London Handel Players

“…consummate skill and musicianship…”

New York Times, January 2012

“technical brilliance and musical integrity”

International Record Review, April 2013

For over ten years, since making their debut at Handel’s parish church, St. George’s Hanover Square, as part of the London Handel Festival 2000, the London Handel Players have thrilled audiences across the world with their performances and recordings.  They perform regularly at the Wigmore Hall and appear at many of the leading festivals in the UK, Europe and North America, collaborating with singers such as Emma Kirkby, James Bowman and Daniel Taylor. The members of the group pursue busy solo and directing careers, work with many of the major early-instrument ensembles in the UK and abroad and are professors at the conservatoires in London. They bring together a wealth of recording experience and their four recent recordings, of Handel’s Op.2 and Op.5 trio sonatas, his complete violin sonatas and “Handel at Home”, all for Somm, have been highly acclaimed.

Concerts have recently included appearances at the Swansea, Newbury, Tilford and Gregynog Festivals, Birmingham and Brighton Early Music Festivals, for Music at Oxford and in Warwick, at the Palau de la Musica, Barcelona and at the Music and Beyond Festival in Ottawa as well as the Internationale Händel-Festspiele Göttingen.   They made their US debut in January 2012, with concerts in Los Angeles and the Frick Collection, New York as part of their celebrations of the tercentenary of Frederick the Great; in October they performed music from his court at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford.  In 2011 the London Handel Players were joined by Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser for a late-night concert at the Wigmore Hall and they performed with him again for Spitalfields Music and in Aberdeen in December 2012.

Principal players:

Rachel Brown, flute and recorder
Adrian Butterfield, violin
Oliver Webber, Clare Salaman, violin
Peter Collyer
, viola
Katherine Sharman, cello
Peter Buckoke, Cecelia Bruggemeyer, double bass
Laurence Cummings, harpsichord

2013 concert dates

14 November – Hall for Cornwall, Truro: Virtuoso concertos

26 September – Yeovil: Virtuoso concertos

5 April – London Handel Festival at St George’s Hanover Square, with Francis Colpron (recorder/flute)

22 May – Newbury Spring Festival at Englefield House: Corelli, Muffat, Vivaldi and Handel

25 May - Tilford Bach Festival at All Saints’ Church, Tilford, Surrey: music by JS Bach and Rameau “Featuring the Harpsichord” with Laurence Cummings

20 July – King’s Lynn Festival Early Music Day at King’s Lynn Minster: Virtuoso concertos at 7pm and a recital by Rachel Brown and Laurence Cummings at 9.30pm



2012 concert dates:

Sunday 2 December, 7.30pm, Music Hall, Aberdeen
and Friday 7 December, 7.00pm, Spitalfields Winter Festival
World renowned Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser and his cellist partner Natalie Haas are back with the London Handel Players for two nights only!

Monday 19 November – Fundraiser for the London Handel Festival at Claridge’s in London
with Anna Starushkevych, winner of the Handel Singing Competition 2012

Saturday 20 October, Stratford upon Avon Music Festival
“The Best of Baroque” – Bach’s B minor Suite for flute, Brandenburg 5 and music by Handel, Telemann and Vivaldi

Wednesday 17 October, Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford (details: LHP Oxford 17 Oct 12 flyer)
Music from the Court of Frederick the Great – part of the tercentenary celebrations organised by the University of Oxford Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages

Thursday 27 September, Varazdin Baroque Evenings
to include concertos by Handel, Telemann, CPE Bach and Vivaldi, and the Bach Double Violin Concerto

Sunday 10 June, Spitalfields Festival
A special “Dining Concert” at the English Restaurant

Friday 25 May, Tilford Bach Festival
Programme includes Bach Musical Offering, complete, and works from the Court of Frederick the Great

Tuesday 17 April, London Handel Festival
Orphée with Ruby Hughes (winner of the Handel Singing Competition 2009)

Tuesday 31 January, Leamington Music
“An Evening at the Palace of Reason” – celebrating the tercentenary of the birth of Frederick the Great

US debut and visit to Canada, January 2012
Wednesday 25 January, Da Camera Society, Los Angeles
Friday 27 January, Ars Nova, Ottawa
Sunday 29 January, Frick Collection, New York


“…the London Handel Players who featured not only the deeply satisfying playing of both Adrian Butterfield (violin) and Rachel Brown (flute/recorder) but also accompanied the evergreen Emma Kirkby with great finesse and sympathetic musicianship.”

Opera Today, October 2011

Please contact us for a fully updated biography for concert programmes


“To Play before the King”

Rachel Brown                                       flute
Adrian Butterfield, Oliver Webber         violin
Katherine Sharman                               cello
Laurence Cummings                             harpsichord


‘To play before the King’

Telemann              Quartet in G
Quantz                  A major concerto for flutE
Handel                  Trio Sonata in D major op5


F. Couperin          Concert Royal in G major
Geminiani             Sonata
Handel                  Arias for King Solomon (arr Brown)
What tho’ I trace
Beneath the Vine,
Will the Sun forget to streak


A Frederick the Great Anniversary concerto programme

A mixed concertos programme celebrating the anniversary of the birth of Frederick the Great in January 1712

8 players: flute, 3 violins, viola, cello, bass, harpsichord

Quantz Flute Concerto in B minor
CPE Bach Harpsichord Concerto
Quantz Flute Concerto in A major

Quantz Flute Concerto in G major
Benda Violin Concerto
JS Bach Brandenburg Concerto No.5

A Frederick the Great Soiree with flautist Rachel Brown

A marathon flute recital, typical of Frederick the Great’s musical soirées, with flautist Rachel Brown

7 players: flute, 2 violins, viola, cello, bass, harpsichord

Quantz Flute Concerto in B minor
Frederick the Great Flute Sonata in C (or C minor)
Quantz Flute Concerto in G minor
Quantz Flute Concerto in G major
Quantz Flute Sonata in B flat major
Frederick the Great Flute Concerto in C major
Quantz Flute Concerto in A major

An Evening at the Palace of Reason

Rachel Brown                flute
Adrian Butterfield          violin
Katharine Sharman         cello
Laurence Cummings      harpsichord

An Evening at the Palace of Reason

A special programme to mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Frederick the Great

Trio Sonata in A major Wq 146 for flute, violin and continuo   C.P.E. Bach (1714-88)
Allegretto, Andante, Vivace

Sonata in C major for flute and continuo                      Frederick the Great (1712-86)
Grave, Allegro, Tempo giusto

Sonata in Eb major for violin and continuo                            Franz Benda (1709-86)
Allegretto, Adagio moderato, Allegro assai

Sonata in Bb major no. 275 for flute and continuo                   J.J. Quantz (1697-1773)
Allegro di molto, Affettuoso, Vivace


Musical Offering BWV 1079                                                       J.S. Bach (1685-1750)

Ricercar a 3
Ricercar a 6
Canons 1-10
Trio Sonata – Largo, Allegro, Andante, Allegro

Beg, Borrow or Steal

Beg, borrow or steal

Rachel Brown, flute

Adrian Butterfield, violin/director

Oliver Webber, violin

Katherine Sharman, cello

Laurence Cummings, harpsichord

Baroque composers were often quite unscrupulous! In this programme, ‘Beg’ is represented by Leclair whose prefaces were particularly grovelling; ‘Borrow’ by Bach and Handel who rearranged their own music; and ‘Steal’ by Chedéville whose music was published using another composer’s name.

Telemann G major quartet for flute, 2 vlns and bc
Leclair Violin Sonata No.11 in B minor (Second livre)
Bach Trio Sonata in G major BWV1038 for flute, violin and bc
Telemann Paris Quartet No.3 in A major
Handel arias “What tho’ I trace” from Solomon

“Myself I shall adore” from Semele
‘Vivaldi’/Chédeville Il Pastor Fido Recorder Sonata in G minor Op.13 No.6
Telemann Concerto a 4 in A minor for recorder, 2 vlns and bc 

Arias for Mrs Arne (with Emma Kirkby)

Rachel Brown, flute
Adrian Butterfield, violin/director
Oliver Webber, violin
Peter Collyer, viola
Katherine Sharman, cello
Cecelia Bruggemeyer, double bass
Terence Charlston, harpsichord
with Emma Kirkby, soprano

Cecilia Young was born in 1711 into a musical family and had connections with many of the most important musicians in England such as Geminiani, Lampe, Thomas Arne (whom she married) and Handel. According to music historian, Charles Burney, she had “a good natural voice and a fine shake [and] had been so well taught, that her style of singing was infinitely superior to that of any other English woman of her time”. She met Handel in 1734 and he subsequently created several roles for her including Dalinda in Ariodante, Morgana in Alcina, the soprano solos in Alexander’s Feast and the title-role in Athalia. She featured regularly with her husband (whose 300th anniversary falls in 2010) at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, performing music that he had written for her. This programme features examples of these many roles interspersed with instrumental music of the time.

Handel                 Overture to Athalia
J.F. Lampe                   Pretty Warblers
Thomas Arne      By the rushy-fringed bank
Handel                 Trio in D major for 2 violins and continuo Op.5 No.2
Handel                 War, he sung, from Alexander’s Feast
Handel                 Softest Sounds from Athalia


Handel                 Overture to Alexander’s Feast
Abel                     Quartet in D major (1776) fl, vln, vla, vlc
Arne                     Cantata: The Morning
Where the Bee Sucks
Giardini                Quartet in E flat major (1776) for 2 vlns, vla, vlc
Handel                 Gentle Morpheus from Alceste

Virtuoso Concertos

Rachel Brown, flute
Adrian Butterfield, violin, director
Laurence Cummings, organ, harpsichord
Oliver Webber, violin
Clare Salaman, violin
Peter Collyer, viola
Katherine Sharman, cello
Cecelia Bruggemeyer, double bass

A feast of baroque music featuring solo keyboard concertos by Handel and Bach, the founders of this genre, and rarely heard virtuoso masterpieces for violin and flute.

Telemann Concerto for Flute and Violin in E minor 10′
Handel Organ Concerto Op.4 No.2 in B flat major 10′
CPE Bach Flute Concerto in D minor 25′
Leclair Violin Concerto Op.7 No. 4 in F major 14′
JS Bach Brandenburg Concerto No.5 in D major 21′



Rachel Brown – flute
Adrian Butterfield – violin
Katherine Sharman – cello
Laurence Cummings – harpsichord
with Ruby Hughes – soprano

Handel: Trio Sonata in A major, op 5 no 1, HWV 396
Louis Couperin: Harpsichord Suite in D major
Nicholas Clérambault: Orphée
Rameau: Cinquième  Piece de clavecin en concert in D major/min
Handel: Harpsichord Suite in F sharp minor,HWV 431
Handel: Cantata ‘Del bel idolo mio’ HWV 104
Leclair: Violin Sonata No.5 in A major (Premier Livre)
Rameau: Orphée

Winner of both First Prize and the Audience Prize at the 2009 London Handel Festival Singing Competition, Ruby Hughes is the daughter of the celebrated Welsh ceramicist Elizabeth Fritsch. She studied voice and ‘cello at Chetham’s School of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, before gaining a First Class Distinction Concert Diploma in Concert and Song at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Munich, working with Edith Wiens. In 2005, she was a Prizewinner at the Mozarteum Sommer Akademie, Salzburg, and in 2006, gained a Royal Philharmonic Society Susan Chilcott Award. Her other awards include a Vocal Prize in the 2002 Gerald Moore Competition, and a full scholarship to study with Lillian Watson at the Royal College of Music, London, graduating in July 2009.  Selected by OPERA NOW as amongst “Who’s Hot in Opera” in November / December 2008, she sang the title role in Atalanta and Cleofide / Poro with Laurence Cummings at the London Handel Festival.


Francesco Geminiani – The Complete Sonatas Op.1

Rachel Brown – recorder, flute
Adrian Butterfield & Oliver Webber – violins
Katherine Sharman – cello
Laurence Cummings – harpsichord

Sonatas 1 to 12 from Geminiani’s Op.1

SOMMCD 248-2

Handel: Complete Sonatas and Works for Violin and Continuo
Handel: Complete Sonatas and Works for Violin and Continuo

Adrian Butterfield, violin
Katherine Sharman, cello
Laurence Cummings, harpsichord

Adrian Butterfield plays beautifully throughout…and is lent wonderful support by Katherine Sharman and Laurence Cummings (of whom Butterfield writes that he could have wished for no better companions). This should be required listening for anyone playing these works. Will this dream team now undertake some Geminiani or Corelli, please.”

Brian Clark, Early Music Review, February 2008

“Piers Burton-Page welcomed the London Handel Players’ Somm account of Handel’s Op.5 as “well-nigh perfect” (September 2005), a view from which I would not dissent regarding the current issue… Butterfield’s subtly nuanced, light-as-air reading…a special revelation. That could be said for everything in this richly enjoyable recital…Here these three outstandingly gifted players are at the peak of their collective form, pouncing on the third movement Furioso with gleeful abandon and stunning virtuosity (a special word of praise here for cellist Katherine Sharman’s staggering agility). There is lovely sound, too, from Siva Oke and Ben Connellan.”

Julian Haylock, International Record Review, March 2008

Sonata in A HWV361
Sonata in D HWV371
Sonata in G minor HWV364
Sonata in D minor HWV367
Sonata in D minor HWV 359
Sonata in G HWV358
Allegro (for unaccompanied violin) HWV407


Handel: Trio Sonatas Op.5
Handel: Trio Sonatas Op.5

Rachel Brown, flute
Adrian Butterfield, Oliver Webber, violins
Peter Collyer, viola
Katherine Sharman, cello
Laurence Cummings, harpsichord/organ

“I find all the performances well-nigh perfect…the music is absolutely gorgeous”.

Piers Burton-Page, International Record Review (Handel Trio Sonatas Op.5)

“…Rachel Brown’s incomparable flute playing… The performances are uniformly excellent: they have the straightforward integrity that is essential for Handel, and yet they are full of delicacy and refinement. I was particularly taken with their subtle use of notes inégales in the French-style dance movements.”

Peter Holman, Early Music, May 2006 (Handel Trio Sonatas Op.5)

“The London Handel Players shine in immaculately prepared, finely balanced and lyrical performances.”

David Vickers, Early Music Today, August/September 2006 (Handel Trio Sonatas Op.5)


Sonata I in A major HWV 396
Sonata II in D major HWV 397
Sonata III in E minor HWV 398
Sonata VI in G major HWV 399
Sonata V in G minor HWV 400
Sonata VI in F major HWV 401
Sonata VII in B flat major HWV 402

Handel at Home
Handel at Home

Rachel Brown, flute
Adrian Butterfield, Oliver Webber, violins
Peter Collyer, viola
Katherine Sharman, cello
Laurence Cummings, harpsichord

“This extremely attractive release is sure to find a wide audience; it’s as much fun as it is beautiful.” Robert Levett, International Record Review (“Handel at Home”)

“Their consummate musicianship is consistently delightful”

David Vickers, Gramophone Magazine

“This review could be reduced to just three words: ‘Buy this recording… On this disc Rachel Brown and the London Handel Players give performances that are perfection itself, with a dazzling beauty of tone and of phrasing, a breadth of colours and a range of dynamics that are employed to serve the music and to entertain the listener. More than that, this recording is full of the most delicious music you could ask to hear, and the players give every indication of loving every note they play.”

Robert Bigio, Pan


Flute Concerto
Overture and movements from Alcina
Overture and movements from Solomon
Movements from Semele

all in instrumental versions

Handel: Trio Sonatas Op.2

Rachel Brown, flute
Adrian Butterfield, Oliver Webber, violins
Katherine Sharman, cello
Laurence Cummings, harpsichord

“(Rachel Brown’s) contribution in Sonatas Nos 1 and 4 is a delight. It cannot be denied that what should be an equal relationship between treble instruments in a trio sonata texture is knocked a little off-balance when the pairing is flute and violin (one’s ear is always drawn to the flute), but when the playing is as gently breathed and musically refined as the kind Brown has to offer, there can be no reason for complaint.  Adrian Butterfield and Oliver Webber do not have the lyrical grace of Sonnerie, but there is perhaps more clarity of texture here, and their playing is stylistically confident, with plenty of intelligent interpretative detail to entertain the ear. The continuo section manages to be both punchy and resonant – a bold sense of line from Katherine Sharman, rich chords from Laurence Cummings – and the pair are not afraid to take centre stage when the time comes to stride around like pocket-Polyphemuses in the Larghetto of the Third Sonata. These are fine performances from players who really know their ground.”

Lindsay Kemp, Gramophone, July 2009


Sonata no.1 in B minor
Sonata no.2 in G minor
Sonata no.3 in B flat
Sonata no.4 in F
Sonata no.5 in G minor
Sonata no.5 in G minor

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London Handel Players 37.Jun 10

Photographer: Chris Christodoulou

Audio files

Handel at Home

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Somm CD055

London Handel Players with Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas

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