The English bass, choral conductor and pedagogue, Edward Wickham, graduated in Modern History from Christ Church, Oxford, where he was also a choral scholar. His performing interests the led him to read for an MA in Medieval Studies at King’s College, London (KCL), and did -graduate work at King's College, London while simultaneously pursuing a singing and conducting career. His research in Early Renaissance music earned him a PhD from KCL, under the supervision of Reinhard Strohm.
Since then Edward Wickham has continued to research and teach. Since 2003 he teaches at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, where he is Fellow and Director of Music and of Academic Studies in Music. He lectures and supervises on 15th and 16th century music and on the history of musical notation.
Throughout this time Edward Wickham has performed and worked with a number of amateur and professional ensembles, and has been much in demand as a choral coach, in the UK, Europe, the US and Japan. In 1992, he formed the vocal ensemble The Clerks’ Group. With The Clerks, he has made a series of ground-breaking recordings, Gaudeamus/ASV principally of Franco-Flemish Renaissance music. Those recordings have enjoyed considerable acclaim; he and the Clerks' Group have also recorded for Naxos, Nimbus, and Signum in the UK. In 2001 the ensemble completed an award-winning survey of the music of Jean Ockeghem. While Josquin, Ockeghem, and Tallis have remained major concerns for Wickham, recent projects have also included first-time recordings of polyphony by more obscure figures such Barbireau, Johannes Tinctoris and Regis. With The Clerks, Edward Wickham has pioneered the practice of singing from manuscript notation, a process which has informed many of the group’s recordings and live performances. The Clerks' Group have toured very widely, appearing throughout Europe and in America. Wickham also leads the Orlando Chamber Choir of London (not to be confused with the Orlando Consort) and the Renaissance Singers of London.
In recent years, Edward Wickham has been exploring, through collaborative and experimental projects, modes of performance which break out of the traditional Western classical tradition. With multi-media sound installations, partnerships with singers from the Middle East, and ground-breaking educational and outreach programmes, he is committed to pursuing an idiosyncratic agenda of artistic innovation and social participation. His latest project, funded by an Arts Award from the Wellcome Trust, entails an investigation of the phenomenon of ‘auditory streaming’ in complex, poly-textual music.
In addition to projects with The Clerks, Edward Wickham has been developing national and international links through his work at Cambridge, including collaborations with student choirs from China, Japan and Lebanon. Closer to home, his work in community music has included projects in schools in Cambridgeshire and Tower Hamlets, and the formation in 2008 of the first college-based children's girls choir in the UK.
Edward Wickham has summed up his attitude to music-making in a recent interview. "Those of us who have had the luck and privilege to enjoy good musical educations, sometimes content ourselves with thinking all we need to do to fulfil our role as musicians is to turn up and perform as best we can. But by working with the audiences of today (and, we hope, of tomorrow) we get the opportunity to inspire and surprise - ourselves as much as others."