|Year of Birth:||1949|
Dame Carolyn Emma Kirkby, DBE (born 26 February 1949) is an English soprano and one of the world's most renowned early music specialists. She has sung on over 100 recordings.
Her entry in The Grove Book of Opera Singers (2008) reads:
Her uncommonly pure, crystalline voice, deployed with minimal vibrato, her natural declamation, agile coloratura and her sensitivity to words have been widely admired by interpreters of early, Renaissance and Baroque music and have served as a model for many specialists in this repertory.
Kirkby was educated at Hanford School, Sherborne School for Girls in Dorset, and Somerville College, Oxford University. Her father was Geoffrey John Kirkby, a Royal Navy Officer.
She taught for many years at Dartington International Summer School, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, as well as the Bel Canto Summer School.In 2010 she became President of Dartington Community Choir.In 1994, she was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Music) from the University of Bath.
Kirkby has made well over 100 recordings, from sequences of Hildegard of Bingen to madrigals of the Italian and English Renaissance, cantatas and oratorios of the Baroque, works of Mozart, Haydn and Johann Christian Bach. Her 1980 recording of Handel's Messiah conducted by Christopher Hogwood brought her international acclaim. The recording was later named one of the top 20 recordings of all time by BBC Music Magazine.