Elizabeth Kenny is one of Europe's leading theorbo and lute players. In twenty years of touring Kenny has played with many of the world’s best period instrument groups, including Les Arts Florissants and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
Elizabeth Kenny is one of Europe’s leading lute and theorbo players. Her playing has been described by the musical press as ‘incandescent’, ‘radical’ and ‘indecently beautiful’. She has an extensive discography with chamber ensembles across Europe and the USA, including Phantasm, and with singers such as Ian Bostridge, Mark Padmore, Robin Blaze and Nicholas Mulroy. In 2016 Shakespeare Songs with Bostridge won the Grammy Best Solo Vocal Album Award; and in 2017 Phantasm and Kenny won the Gramophone Early Music Award for Lachrimae or Seven Tears. She has devised several critically acclaimed recordings of solo music from the ML Lute Book, and songs by Lawes, Purcell and Dowland.
In 2007 Kenny founded Theatre of the Ayre, whose various touring projects have sealed a reputation for an innovative and improvisatory approach to seventeenth-century music. Their collaboration with members of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Lutes and Ukes, converted surprising numbers of people to the genre-crashing possibilities of plucked instruments in concerts across the UK and Germany.
In twenty years of touring Kenny has played with many of the world’s best period instrument groups, including Les Arts Florissants and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. She continues to devise and direct theatrically inspired programmes in other contexts, such as Le Malade Imaginaire and A Restoration Tempest. She has given premiere performances of solo and chamber pieces by Sir James MacMillan, Benjamin Oliver, Heiner Goebbels and Rachel Stott.
Kenny taught for two years at the Universität der Künste Berlin, was Professor of Musical Performance at the University of Southampton from 2004 to 2018 and has been Professor of Lute at the Royal Academy of Music since 1999. She is currently Director of Performance and Performance Studies in the Faculty of Music, Oxford University.