Helen Roberts, cornetto

Helen first encountered the cornetto during postgraduate research in musicology at Birmingham University. After initial studies with Jamie Savan, Helen went on to study at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis under Bruce Dickey, generously supported by Birmingham University’s Centre for Early Music Performance and Research. Helen graduated in 2008 with a final concert programme exploring three centuries of cornetto performance practice, from the 15th-Century Italian frottole repertoire to the large-scale sonatas of Johann Heinrich Schmelzer. Since completing her studies, Helen has continued to pursue research and editing interests, focussing on the little-known repertoire and performance practice of the cornettino, and published the first complete performing edition of the instrumental sonatas of Matthias Weckmann in 2013. Helen is a founder of the innovative online publishing house Septenary Editions, which provides support to, and a platform for performer/editors working in the field of early music.

Helen performs with many of Europe’s leading period ensembles, including English Baroque Solists, The Orchestra of the Sixteen, The English Concert, Norsk Opera and Ballet, Capriccio Basel, the Gabrieli Consort and Players, QuintEssential Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble, The King’s Consort, I Fagiolini and Lautten Compagney Berlin. As a multi-instrumentalist Helen has worked on productions at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, including Henry V on tour and in residence at the Globe and on Twelfth Night in the West End. Helen was thrilled to join His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts in 2012, and now tours, records and performs extensively with the ensemble throughout the UK, Europe and the USA.

Helen is currently undertaking doctoral research at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire into the use of wind instruments in English cathedrals in the seventeenth century.

Photo @Tim Gander