Instruments of Time and Truth was founded in 2014 by cellist Gabriel Amherst and double bass player Judith Evans to provide a platform for international performers resident in and around Oxford, many of whom hold Principal positions with groups such as the English Baroque Soloists, the Academy of Ancient Music and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment .
The ensemble celebrates the wealth of musical talent available in Oxford from its inspirational Director, Edward Higginbottom, through international soloists Christopher Purves or Antony Pay, to emerging artists Bojan Čičič or Guy Cutting.
Although having only completed three seasons, IT&T has already performed at Garsington Opera at Wormsley, King’s Place, the Holywell Music Room, SJE Arts, the Sheldonian Theatre, University Church and Dorchester Abbey. Envisaged by its founders as a community resource, the orchestra has appeared with the University choirs of New, Merton, Keble, St Peter’s and The Queen’s Colleges, with amateur choirs - the Oxford Pro Musica Singers, the Summertown Choral Society and The London Chorus - as well as with its own choir, Voices of Time and Truth. For the musicians, Instruments of Time and Truth provides a rare opportunity for world-class music based in their own region and the 2016/17 season was launched with Natalie Clein making her debut on gut strings in Haydn's C major cello concerto, Natalie having been appointed Director of Musical Performance at the University of Oxford in 2016.
In October 2015, soon after being founded, IT&T was chosen as the only purely instrumental group to perform in Martin Randall’s ‘Divine Office’ Festival and the orchestra will appear again in 2018 in a performance of the Mozart Requiem with Merton College Choir. Having made its ‘exemplary’ European debut with Edward Higginbottom in the extraordinary Palau de la Musica Catalana in December 2015, IT&T returns to Spain this December for two separate tours of the Messiah.
In November 2016 Instruments of Time and Truth made its London debut at King’s Place and its first broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s, ‘In Tune’. In October 2018 the group will appear both at King’s Place and in the Tetbury Festival performing Handel’s little-known oratorio, ‘The Triumph of Time and Truth’.
This summer, IT&T recorded its first two CDs -a compilation of music by Oxford composer, William Hayes, with Keble College Choir under Matthew Martin and pieces by early English composer, Pelham Humfrey, directed by Edward Higginbottom. It is hoped both these recordings will be available by summer 2018.
Orchestra in Residence at St Edmund Hall, IT&T has initiated a coaching series for students from the University of Oxford, including a collaborative concert with their baroque ensemble, The Bate Players. Ties with the University have been further strengthened by IT&T's appearance at the Music Faculty conference, the ‘Bach Project: A Beginning’, where they performed with Maggie Cole, Kati Debretzeni and Natalie Clein in the Holywell Music Room in October 2016. IT&T will appear in the next phase of the ‘Bach Project’ in April 2018.
IT&T also seeks to open the doors of the University to local schoolchildren through the presentation of GCSE music workshops staged within the University. Presentations of workshops on Mozart’s Symphony no 40 and Bach’s 5th Brandenburg Concerto, amongst other repertoire, were attended by nearly 300 schoolchildren from in and around the city, facilitated by a grant from the University Community Fund. Free concert tickets issued to participating schools are part of Instruments of Time and Truth's dedication to fostering the audience of the future.
IT&T’s forthcoming appearances in Oxford include a collaboration with the Consort of Voices in Magdalen College Chapel on November 4th and the ensemble’s annual candle-lit Messiah in University Church on Saturday, December 16th. Future projects involve appearances with the choirs of New, Magdalen, Keble and The Queen’s Colleges and a new collaboration with the Oxford Bach Choir.