London Serpent Trio

Christopher Monk

The London Serpent Trio

is a unique ensemble founded by the early musical instrument-maker Christopher Monk (left) along with Alan Lumsden and Andrew van der Beek. The trio gave their first public performance on 1 April 1976 in a lunchtime concert at St John's Smith Square. In 1990 they celebrated the 400th anniversary of the serpent in a concert at the same venue in which 57 serpentists from all over the world took part.

Sadly Christopher died in 1991, Alan emigrated to France and Andrew concentrates on arranging choral week-ends for amateur singers, but the trio's traditions are maintained by the three current members, Phil Humphries, Cliff Bevan and Steve Wick. Their aim is to demonstrate the astonishing versatility of this instrument, which, in spite of being remarkably intractable, has managed to outlive in usefulness the majority of its contemporaries.

As there has never been another serpent trio, the choice of repertoire reflects the wide range of musical idioms in which the instrument has been utilised in widely differing contexts over more than four centuries.

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