"Grace Newcombe must be singled out not just for her engaging lyrical singing and delicate harp playing, but for her astonishing feat of memory in remembering verse after verse and conveying the sense and meaning to the audience of the lengthy and meandering, yet fast-moving multi-lingual middle-European narrative poems."
Paul James, Director General of EUBO
"De longues phrases comme des mélopées agrémentent la ligne mélodique de magnifiques soli de Grace Newcombe en particulier. Saveur du timbre large et généreux, profond et solide pour servir une ligne mélodique complexe et savante."
Long phrases like melopoeias embellish the melodic line, with magnificent solos by Grace Newcombe in particular. Her timbre is broad and generous in flavour, deep and solid, serving a complex and learned melodic line.
Ar ne kuthe
Grace Newcombe & Baptiste Romain
Ar ne kuthe ich sorghe non, from 13th-century Britain.
Video taken by Martin Turšić during the making of the CD In Saeculum Viellatoris: The Medieval Vielle, by Baptiste Romain and Le Miroir de Musique.
Dr. Grace Newcombe has performed and recorded with internationally-renowned medieval-Renaissance ensembles including Ensemble Leones, ensemble Peregrina, Le Miroir de Musique, Ensemble Gilles Binchois, Two Lutes with Grace, and La Morra. She is the founder and director of prize-winning young medieval ensemble RUMORUM.
Offstage, Grace vlogs for the Basel-based Renaissance music concert series ReRenaissance (you can watch her vlogs here), goes birding, and writes songs to the works of her favourite poets. These currently include W. B. Yeats, Ian Walker-Sperber, and Anon (in particular, his contributions to the Middle English verse preserved in the Harley Manuscript).
Grace wrote her PhD thesis on performance practices for vernacular song (Middle English and Anglo-Norman) in thirteenth-century Britain. Part of her research was the first-time syllabic analysis of all surviving vernacular songs from thirteenth-century Britain. This brought to light previously unknown melodic and text-setting characteristics specific to Middle English verse, and was endorsed by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK.
Grace was awarded a Leverhulme Trust scholarship during her Masters studies in Medieval-Renaissance Performance at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. She has a further Masters degree from the same institution, with distinction, on the vocal pedagogy of Early Music.
Her music training began at Salisbury Cathedral, where she was Head Chorister. In her teens, apart from trying to learn far too many instruments but not practicing any of them, she was a Junior Exhibitioner at The Royal Academy of Music in London, and was runner-up in the Sibelius National Young Film Composer of the Year awards. Following her schoolyears, Grace pursued singing and choir directing, and was awarded an Organ Scholarship at Hertford College, University of Oxford, where she studied Music and was the College choir director for three years.
If you would like to know more about Grace's research, or if you would like a lesson with her, get in touch.