Our Artistic Directors

John Hancorn and Julia Bishop are the creative inspiration and force behind the inaugural Lewes Baroque Festival in July.

Julia Bishop discovered her love of Early Music whilst studying at the Royal College of Music and is now recognised as one of the leading Baroque violinists of her generation. She has toured the world and made extensive recordings with many period instrument orchestras in the UK including the English Concert and as concertmaster for 5 years with the Gabrieli Consort and Players.In 1997 Julia co-founded the ensemble Red Priest with recorder Piers Adams and enjoyed 19 years of huge success touring Europe, America and the Far East, and making 6 highly acclaimed recordings.


Recently Julia has become increasingly popular for her lively and informative teaching on workshops and courses around the UK and abroad. She heads the Early Music department at Chichester University and has been a guest teacher at the Royal Academy and Royal College of Music.

Julia is currently enjoying developing repertoire and performing concerts with soprano Ana-Maria Rincon and keyboardist Howard Beach in their chamber ensemble Purcell’s Muse.

John Hancorn is music director of the BREMF Singers, Baroque Collective Singers, East Sussex Bach Choir and Eastbourne Choral Society and co-director of The Baroque Collective and the newly launched Lewes Baroquefest!. Performances for the Brighton Early Music Festival include Bach’s St John Passion and B Minor Mass, Monteverdi Vespers and a staged performance of Purcell The Fairy Queen. 
John leads vocal workshops and masterclasses specializing in baroque repertoire including regular visits to Early Music Fora and ‘Sing and Discover’ days with Richard Wigmore throughout the UK. He is Associate Lecturer in Choral Studies at the University of Chichester, Choral Director at East Sussex Academy of Music and is a specialist examiner for Trinity Laban. He directed chamber choir courses at Dartington for many years and was a tutor at AIMS Summer School. 
John directed the Orlando Consort in Tarik O'Regan Scattered Rhymes, and world premieres of Orlando Gough's opera The Finnish Prisoner and Dead Head. He directed a critically acclaimed professional recording of Ed Hughes's Buried Flame; the world premiere of Helen Glavin’s Phoenix Cantata; and Purcell’s King Arthur for New Sussex Opera. He is Artistic Advisor for a large scale concert at Glyndebourne for Homelink in November 2019.

Julia Bishop
John Hancorn

Introducing Baroquefest! The first Baroque music festival to be launched in Lewes by choral director John Hancorn and violinist Julia Bishop, which will take place between 17th and 20th July 2019. 

We are so excited to be bringing to fruition an idea that has seemed inevitable for a long time - a coming together at last of the deeply strong choral tradition of this wonderful town with the extraordinary talents of so many international artists who come from this area and further afield.

Events to include virtuoso duo recitals by Piers Adams and Howard Beach, Alison Bury and Maggie Cole; solo performances by Julia Bishop and Claire Williams; A Capella recital by the Baroque Collective Singers and John Hancorn; workshops by Julia Bishop, Richard Wigmore and Catherine Black, and an epic closing performance of Handel's Israel in Egypt at the Town Hall on Saturday with the East Sussex Bach Choir and Baroque Collective players, directed by John Hancorn.

Introducing Lewes Baroque Festival