About Us

Norwich Baroque was founded in 2006 by a group of friends with a passion for early music and forgotten local gems.  Under the quiet yet visionary leadership of the late Jane Slocombe, the group gradually built relationships with some of the brightest stars in the field, beginning with the patronage of countertenor Michael Chance.
They are now a professional ensemble with strong ties both to the region and to other artists on the national and international early music scene, under the joint artistic direction of violinist/violist Jim O’Toole and cellist Kate Bennett Wadsworth. In addition to regular performances with the Norwich Cathedral Choir around Christmas and Easter, they run a series of concerts in more intimate historic spaces around Norwich, curating programmes that help to bring the city’s incredibly rich history to life.
Recent collaborations include a programme linked to the Norwich Castle Museum’s exhibition on the last voyage of the Gloucester, a famous warship that sank off the coast of Great Yarmouth in 1682 and was only recently discovered; an educational project with the Norwich School Choral Society, exploring historical performance of 18th- and 19th-century music in a set of workshops and a final concert, plus a world premiere by composer Andrew Weeks; and a set of concerts with scholar-performer Emily Baines, whose astonishing ornamentation on the recorder is informed by her cutting-edge research on 18th-century musical automata.
They  are grateful to their community of supporters, and in particular to the Assembly House Trust, the Statham Society of Norwich Cathedral, the Octagon Chapel, and the Friends of Norwich Baroque, for helping them to contribute to the cultural life of the place they love.


Norwich Baroque began life as the slightly unlikely off-shoot of an orchestra set up to play entirely popular and sometimes downright cheesy music. Geoff Davidson and I started Norwich Pops Orchestra in 2003 and soon found that Baroque concerts were some of the most enjoyable and popular amongst our audience. 

Violinist Jane Slocombe was heavily involved with ‘Pops’ from the beginning, spending hours with me sorting out parts, delivering them by hand, helping with setting up venues, and always – ALWAYS the purveyor of a gratefully received bottle of wine after every concert. 

In 2006, she and I finally decided to set up a separate orchestra in 2006 called ‘Norwich Baroque Orchestra’, a name that quickly lost its last moniker. 

Frankly, although Jane always talked about taking over the reins when I moved away in 2010, she was the driving force behind the ensemble right up until her untimely death in 2021. Her enthusiasm and driving force were unquenchable from the beginning and I could have never envisaged the heights the ensemble has reached thanks to her guidance, skilled administration, kind heartedness, dogged perseverance and sumptuous flapjack.

-Keith Hobday, violin and founder

Jane Slocombe
Keith Hobday
Keith Hobday