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Deborah Roberts


As a long-term member of the world-renowned Tallis Scholars Deborah Roberts performed with the group in well over a 1000 concerts around the world, took part in countless recordings of rare and beautiful music and gained a deep insight into renaissance polyphony. Although she decided eventually that her other, growing activites needed more time, she still occasionally sings with the group and teaches regularly on their international summer schools in Sydney, Seattle and Oakham.

Undoubtedly, however, co founding and directing (with Clare Norburn) Brighton Early Music Festival, now the second largest festival of its kind in the UK, is a major driving focus of her life. From a collection of just six concerts in 2002, relying on the generosity of musician colleagues to donate their time, the festival rapidly expanded, and within another 2 years was receiving Arts Council support, and mounting sixteen concerts featuring top international ensembles as well as a weekend of workshops. As the festival approaches its 10th anniversary it is now securely on the international map as a major world-wide cultural event, and one that has set new standards in imaginative programming, breaking down traditional barriers and restoring the living spirit and context of music and related arts.

Deborah loves directing choirs, and is responsible for running the festival's three vocal ensembles, ranging from a community choir to an elite vocal consort. She also runs the festival's Choral Directors' Apprenticeship Scheme which offers hands on training for two inexperienced young musicians each year, helping them to develop skills that will enhance their professional lives both as performers and directors.

As a trained music editor Deborah has always been fascinated by research and the discovery of new repertoire and performance contexts. Back in the 1990's she founded Musica Secreta, an ensemble of female voices and continuo that researches and performs a repertoire of richly sensuous music (both sacred and secular), that has helped re establish the role of women as performers, interpreters and composers of music from the 16th and 17th centuries.

In 2000 she was joined by scholar and world expert on female performing ensembles, Laurie Stras, of Southampton University. Between them they have devised ground breaking and hugely popular programmes including Sacred Hearts and Secret Music, a music-drama based on the best selling novel Sacred Hearts, by Sarah Dunant. Set in a sixteenth-century convent at a time when up to half of noble women were forcibly enclosed, it combines a gripping story with the recreation of the astonishing sound world of the great convent choirs of the time.

Whenever she can find the time Deborah enjoys running, sea swimming and spending as much time in Triora as possible. She lives on the Hove seafront with her partner Maurice, a busy GP who still finds time to support so much of what she does, from building and maintaining websites to programmming all the e-tickets for the festival and online booking for Triora Musica courses!

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