5 Fast Facts with Phantasm

Monday, 26 March 2018

(From left to right Laurence Dreyfus, Emilia Benjamin, Jonathan Manson, Markku Luolajan-Mikkola)

Award-winning ensemble, Phantasm, is widely recognised as the most exciting viol consort active on the world scene today. For their visit to Aotearoa, they explore rich viol repertoire, from the likes of Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, Matthew Locke and Purcell.


The best viol ensemble in the world today.

Since its formation, Phantasm won the critics’ praise internationally, thanks to their recordings and performances. Most recently they won the 2017 Gramophone Early Music award for their recording of Download: Lachrimae or Seven Tears with Elizabeth Kenny.


Laurence Dreyfus: music before words.

Musicologist, author and viol player. Laurence was born into a family of musicians, and was taught to read music before he could read English.

After studying at the Juilliard School, he moved to England in 1990 - here he decided to form a world-class consort of viols; after years of search for the right players he officially formed the Phantasm Consort in 1994.


Emilia Benjamin: a lucky hazy memory.

Emilia found her way to viol playing, thanks to fortuitous circumstances.

Interested in studying English Literature, she chose the University of East Anglia based upon a hazy memory of the campus - hazy due to the effects of her father's sleeping pills, two of which she had taken the night before her interview in a panic about not sleeping. This turned out to be a fortunate error, since at UEA Emilia was able to get involved in the music department as part of her degree”. (Source: Phantasm.org.uk)


Jonathan Manson: from farm to concert hall.

Growing up on a farm in the north of Scotland, Jonathan fell in love with the cello at the age of six – mainly because the bottom string sounded like the engine of a friend’s Land Rover – and started having lessons at the local primary school.




Markku Luolajan-Mikkola: from early music to contemporary.

Markku is interested in the exploration of music as a communication medium. In 2010 he introduced the "Home concerts" model to the Helsinki Festival; in 2012 he also performed concerts with the Finnish Baroque Orchestra, where audience members are invited to relax on a mattress, and soak in the music.



Touring NZ 30 Apr - 6 May. Find out more about Phantasm here