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Faculty of Music

Dr David  Skinner


Affiliated Lecturer
Director of Music, Sidney Sussex College


David Skinner is known primarily for his combined role as a researcher and performer of early music, and is Fellow and Director of Music at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and an Affiliated Lecturer in the Faculty of Music. He teaches historical and practical topics from the medieval and renaissance periods. From 1997 to 2001 he was a Postdoctoral Fellow of the British Academy at Christ Church, Oxford (where he was a Choral Scholar from 1989 to 1994), and was the Lecturer in Music at Magdalen College, Oxford, from 2001 to 2006. At Cambridge he conducts the Choir of Sidney Sussex College, with whom he has toured and made professional recordings (their CD of Thomas Tomkins on the Obisidian label, of which he is Artistic Director, received Gramophone Editor’s Choice and CD of the Month in February 2008). He also directs the professional consort Alamire ( David has published widely on music and musicians of early Tudor England, and his most recent projects include the collected works of Nicholas Ludford (Early English Church Music, 2003 & 2005) and The Arundel Choirbook (Duke of Norfolk: Roxburghe Club, 2003). He is currently editing the Latin church music of John Sheppard for publication in 2009, and co-authoring a book on Foundations of the English Choral Tradition.


Key publications: 

Substantial works

The Arundel Choirbook (Duke of Norfolk: Roxburghe Club, 2003).

Nicholas Ludford I: Mass Inclina cor meum and Antiphons, Early English Church Music, 44 (London: Stainer & Bell, 2003).

Nicholas Ludford II: Six-part Masses and Magnificat, Early English Church Music, 46 (London: Stainer & Bell, 2005).


‘The Marian Anthem in Late Medieval England’, in The Church and Mary, Studies in Church History, 39 (Boydell & Brewer, 2004), 168—80.

‘A new Elizabethan keyboard source in the archives of Arundel Castle’, BRIO, 39 (Spring/Summer, 2002), 18—25.

‘Music and the Reformation at Magdalen’, Magdalen College Record (2002), 79—83. >P> ‘Discovering the provenance and history of the Caius and Lambeth choirbooks’, Early Music, 25 (1997), 245—66.

‘William Cornysh: Clerk or Courtier?’, The Musical Times (May, 1997), 5—17.

‘At the mynde of Nycholas Ludford: new light on Ludford from the churchwardens’ accounts of St Margaret’s, Westminster’, Early Music, 22 (1994), 393—413.

Articles for the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and the New Dictionary of National Biography.

Sheet Music

William Byrd
Ego sum panis vivus, Tudor Church Music (Oxford, 1996)
O magnum mysterium, Tudor Church Music (Oxford, 1996)
Prevent us, O Lord, Tudor Church Music (Oxford, 1994)

John Taverner
Le Roy Kyrie, Tudor Church Music (Oxford, 1994)
Christe Jesu, pastor bone, Tudor Church Music (Oxford, 1994)

Various editions from commercial recordings are also available at


R. Sherr (ed.), The Josquin Companion (Oxford, 2000), in Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 54 (2004), 780—82.

R. Bowers, English church polyphony. Singers and sources from the 14th to the 17th century (Ashgate, 1999); J. Harley, William Byrd: Gentleman of the Chapel Royal (Scolar Press, 1997), in Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 51 (2000), 798—99.

‘The Byrd Edition: Gradualia II’, Early Music, 26 (1998), 151—52.

‘Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks’, Early Music, 23 (1995), 509-10.


Thomas Tomkins: These Distracted Times, Alamire & Fretwork with the Choir of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, Obsidian Records (2007).

Josquin Desprez: Missa D’ung aultre amer, Motets & Chansons, Alamire with Andrew Lawrence-King (harp), Obsidian Records (2007).

Philippe Verdelot: Madrigals for a Tudor King, Alamire with Lynda Sayce (lute), Obsidian Records (2007).

Music from the Court of Henry VIII, Alamire with Lynda Sayce (lute) and Martin Souter (clavichord), Classical Communications (2006).

A Gift for a King: a Florentine offering to Henry VIII, Magdala, Classical Communications (2006).

Music for Princes and Ambassadors, Magdala, Classical Communications (2005).

Robert Fayrfax: Christmas Meditations, Magdala, Classical Communications (2004).

Treasury of Saints, Magdala, Classical Communications (2003).

Glory of Gothic (for V&A Enterprises), Magdala, Classical Communications (2002).

Recordings by The Cardinall’s Musick, directed by Andrew Carwood, with whom I worked as co-artistic director, editor, and producer, includeThe Byrd Edition (9 CDs of a projected 14); the collected works of Nicholas Ludford, Robert Fayrfax, William Cornysh, and John Merbecke.
See for more information.

Works in progress

John Sheppard III: Hymns, Psalm Motets, and Antiphonal Works, Early English Church Music, 48 (London: Stainer & Bell).

‘An obit for a Tudor bishop: John Longland and the final years of Fotheringhay College’ (forthcoming in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History).

‘Ludford’s Lady Masses, XX Songes and a Westminster Inventory of 1542’

‘At the eleuacion of our lorde: a newly identified motet by Robert Fayrfax’

With Magnus Williamson, Music and the Reformation in England, c.1520—1560.

Contact Details

Sidney Sussex College