Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble

In 2011, two trumpet students expressed an interest in learning to play the cornett. The College contacted renowned cornett play Jeremy West to teach the instrument and, after a relatively short period, they were able to expand the already-existing sackbut ensemble. The RWCMD Cornett & Sackbutt Ensemble had been formed.

The range and tone of these instruments naturally supports and blends with the human voice and ensembles of this kind were predominantly employed in the Renaissance to compliment choirs in the great churches, cathedrals and courts of Europe. Within two years of its formation the ensemble was able to start doing precisely that and began what has become an RWCMD tradition to support chapel choirs across collegiate Cambridge.

Since March 2013 the RWCMD C&S Ensemble has played with Cambridge choirs in concerts and chapel services at St John’s, Girton, St Catherine’s, Gonville & Caius, Queen’s and King’s. In June 2015, to celebrate the end of the first cohort of RWCMD students passing through the ensemble, the group supported the choir of King’s College, Cambridge at the final Eucharist service of the academic year, under the direction of Stephen Cleobury.  

Future plans for the ensemble include concerts at Gonville & Caius and Trinity, Cambridge, Merton, Oxford as well as in London. The ensemble provides a wonderful opportunity for students to explore the rich and varied sound world of renaissance brass and to perform in some fabulous, often very famous, spaces with superb choirs.