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Dr Silas Wollston

Dr Silas Wollston

Affiliated Lecturer, Faculty of Music


After reading Musicology at Cambridge, where he was Organ Scholar at Trinity College, he studied composition with Robin Holloway, receiving the MPhil. He subsequently studied the harpsichord and early piano at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, and at the Conservatoire Royale, Brussels. As principal continuo player and assistant conductor for Sir John Eliot Gardiner from 1999 to 2010 he became closely associated with the Monteverdi Choir and The English Baroque Soloists, with whom he appeared as a soloist on numerous occasions, including the celebrated Bach Cantata Pilgrimage in 2000. As Artistic Director of the prize-winning chamber group The Private Music (1996–2003) Silas developed his passion for 17th-century music, a passion which also led to his PhD research at The Open University (2005–2009). From 2011 to 2015 he was Director of Music and Director of Studies in Music at Queens’ College. He is currently a Fellow Commoner (Research) at Queens'.
Silas Wollston lectures for the Faculty of Music, teaching Fugue, Historically-Informed Performance (for the MMus), Stylistic Composition (Tonal Skills), Keyboard Skills and (in 2015) ‘The Birth of the Orchestra’, a historical course covering the period 1600–1750. He also examines for these courses and others, including the Recital option (instrumental and choral performance). For the wider university he supervises Harmony and Counterpoint, Keyboard Skills, Fugue, and dissertations which centre on source studies. He also provides one-to-one coaching in historically-informed keyboard playing. His principal research – led by his performing interests – has focused upon English music from the Restoration period to the mid-18th century. He is co-editor (with Dr John Cunningham) of the Musica Britannica volume of Matthew Locke’s violin-band music and is a council member of the Handel Institute.

Alongside his busy University schedule, Silas Wollston is highly regarded on the concert platform and has appeared at many prestigious international festivals. An acknowledged specialist in the music of the Baroque period, he is a member of The Bach Players and remains in great demand as a continuo player with several of London’s leading period-instrument ensembles, including the English Baroque Soloists, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, La Nuova Musica and the English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble.

Silas maintains his passion for choral music, an interest nurtured initially through his early training as a chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral. During his time at Queens' he greatly enhanced the reputation of the college choir, recording two discs (with Orchid Classics) and undertaking six international tours. He now acts as a conducting tutor for the M.Mus. in Choral Studies course. His compositions include a carol and a motet recorded by the choir at Queens’.

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