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About Sestina

Northern Ireland
Sestina is an early music ensemble based in Belfast, Northern Ireland and made up of young professionals and students.

At the core of Sestina’s philosophy is learning through collaboration with and mentoring by professional musicians, expert performers in their chosen field. Gifted young musicians have been hand picked at the beginning of their professional careers. It is Sestina’s aim to nurture and encourage this excellence and to present an ensemble of the highest quality and energy. The main aim of the group is to showcase and train gifted young Irish musicians, giving them the opportunity to deliver impeccable and historically informed performances. Our vibrancy and commitment paired with our passion and enthusiasm for early music is what sets us apart. We are an ensemble that is determined to succeed. History of Sestina They first met in August 2011 to participate in the benchmark performance, conducted by Paul McCreesh, of Mendelssohn’s Elijah as part of the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. As members of the Ulster Youth Choir they were so inspired by this unique occasion that they approached countertenor and teacher, Mark Chambers, to continue making music at the highest possible level. Following their debut performance in December 2011, the group approached Paul McCreesh to be their Patron. On accepting this position Paul McCreesh wrote: ‘I’m really delighted to be asked to be patron of this new and exciting vocal group; it’s vitally important to encourage singers to sing in consort, and to help bridge the gap between talented students and young professionals; this group have come together as a result of Greg Beardsell’s excellent work with the Ulster Youth Choir, and our own Gabrieli Young Singers’ Scheme; that they are coached by Mark Chambers, an outstanding Gabrieli singer and acclaimed soloist and teacher, augurs very well for an exciting future…’ Our name is taken from a piece in Monteverdi’s Sixth Book of Madrigals, performed at one of the new ensemble’s early concerts.