The American-born lutenist Jacob Heringman studied with Jakob Lindberg at the Royal College of Music in London, and later with Pat O'Brien in New York.
Based in England since 1987, he has established himself as one of the world’s most respected and most innovative solo lute players, and as a much sought-after ensemble player performing regularly throughout Europe and North and South America, and making many CD and radio recordings of medieval and renaissance music with leading English ensembles, including The Rose Consort of Viols, Fretwork, Musicians of the Globe, The Kings Singers, The New London Consort, Virelai and The Dufay Collective.
As a continuo player, Jacob Heringman performed and recorded with The King's Consort, The English Baroque Soloists, The Parley of Instruments and The Taverner Consort, among others. In 1993, he left the continuo circuit to focus on renaissance solo and ensemble projects.
Jacob's playing is also to be heard on the soundtracks of many Hollywood films (including Harry Potter III , Kingdom of Heaven, Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, and, most recently, The Hobbit: an unexpected journey), and occasionally on pop albums (most recently, Joni Mitchell's Travelogue).
As a soloist, Jacob released his first CD, Holburns Passion: music for lute, cittern and bandora by Anthony Holborne, on the ASV label in 1998. This disc was chosen by Gramophone Magazine as one of the best CDs of 1999, and given a rosette and three stars in the Penguin CD guide.
Early Music: "an unusual disc combining sparkling virtuosity with carefully paced musicianship".
Black Cow: lute music by Valentin Bakfark and Matthaeus Waissel was Jacob's first disc for Robert Fripp’s DGM label.
Renaissance Magazine: "a dedicated, disciplined, and courageous talent".
Josquin Des Prez
His second, the first lute CD ever to be devoted to the music of the great Josquin Des Prez, was released in the summer of 2000, and has received numerous superlative reviews, noteably in Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine. It had already attracted attention and a cover story in Early Music Today even before its release.
Goldberg: "Heringman’s playing, recorded with vivid immediacy, is both musically sensitive and technically highly accomplished. Strongly recommended."
Jane Pickeringe's Lute Book
Jacob’s fourth solo CD is on the new AVIE label; entitled Jane Pickeringe’s Lute Book, it was released in June of 2002, and has also been highly acclaimed in the music press.
Music Week: "It is impossible not to marvel at the dexterity of Heringman's finger work and very easy to be convinced by his inspired phrasing and winning sense of spontaneity."
The Independent: "Deliciously wanton yet sensitive playing".
The Art of the Lute Player
A fifth, entitled The Art of the Lute Player, was released in October 2002. This disc is a compilation of material from the first three solo CDs, plus solo tracks from the ASV Milan and Mudarra albums made with the singer Catherine King (see discography page).
Gramophone: "The supple expressivity of the performances reflects Heringman’s love of the music. What more is there to be said, other than to urge anyone with an interest in this small but very lush musical pasture to buy it without delay."
The Siena Lute Book
Jacob's sixth and latest solo CD is now out on AVIE (0036), released in the spring of 2004. Click here to hear samples.
The American Record Guide: "Heringman brings this music to life with wonderful playing that is intimate, playful, and bold by turns."
Goldberg: "an important recital"
Jacob has given solo recitals throughout Europe and in North America. In recent years, he made numerous tours of the USA and Canada performing both the Josquin and Pickeringe programmes.
As an accompanist, Jacob Heringman has performed and recorded lute songs with Emma Kirkby, Michael Chance and Barbara Bonney, among others. He is also half of a duo with the mezzo-soprano Catherine King, with whom he has toured extensively and recorded four lute song discs for ASV and Linn, all of which have been greeted with high praise from reviewers. One of these, entitled Airs de Cour, for which the duo was joined by the tenor Charles Daniels, was voted one of the top CDs of 1999 by both Gramophone and the BBC Music Magazine. Recently, Jacob has been performing duo recitals with the soprano Faye Newton.
In 1990, Jacob founded the group Virelai with viol player Susanna Pell, singer Catherine King, and flute-player William Lyons. Virelai specialises in music of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, with occasional forays into modern music. Virelai has made three CDs for Virgin, and a BBC Music Magazine cover CD. A CD of specially commissioned modern settings of renaissance love poetry, entitled Sad Steps, was released by Riverrun Records in 2002.
Recent and currently ongoing projects, all of which reflect Jacob's increasing interest in improvised and semi-improvised music, include
--co-writing music and performing in an extensively touring production with the French dance company Systeme Castafiore, which has travelled around France and gone as far afield as Lithuania, Cyprus and China;
--performing in the Cheltenham Festival with the Iraqi 'ud player Khyam Allami;
--a duo with the Palestinian 'ud player Adel Salameh, exploring the shared heritage of the lute and the 'ud;
--regular exploratory sessions exploring common ground with gifted young folk musicians Will Pound and Emily Askew
--regular concerts with John Potter's Dowland Project; a duo with the vihuela player Ariel Abramovich; touring and recording programmes of "circular music" as Pellingmans' Saraband with his wife, Susanna Pell.
Jacob teaches at Newcastle and York Universities. He is in demand as a teacher at various Lute Society and other early music summer schools, including the HISS Summer School, the American Lute Society's courses in Vancouver, Cleveland and Amherst, the UK Lute Society's course at Benslow Music, and Musica Antiqua's course at the Cambridge Early Music Summer Schools.
The Alexander Technique is another important strand of Jacob's life and work. In 2001, he completed the three-year full-time Alexander Technique teacher training course at The Alexander Technique Studio in London, run by Karen Wentworth, and is now a qualified teacher of the Alexander Technique certified by the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT). Jacob has found principles of the Technique to be indispensible in his music-making and teaching.
Jacob is married to Susanna Pell, formerly of Fretwork and the Dufay Collective, and they live on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales with their young daughter, Edie.