New ideas + Old music + New ensemble + Old instruments = Lyrebyrd !

Multi-talented musicians ~ ingenious instrumentalists ~ soulful singers

Harp + flute + oud + rebec + shawm + vielle = sounds of the Middle Ages.

Lute + recorders + viola da gamba = sounds of the Renaissance.





Anna Pope
Anna grew up in a house where classical music was constantly playing, was taught violin (briefly) and then piano at a young age, and later studied flute, recorder and singing at high school, where she majored in flute. During University, Anna studied flute with Jennifer Newsome and played in a number of Adelaide ensembles. After moving to Cambridge, she performed a couple of solo flute recitals, but eventually chose to focus her musical attentions on vocal music. She then specialised in singing and conducting early music with groups including the Bacchic Consort, Twitch, Adelaide Chamber Singers (1994-2006) and Lumina Vocal Ensemble (founding musical director, 1999 to present). Founding Lyrebyrd has provided an excellent opportunity to explore instrumental repertoire of the Mediæval and Renaissance periods, and to combine the purity and ‘safety’ of vocal lines with the richness, variety and occasional risk of early instruments
James Cowling
James first experienced classical music while at high school, where he studied flute and piano. At Uni he learnt the classical guitar, then met and fell in love with early music, successively taking up a number of early instruments starting with recorder, then crumhorn, cornemuse, gemshorn and any other instruments he could get his hands on. He also developed a keen interest in stringed instruments, teaching himself the lute and viols, and even going to the extreme of making his own rebec. James also has a passionate interest in non-tempered tuning systems. A founding member of Lyrebyrd, he has also been a singer, lutenist and viol player with Flight of Ideas.
Saam Thorne
Saam wanted to play violin from a very young age. Beginning piano lessons at six, she took up violin the following year. She showed an early affinity with the instrument, but it wasn’t until her teacher encouraged her to try viola that she found her ultimate passion. Continuing music through tertiary studies, Samantha majored in composition, continuing viola with Richard Hornung and piano with Diana Harris. She was principal viola in the Adelaide Youth Orchestra for several years, also participating in Elder Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra. She was much in demand for student ensembles, and formed a string quartet with fellow students. Another student ensemble was more eclectic – soprano, lute, viola da gamba, recorder, mandolin and viol. Samantha borrowed a viol from Uni and taught herself to play it. Recent ensembles include Archer Quartet, a go anywhere, play anything string group, and Three Crates Trio; flute, guitar and viola tackling the classical and Latin American genres. With Lyrebyrd, Samantha relishes the chance to try another early string instrument – the rebec. This has been slightly easier to learn than the viol as it only has three strings and can be played on the shoulder!
Kenneth Pope
Kenneth is a multi-talented musician who started out learning recorder and piano from his father at a young age. He took up clarinet at high school and chose it as his matriculating instrument. He also studied piano with Lance Dosser, and gained his AmusA while still at Uni. He also taught himself the guitar, has played clarinet in various ensembles including the TAFE orchestra, and has played recorder in a number of performances, including as soloist. He is enjoying the chance to resurrect his love of instrumental playing in Lyrebyrd!
Rosemary Byron-Scott
Rosemary’s ability to play recorder stems from her experience with clarinet. Rosemary first experimented with playing the clarinet in an American “Summer Camp” music school while on an extended holiday in Boulder, Colorado at the age of 11. On her family’s return to Australia, she took up clarinet while attending Seymour College and won the AMEB’s prize for her performances in the Grade 4 Examinations in 1983. She has played recorder occasionally since the age of 8 and studied piano from the age of 8 to 15 with Mrs Jean Bye. With a background in Dalcroze Eurythmics Rosemary, has sporadically ventured into ensemble instrumental performance with school orchestras, Ayres and Graces (university), Judy Clingan’s Twitch Ensemble and now is looking forward to improving her medieval music experience in Lyrebird.
Rachel Sag
Rachel took up descant recorder at the age of about 5 after constantly pleading her parents for a piano. Were her fingers bigger at the time her mum probably would have preferred her to learn tenor recorder as she would have found its tone far more mellow on all those long car trips! Rachel still amuses her husband by playing requests on the descant but (now that her hands are nearly big enough) prefers to play the "grown up" (tenor) recorder instead. As trumpet player Rachel became curious as to the production of the noises from the percussion sections sitting behind her and now gets to realise her girlhood dreams as she makes her debut at hitting various noisy things in Lyrebird. Primarily a singer and composer these days, Rachel has really enjoyed being part of an instrumental ensemble again after a break of more than 10 years.
Tim Muecke
Tim started learning the recorder(s) at school in grade 5 and, despite the dreadful noises the class made, was encouraged to take up other instruments to test his musicality. The violin and later flute were added to the arsenal of instruments of torture for his long suffering family and friends. This passion for music making, undiminished by the now long forgotten school recorder consorts and orchestras - and perhaps even improved by them - continues through to today.