Sophia Brumfitt has performed as an oratorio soloist, and with renaissance and medieval ensembles. Her versatile and agile voice has enabled her to work in areas spanning the entire spectrum of early music; from Medieval to Early Classical, through traditional Celtic and Sephardic song.
Sophia took her MMus in Historical Musicology and Ethnomusicology at Royal Holloway (RHUL) writing a dissertation on the variances between troubadour songs in manuscripts as evidence of oral tradition and the influence of song carriers seen in those songs. This led her to revive the ensemble Maiden in the Moor with Rebecca Austen-Brown in order to explore ways of storytelling through song using modern technology such as electronic treatments and looping while respecting and celebrating the times and ethos of their origins.
She has also combined forces with Emma Altar and Toby Carr to perform as Maniera. The ensemble Maniera is named after The New Style of Italian music that bridges the gap between the late renaissance and Early Baroque. All specialists in Early Baroque, we aim to bring life to this most expressive moment in music where vocal and instrumental were so effectively linked.
Over the last year, Sophia has been involved in composing and performing music for the Theatre Voliere production of Lyonnesse in collaboration with the environmental poet Dom Bury. Unfortunately, this production has been delayed by the 2020 Coronavirus Arts Shutdown.
Originally founded in 2002 with Australian Lutenist- Rosemary Hodgson after meeting at RCM, they toured both UK and Australia with programmes: The Garden of Verses and Zabaglione, an Italian Flummery.
In 2012 Sophia travelled to Australia for a four week tour of Australia with Rosa Mundi. The programme Domestic Divas revived music for the rarely heard 18th century HarpLute along with theorbo and Lute songs following a week as Artists in Residence with the Bundanon Trust in NSW.
Environmental considerations have limited our opportunities to play together, but watch this space, we have limitless ideas for developing projects and cannot wait to work on those when the time is right.
Songs for Mary Hodgson
Sophia continues to update and research the programme she first performed in 2001 on the Songs for Mary Hodgson: a programme of songs from the 1690s London Stage, which she and harpsichordist Robert Howarth revived in 2005 for various music festivals throughout the UK. In 2001 she researched, presented, promoted and performed a programme of songs from the 1690s' London Stage written for the female singer Mary Hodgson. She and Robert Howarth revived this programme in June last year for Salisbury Festival, for the UCL Bloomsbury Theatre in London and for the Dolmetsch Christmas Lecture-Recital at the Merchant's House in Marlborough, Wilts.
She is affiliated with Loki Music in concerts of Music from the Library of Jane Austen with Taro Takeuchi and William Summers and Lazarus Rising and the Tears of Rachel with William Summers and Keith McGowan using traditional stories and songs along with historical sources to explore the changing nature of the English landscape and cultural diversity. She also sings Lute Songs regularly with Din Ghani’s Musicke in the Ayre in various programmes at Charterhouse, The Foundling Hospital, St. Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, and for the George Herbert Society.
Sophia’s singing was featured in 2016 in the BBC4 series ‘Renaissance Unchained’ and again in the 2020 productions of the ‘Art Mysteries’. Waldemar Janusczcak heard her singing in a local church, employing her on the spot as the ideal performer to illustrate the power of text, and ‘the heavenly in music’. She was able to assemble musicians, and research and compile music for these recordings.
A strong collaborator, keen to add her musical knowledge and skills to other forms of performance, she made her acting debut at DownPatrick Opera Fringe Festival, Northern Ireland, in Anthony Blatchworth's 'Demetrius, Prince of Tuscany'.
Combining solo song with dance in the Mercurius Company baroque dance project Orpheus Britannicus at Cadogan Hall.
Lead and directed the section of ‘Singing Nuns’ for Teatro Korazon’s Mistérios Antigos in the 2017 production for the Agueda Festival in Portugal.
Other non-traditional and collaborative performances have included sung chants from the liturgical Play of the Sybils for Julia Pond Dance and a spontaneously composed event on works in an exhibition by Dr. Helen Scalway in Singing the Drawings at St. George's Church, Esher.
Bardos Band gathered in 2005 to explore the links between medieval music and storytelling. They perform mesmerising European songs and powerful instrumental dance music from 11th to 15th centuries, unused with the flavours of Celtic, Balkan, Sephardic and middle-Eastern traditions. As the bulk of their programmes comprise simply written monophonic song - with no harmony or counterpoint, the musicians use their combined knowledge of the past, together with the art of improvisation to create their own soundscape to illuminate the drama of the songs.
Also featuring, Rebecca Austen-Brown, Arngeir Hauksson, Corrina Silvester and Jon Banks.
Sophia Brumfitt has also sung soprano solos in Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers at Douai Abbey, and at Clifton Cathedral, Bristol, J.S. Bach’s Bminor Mass at Sherborne Abbey. She also sings Bach arias at St. Anne’s Church, Highgate West Hill, where she is a regular cantor.
She has appeared in concerts at Melbourne Recital Centre, AgitÁgueda, Festival de Musique Baroque d’Ambronnay, Utrecht Conservatorium, York Early Music Festival, The Swan Theatre- RSC, Brighton Early Music Festival, St. David’s Festival, The National Portrait Gallery, Liverpool Hope University, The Handel House Museum, Totnes Early Music Society, Haslemere Museum, The Dolmetsch Foundation, Bloomsbury Theatre, Cadogan Hall, Upstairs at the Gatehouse, The King of HeArts in Norfolk and Norwich Festival, Music in Quiet Places, Celebrate Voice, Salisbury International Arts Festival and Vancouver Early Music Festival.