Sydney based ensemble Pastance brings together an amazing diversity of musical ingredients.
Harp, lute, recorders, fiddle, gittern, bagpipes, percussion and vocals
are used in arrangements of Anglo/celtic folk, early European and original
music to create a remarkable sound.
As well as their unique arrangements of folk songs they explore a vast range of other music ranging
from the medieval period, through the Renaissance and Baroque to compositions by Alex Cronin.
They’ve played at some of Australia's largest folk festivals,
including The National (94-2000), Port Fairy (96), Woodford (96), Jamberoo (2003) and Cobargo (2004).
Over the past 12 years Pastance have performed for over 200,000 school children in over 1,000 schools.
This includes nine years with the Queensland Arts Council, six years with the Victorian Arts Council,
as well as tours to Tasmania, South Australia and New Zealand.
With magical vocal harmonies and instrumental wizardry, Pastance span the centuries, bringing together a passion for the music of medieval and Renaissance Europe and a love of traditional folk music. Harp, lute, recorders, shawm, percussion, vocals and more combine to create an entrancing, ethereal and timeless musical experience.
Available for festivals, concerts, weddings, functions and themed events.
Pastance are based in Sydney and perform in various configurations from solo to five piece ensemble.
Songs of courtly love and lively instruments with fiddles, harp, bagpipes, shawm, gittern, recorders and drums.
The golden age of the lute, Shakespeare and exquisitely intricate vocal harmonies.
Experience the drama of the Baroque with triple harp, chittarone, virtuosic recorders and voices.
Unique arrangements of the music of Ireland, England, Scotland , Wales and continental Europe.
Music in the Celtic tradition composed by Alex Cronin.
Intricately woven arrangements of contemporary Australian, British and American folk music.
Multi-instrumentalist Alex Cronin trained at the NSW State Conservatorium on classical guitar and furthered his studies on lute at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam (1983-86) with the assistance of a Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Award and an Australia Council International Fellowship.
As a lutenist and guitarist he has performed with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, The Brandenburg Orchestra, Opera Australia and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. In 1994 Alex began playing and composing for the Celtic harp and later on the Baroque Triple Harp under the guidance of renowned harpist Andrew Lawrence-King. Alex has twice been commissioned by the education department’s Arts Unit to write works for massed recorders and harps which were performed at the Sydney Opera House.
Alex also plays the Irish fiddle and has worked with many bands, including The Ragged Band, Skewiff, Simply Bushed and Green Jam. He works regularly around Sydney playing in pubs and for bush dances.
James Gastineau-Hills has wide musical interests, and a passion for and expertise in Scottish fiddle. Trained first as a classical violist, he learnt the style from Australia's foremost Scottish fiddler Chris Duncan, before immersing himself in the tradition while living in Scotland for five years. His recordings include "Burns with a Fiddle", an album of Robert Burns poetry set to Scottish fiddle, with reciter Neil Morison, an album with Scottish group Luce Women, and with Pastance.
Megan grew up in Canberra where she sang with the Canberra Children's Choir, played oboe in the Canberra Youth Orchestra and Canberra Symphony Orchestra and studied at the Canberra School of Music. As a chorister Megan has sung with some of Australia's finest choirs, including the Australian Chamber Singers, The Contemporary Singers, Sydney Chamber Choir and ACO Voices. Apart from her extensive work with Pastance, Megan has performed as a soloist in the Monteverdi Vespers, Carmina Buranaand numerous other choral works, and has appeared as guest artist with Sydney’s Marais Project. She has also sung a number of dramatic roles, including the lead role in the early Mozart opera, Lo Sposo Deluso for the Mostly Mozart festival. Megan also sings with the Baroque/contemporary music ensemble Phoebus Fire and at a number of regular church services around Sydney.
Emrys graduated from year 12 in 2013 and is currently studying Sound and Music Design at University of Technology, Sydney. He aspires to be a composer of music for games and film and enjoys playing a wide variety of styles of music.
Myfanwy Dibben, soprano and recorder player, completed her Bachelor at the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney in 2000, studying recorder under Howard Oberg and Hans Dieter Michatz. She also studied voice under Jane Edwards and performed with both the Conservatorium Chorale and Christ Church St Lawrence in Sydney for many years as soprano and soloist under Neil McEwan. Both ensembles performed a varied repertoire from 9th century chant to contemporary Australian compositions, with a love and focus on Baroque music. Myfanwy also recorded as soloist with Guy Noble, Elegy for a Clown by Peter Sculthorpe for ABC Classic FM as part of a celebration of 50 years of musical collaboration between Peter Sculthorpe and the ABC. Continuing her passion for early music, she joined Pastance in 2000, performing extensively in many major music festivals and with Musica Viva in Schools and their Country Wide Program, throughout eastern Australia.
Christine Wheeler is a folk singer, musician and choir leader. She led Australian Celtic band Wheelers and Dealers to multiple awards during their ten years working together, and her most recent recording of poems by Henry Lawson set to music was described as ‘a landmark in the interpretation of Australian folk song’ by the National Film and Sound Archive. Christine is a musician with the Musica Viva in Schools program; she directs a community choir The Heathens and sings renaissance music in acapella quartet Canon Fodder. Her instruments include guitar, Irish flute, recorders and whistles.