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Shakespeare’s Globe announces its own record label: Globe Music


Bill Barclay, Director of Music at Shakespeare’s Globe, today announces the launch of Globe Music, a brand new record label releasing music straight from the venue’s candle-lit, indoor theatre: the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Globe Music’s first recording, Ian Bostridge and Xuefei Yang’s Songs from Our Ancestors, is released on 2 September 2016.

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse – with its intimate, candle-lit ambience and distinctive woody acoustic – has built a substantial reputation for its live music and, through the introduction of state-of-the-art equipment, enables Globe Music to capture studio and live events whilst opening up a brand new recording venue for London. The quality of the Playhouse acoustic provides a singular enhancement that gives recordings made within it a unique signature, with the studio recordings bringing the essence of this painstakingly recreated Jacobean Theatre and its music to wider, international audiences.

The label’s first release – a highly anticipated collaboration between British tenor Ian Bostridge and award-winning Chinese guitarist Xuefei Yang – is a collection of English and Chinese folk songs captured for the first time on disc. The album presents a carefully selected collection of songs spanning the past 2000 years that reflects their respective heritages, from pieces by John Dowland to Schubert and Benjamin Britten via Chinese and English folk settings, and two premieres commissioned by Bostridge and Yang by Stephen Goss and Chen Yi. Intersecting with the history of the Playhouse are folk tunes from the Ming Dynasty and five of Dowland’s most iconic songs, marking the first time Ian Bostridge has recorded this famous English material.

Globe Music is a true reflection of live acoustic music creation today, capturing the intimacy of music creation but allowing for global dissemination that maintains artists and performance at the centre of the experience.  The label will not be guided by artificially separate silos of genre, but by special collaborations and musical stories that arch across all centuries and styles. This venture from Shakespeare’s Globe complements and further expands the venue’s commitment to expanding into new musical territories including the Playhouse’s Concerts by Candlelight, musical luminaries composing for productions, new collaborations with major ensembles, hybrid music/dramatic productions and international work, all alongside digital tools such as the Globe Player and a revitalised shop.

Following this first release, Globe Music will continue to develop the label’s and the venue’s global impact and recognition of the world’s musics, with further CDs presenting the highest quality projects to reinforce the Globe’s prominence as a vanguard of originality and fresh interpretation.


Future releases from Global Music include:


  • A selection of period music from the Globe’s 2012 – 2014 Broadway and West End productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III to be released in November 2016 featuring the Musicians of Shakespeare’s Globe playing pieces by Morley, Holborne, Dowland, Gibbons, Mundy, and others, arranged by Claire van Kampen.
  • A celebration of West African music, Mali in Oak was completed during guitarist John Williams’ recent residency, which showcases an incredible collaboration between South African guitarist Derek Gripper and Nigerian kora player and cellist Tunde Jegede. The only album ever to be recorded between an acoustic guitar and an African kora, this CD features modern interpretations of classics alongside new compositions (February 2017).


Bill Barclay, Director of Music at Shakespeare’s Globe, says:

I am hugely pleased and proud to be able to announce our new record label, Globe Music, which will allow for bigger audiences than ever to experience the flickering house concert energy in our special Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. There is no better way to be launching our label than with our dear friends Ian and Xuefei for what promises to be an intimate and extraordinary release.

Emma Rice, Artistic Director at Shakespeare’s Globe, says:

‘‘Globe Music’, our very own record label, celebrates the breadth of musicality that happens at the Globe. And oh! The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse is the perfect place to record with its unique and intoxicating acoustic. Music has always been an integral part of my life and work, so it’s wonderful to see the creation of a music label that makes it possible to share this fantastic work with the wider world. Enjoy!’


For more information, please contact:

Sim Eldem, Albion Media |

Claudia Conway, Shakespeare’s Globe |


Notes to editors


Songs from Our Ancestors

Ian Bostridge/Xuefei Yang


Full track listing:

JOHN DOWLAND (1563 – 1626)

  1. In Darkness let me Dwell
  2. Come Again, Sweet Love doth Now Invite
  3. White as Lillies was Her Face
  4. My Thoughts are Winged with Hope
  5. Flow My Tears

RUAN JI 阮籍 (210 – 263 CE)

  1. Drunken Ecstasy 酒狂

BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913 – 1976)

  1. The Second Lute Song of the Earl of Essex

from Gloriana (op.53), arr. by Julian Bream

ANONYMOUS (from the Ming Dynasty, 1368 – 1644)

  1. Flowing Water 流水

FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797 – 1828)

  1. Ständchen
  2. Die Mainacht
  3. Der König in Thule
  4. An die Musik

XU CHANGJUN 徐昌俊 (b. 1957)

  1. Sword Dance 劍器


  1. Letters from Composers: Schubert
  2. Letters from Composers: Chopin

CHEN YI 陈怡 (b. 1927)

  1. Shuo Chang 說唱


Text by Chinese poets from 800 BCE – 700 CE

  1. She Threw me a Quince 木瓜
  2. Oh, You with the Blue Collar 子衿
  3. Plucking the Rushes 拔蒲
  4. Pastoral 田園
  5. In the Tavern 過酒家
  6. Lament 哀


About Globe Music

Globe Music is a new record label from Shakespeare’s Globe. An extension of our candlelit concerts, this series seeks to capture the intimacy of music-making in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London’s Jacobean-style jewel box theatre. Opening in 2014 and quickly establishing itself as a world-class chamber music venue, the Playhouse has a unique acoustic signature, captured now by Globe Music with special collaborations featuring the world’s finest musicians.

Globe Music, a play on Shakespeare’s Globe as aesthetic microcosm, seeks to collapse some of the compartmentalized monikers of the 20th century (world music, classical, jazz, etc.), since they fail to contain the eclectic passions of today’s most exciting artists. While an increasingly localised musical world is growing beyond corporate and stylistic allegiances, at the Globe ‘historically informed performance’ has begun to be fused with modern instruments, in new ensembles that enjoy few outlets outside of Shakespeare’s wooden ‘O’. Since music also plays a key role in our theatrical storytelling, this series will showcase narrative journeys, embrace interdisciplinary influences, and animate living stories through sound.

Featuring two of today’s most unparalleled and imaginative artists, Songs from Our Ancestors epitomizes our ambition, merging trajectories of history and poetic influence in a unique, thoughtful and eclectic journey that is both global and personal. Thank you for supporting our new venture; we hope you savour this special collaboration as much as we do.


About Shakespeare’s Globe

Founded by the pioneering American actor and director Sam Wanamaker, Shakespeare’s Globe is dedicated to the exploration of Shakespeare’s work and the theatre for which he wrote. Since it opened in 1997, Shakespeare’s Globe has become one of the most popular visitor destinations in the UK, at the heart of the regeneration of London’s Bankside. Shakespeare’s Globe is a UK registered charity and operates without annual government funding.

Together, Globe Theatre, Globe Exhibition & Tour and Globe Education seek to further the experience and international understanding of Shakespeare in performance. Since opening in 1997, the Globe Theatre has gained an international reputation for world-class Shakespeare, welcoming 600,000 visitors annually.


, London, WC2H 8DJ.


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