The School of Night

photo: Ewa Czarska

The Schoole of Night Berlin was founded in 2005 and it is a group of musicians who concentrate on the vast repertoire of the English lute song  with a special emphasis on the works of the English composer and lutenist John Dowland. The artists of The Schoole of Night are renowned early music performers in Germany as well as abroad who are very often guests on the biggest music festivals , in various radio stations (Deutschlandradio Kultur, Deutschlandfunk, Polskie Radio Program II) or TV programmes (among others: SWR, Nedrland1, Telewizja Polska).
The founder, Frank Pschichholz is a lutenist who has worked  on this repertoire for over fifteen years now and especially the compositions of John Dowland are a great inspiration for him in his entire artistic work.
The Schoole of Night Berlin cooperates also with theatre artists, visual and movement artistic groups and together they attempt to recreate the ideas and the atmosphere of Elizabethan England with its melancholy, platonic ideas with music present in all the spheres of human life, its politics and secrets. The aim of this work is to uncover the stories that lie behind Dowland’s song collections, the story of queen Elizabeth and the Earl of Essex, two most powerful people of the age, the stories of love, betrayal, court, politics, despair and death.
The Schoole of Night Berlin performs their programmes both in Germany and abroad. In 2011 together with Teatr Cinema from Michałowice in Poland and its artistic director Zbigniew Szumski they have worked on a theatre spectacle Hotel Dieu, combining it with music of John Dowland’s Second Booke of Songes and  selected songs of Karol Szymanowski. This cooperation led them to Tokio where they performed it together with Kaitaisha Theatre. They have already played on the festival The Song of Our Roots in Jarosław in Poland, during Banchetto Musicale in Vilnius (Lithuania) as well as on numerous festivals and concert series in Germany. The concert from the festival in Jarosław has recently been broadcast by Polskie Radio Program II in the series Filharmonia Dwójki.

Although The Schoole does invite various musicians to work on projects together, the core of the group are MARIA SKIBA – soprano & FRANK PSCHICHHOLZ – lute and artistic direction

FRANK PSCHICHHOLZ studied classical guitar with Klaus Hempel and lute with Nigel North and Stephen Stubbs. After his studies he has taught lute and historical performance practice and plucked instruments in Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy” in Leipzig nad also at the Music Accademy in Wrocław in Poland.
His concert activities brought him to Russia, Scandinavia, Poland, Japan and the United States. He worked for recordings for NDR, SWR and Deutschland Radio Kultur and also for CD productions with enselbles such as Tölzer Knabenchor, Musikalische Compageney, Lautten Compagney, Ensemble Anima Mea, Bella Discordia.

Frank Pschichholz is a founder of the ensemble The Schoole of Night Berlin and a founder and leader of The Foscarini Experience. He concentrates on compositions of Giovanni Paolo Foscarini and John Dowland. A CD with music of Foscarini – Bon Voyage – has recently been released by RAUMKLANG.

MARIA SKIBA studied cultural anthropology at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow and at the same time she was busy singing and exploring the realm of music, vocal studies at Royal Conservatory in The Hague (The Netherlands) followed. There she studied singing with Marius van Altena and Rina Cornelissens and obtained a Masters Degree in early music singing.

Her musical and anthropological interests led her to music of the middle ages, renaissance and baroque with its richness of philosophy, cultural context and poetry. Later she discovered Lieder with fortepiano and now she is working more and more on contemporary repertoire. Maria specialises in historical performance practice with an emphasis on music from the 16th and 17th centuries. She is especially interested in the subject of women in music and with the ensemble Bella Discordia she explores the music of Barbara Strozzi, Francesca Caccini and other women composers/singers of the early 17th cent. Italy.

In her repertoire she has major oratorio works of the baroque and the classical, baroque operas as well as Lieder and contemporary and experimental pieces. Because of the quality of her voice and singing she has been invited to perform complex polyphonic or contemporary works. Since 2007 she has lived in Berlin as a freelance musician and singing teacher, working on her favourite repertoire with various early music and contemporary music ensembles and musicians, both in Germany and abroad. In her work she focuses on 17th century (ensemble Bella Discordia) as well as English lute songs (with the lutenist Frank Pschichholz she has performed numerous concerts with the complete works of John Dowland). Since 2009 she has continuously worked on contemporary Lied repertoire with a special emphasis on Polish repertoire (Karol Szymanowski, Mieczysław Karłowicz etc.)

As a sought after soloist she sings regularly with early music ensembles such as Bella Discordia, Weser Renaissance Bremen (Manfred Cordes), Cappella Sagittariana Dresden (Norbert Schuster), Instrumenta Musica Dresden (Ercole Nisini), Rheinische Kantorei (Hermann Max). She collaborates also with groups such as Cantus Cölln (Konrad Junghänel) or Musica Fiata Köln. She performs solo recitals with lute, baroque harp or fortepiano.

She has taken part in numerous CD, radio and tv recordings, opera and theatre productions as well as research projects resulting in a musical performance. Since 2014 she is a member of the international research project Marrying Cultures: Queens Consort and European Identities 1500-1800.



Other members of The Schoole of Night: