons, although they spend as much time as possible in the mountains of Liguria.