Dame Emma Kirkby
Dame Emma Kirkby did not originally intend to become a professional singer. Initially Kirkby was going to be a schoolteacher but became increasingly involved in singing with the growing number of music ensembles, that were being founded during the Early Music revival of the early 1970s. Her vocal career developed throughout the 1970s, and she became noted as a soloist in performances and recordings with prominent early music performers, including Anthony Rooley and the Consort of Musicke, and Christopher Hogwood’s Academy of Ancient Music.
Kirkby has made over 100 recordings, including madrigals of the Italian and English Renaissance, cantatas and oratorios of the Baroque, and works of Mozart, Haydn and Johann Christian Bach. Her 1980 recording of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah conducted by Christopher Hogwood brought her international acclaim. The Messiah recording was later named one of the top 20 recordings of all time by BBC Music Magazine.