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Judy Tarling L.R.A.M., Hon. A.R.A.M. (violin and viola) was born in Brighton and educated at Brighton and Hove High School, Dartington College of Arts, the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music in London. After a period playing in the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Judy became interested in early music and its performance through playing the harpsichord and viol. After running her own chamber group Brighton Baroque for some years in the seventies, she became involved in the early Academy of Ancient Music recordings of the complete Mozart symphonies. In 1981 Judy was invited to join the recently formed Parley of Instruments (directors Roy Goodman and Peter Holman), a group specializing in 17th century string consort repertoire, which she has led since the 80s. In 1985, The Parley assembled the first consort in modern times of the earliest known type of violin, a Renaissance string band such as Elizabeth I would have enjoyed for dancing. The group is made up of members of the violin family (violin, viola, bass violin) and still remains one of only three groups in the world to play on this type of instrument. The Parley have made over 70 recordings for Hyperion Records, on Renaissance, Baroque and Classical types of instruments, and toured extensively in Europe, U.S.A. and South America.
Judy was principal viola of The Hanover Band for 20 years, recording much 18th- and 19th-century symphonic music on original instruments. Judy was a principal member of The Brandenburg Consort (director Roy Goodman), and also leads the band of Opera Restor’d in performances and recordings. Judy has led the Cambridge Baroque Camerata for many years, both in concerts throughout the UK and France, and recordings.
She has been a tutor for the European Union Baroque Orchestra, and lectured on Baroque style at Cambridge University, The Royal Academy of Music, The Royal College of Music, The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Trinity College of Music, London and the Birmingham conservatoire. She has been an examiner for post-graduate courses in historical performance practice at Trinity College of Music and The Royal Academy of Music, and an adjudicator for the Historically Informed Performance solo recital prize at the RAM.
Judy is also in demand as a coach for groups playing both modern and Baroque instruments in search of more stylistic performances, and has given master classes and lectures in musical rhetoric at the Universities of Veracruz, Mexico and Utrecht, The Conservatories of Music in Oslo and Amsterdam. In Autumn 2010 she undertook her first teaching tour of the USA, visiting Juilliard and Longy schools of music, Oberlin and Harvard Universities. In November 2012 she returned to the USA to teach at the Jacob’s School of Music, University of Indiana, Longy School of Music, Boston, Yale and Juilliard School of Music, New York. Judy helped the Gotham Early Music Scene celebrate their fifth anniversary with an illustrated lecture on the rhetoric of ‘Happy Birthday’. Judy has established a relationship with the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil and will return there in 2013 to direct a series of concerts.
She is actively engaged in research into performance style and has written two very well received books: Baroque String Playing for ingenious learners was published in March 2000, and is now being recommended by the leading teachers of Baroque instruments worldwide. ‘Strad’ magazine recognized the aim of the book to be ‘a relaunch of the spirit of discovery in historical performance’. Her second book The Weapons of Rhetoric – a guide for musicians and performers (2004) has opened up this ‘difficult’ subject and made it approachable for performing musicians. Both these books have become indispensible resources for historical information about performance, and are used by all the major conservatoires, as well as by already established musicians, as an introduction to baroque style. Handel’s Messiah, a rhetorical guide was published in 2014.
Judy is the orchestral tutor/leader at the Baroque Opera Project at Little Benslow Hills, where she also teaches Baroque style on modern instruments. She has been the violin/viola tutor for The Parley of Instruments International Summer School in Cambridge since its inception. On both these courses she has been involved in introducing players to Baroque instruments and style. Judy is also leader of the Essex Baroque Orchestra, Leeds Baroque Orchestra at the University of Leeds, and leader of The Consort of Twelve, a Baroque group based in Chichester. These groups are a mixture of amateur and professional players, music teachers and students, many of whom are having their first experience of playing on Baroque instruments.
Judy has a first class honours degree in The Humanities with Classical Studies from the Open University and achieved a distinction in MA Garden History. Her dissertation was about the garden of Constantijn Huygens near The Hague. She is planning to write a book on garden rhetoric entitled ‘Gardens of Eloquence’.