tempus fugit : time flies

the latest!

Featuring Trevor Bowes (bass/artistic concept) with:

Magda Loth-Hill & David Lopez (Baroque violins)
Oakki Lau (Baroque viola)
Rosie Moon (double bass).

& Pablo Strong (videographer/engineer)

From G.F. Handel's dramatic cantata ‘Aci, Galatea e Polifemo’ of 1708, this aria is not only an extraordinary piece of writing for the bass voice, but a hauntingly beautiful expression of the conflict and hollowness of depression.

This video is rooted in history: it’s played on Baroque instruments and recorded in Handel's own church in London. But it explores the same emotions we face in the never-ending headlines, pressures and stress of the modern world.

Ensemble Tempus Fugit is proud to collaborate with Trevor Bowes in exploring modern mental health with the music of the past.

Fra l’ombre e gl’orrori
farfalla confusa,
già spenta la face,
non sa mai goder.
Così fra timori quest’ alma delusa
non trova mai pace ne spera piacer.

Amidst shadows & horrors
the dazed moth,
with the flame already extinguished,
doesn’t know how it will ever find happiness.
Likewise, amidst its fears, my deluded soul
will never find peace, nor hope of pleasure.

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"A theatrical display of early English vocal and instrumental music combined with haunting Indian melodies... intricate costumes and puppetry…”


"Let 'Calcutta' go to all corners, and speak for diversity.”

By 1780, the East India Company had transformed Calcutta into a small English city. Musicians travelled from London to India, bringing the music of Corelli and Handel with them. Others played their harpsichords with local groups of Indian classical musicians, and transcribed Indian music into European notation.

Explore music from the streets and soirées of a young Calcutta, where performers wound melodies from many cultures into their own traditions. Ensemble Tempus Fugit melds this unusual combination of period music and Indian song with shadow puppetry, dance and drama to tell a story of a traveller making his way to the musical heart of the City of Palaces.

Repertoire includes music by Playford, Purcell, and Locke; music for sitar and voice; period transcriptions of Hindustani and Bengali songs.

Randall Scotting, counter-tenor
Debipriya Sircar, Indian classical vocalist

Jamie Akers, lutes
Sophie Creaner, early winds
Lucia Capellaro, viola da gamba
Ellen Bundy, Baroque violin
Katie De La Matter, harpsichord & creative direction
and Jasdeep Degun, sitar

Zulaiha Sheikh (DSM), Saiful Islam,
and Jabari Ngozi (Asst. Director), actors & movement

Puppets by Emily Dyble, Lori Hopkins & Amy Rowe
Design by George Chaffey

Stage direction by Francesca Bridge-Cicic

Our successful 2018 tour reached audiences in London’s Tara Arts & a sold-out Wilton’s Music Hall, Brighton’s Refugee Week & Leeds’ 2018 Opera Festival !

For future dates, watch this space…

the calcutta revival tour: origins

From our base in London, we experiment with removing the barriers between performer, audience, art form, culture - and blending different senses. How can we amplify this amazing historical music? How can we build performances of music written before 1750 as bridges to brand-new experiences? How can we reach as many people as we can?

Questions like these led us to make Calcutta, a unique theatrical show exploring period crossover between European Baroque & Indian Classical musicians in the 18th century.

After years of preparation, we revived and reinvented this show for a tour: we took an amazing cast and band to perform at the Brighton Early Music Festival on 5 November 2017, did a successful run at Tara Arts, a multicultural theatre in London, in April 2018, and took part in Brighton Refugee Week on 21 June!

August brought a sold-out show in Wilton's Music Hall, followed by a debut at Leeds 2018 Opera Festival.

We couldn't have done it without your support!


what's the history behind the project?

We created Calcutta for the Brighton Early Music Festival's 'BREMF Live Scheme'. Our research led us to a group of wives of East India Company officers in the 18th century: one, Margaret Fowkes, invited local Indian classical musicians into her front room to jam. Another, Sophia Plowden, asked a European musician friend to write down some Indian tunes they played.

This should not have worked. European and Indian Classical music are totally different musical languages. And yet it did.

That caught our imaginations. We were inspired by this early crossover between musicians, who - for a moment - were exploring one another's traditions with an equal curiosity, despite the colonial context.

So we created a story of a journey, to link all the different music together. We brought in puppeteers to help us travel over the sea. And we wove it through with our experiments with these jam session tunes, as well as crossover in the other direction (the song in our video is a British folksong set in Sanskrit in the late 18th century!)

We won sponsorship from the Arts Council in 2009, and the end result was two beautiful sold-out evenings, including one in the vast ornate space of St. Bartholomew's Church in Brighton. We were really excited to be booked there again, as well as in Tara Arts, which puts on outstanding multicultural theatre in west London.


why a revival?

Calcutta received a great response. We feel a show about early multicultural crossover is especially timely now, as controversy about diversity creeps back into the headlines. And we're excited to show how this early crossover has a direct link to our 21st-century reality.

We've also just incorporated, and are ready with more innovative concerts up our sleeves. This project is a launchpad for so much more.



in the pipeline...


Unlocking the language of German Baroque music

In eighteenth-century Germany, the musical key a piece was written in could spark all kinds of emotions. Johann Mattheson, a friend of Handel, described keys full of ‘desperate, fatal sadness’, or ‘like someone gorgeous wandering through the room’.

The acclaimed 4160Tuesdays joins Ensemble Tempus Fugit to use scents inspired by Mattheson’s descriptions to colour the keys of chamber music by Bach, Telemann, and others.

Explore your own responses to the deepened dimensions of scented music, all performed on period instruments.

Repertoire includes trio and solo sonatas by Telemann, Handel, Bertouch, Fasch & Bach

Persephone Gibbs, violin
George Clifford, violin
Katie De La Matter, harpsichord
Jonny Byers, cello

Francesca Bridge-Cicic & Lina Pettersson, dance

Featuring perfumes by Sarah McCartney of 4160Tuesdays


past programmes


Shooting the Breeze


Oonagh Lee, Baroque oboe & recorders
Jakab Kaufmann, Baroque bassoon
Alex McCartney, Baroque guitar & theorbo
Katie De La Matter, harpsichord

Not one to fall out of touch, Telemann kept up with his old school chum Fasch, his godson C.P.E Bach, and traded letters and presents with Handel throughout his life: listen in as all four correspondents finally meet in a concert of rarely-performed music for winds from Handel’s distant homeland.

Handel House, London — SOLD OUT
Fenton House, London — SOLD OUT

& St. Michael's Battersea


Shall we Dance?

A cosmopolitan collection of the music, songs, and dances found in the courts and homes of seventeenth-century England, all underpinning the story of a mod prince and his court of rocker musicians.

Arbeau: Belle qui tiens ma vie
Zanetti: Pavaniglia
Caroso: Villanella
Locke: Suite from Musick for Severall Friends
Campion: ‘Beauty since you so much desire,’ ‘Come you pretty false-ey’d wanton’
Praetorius: Branle de la Torche
Caroso: Cascarda chiara stella
Purcell: ‘Take not a woman’s anger ill’
Playford: ‘Mr. Beveridge’s Ground,’ ‘Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot,’ ‘Emperor of the Moon,’ and an Irish adaptation of ‘Stingo’