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Anthony Purnell was born in Bristol in 1951 and learned to play piano from the age of 5. At primary school he took up the recorder. His secondary school education was at Colstonís School, Stapleton where he learned to play the organ. At this stage he also taught himself to play classical guitar and developed an interest in composition. He went on to study History and Modern Languages at Hertford College, Oxford. His history tutor complained that he spent too much of his time playing music! He held several organist posts and wrote and performed incidental music for theatrical productions. He studied for a Post Graduate Certificate of Education at Westminster College, Oxford with music as his main teaching subject.


His first teaching post was in Nottingham and then in 1974 he moved to Kent. He was Head of Music in a Maidstone secondary school for 17 years and was also a church organist and conducted local choirs, bands and orchestras. Since 1991 he has been a freelance musician combining instrumental teaching, performing and composing.


His performing career has included conducting, accompanying and directing an early music group in which he plays a wide range of early stringed and wind instruments. Having first been a baroque specialist his interests have gradually moved back in time. At one stage he focussed on the Renaissance but now he performs mainly medieval music, often on instruments he has researched and built himself. His compositions include church anthems, concertos for young soloists, and recorder ensemble music. He has also written music for ABRSM Recorder examinations.



Accompanying folksongs on the lute




Final performance as a piano accompanist before retiring.



Performing on electric keyboard as part of a trio playing Bach.



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