The Parley of Instruments was founded by Roy Goodman and Peter Holman in 1979 to explore the rich repertory of Renaissance and Baroque string consort music. It takes its name from some of the earliest public concerts in the world, given in London in 1676 by the violinist John Banister.
'The Parley' uses a mixture of historic instruments and exact modern copies and has assembled the first consort of Renaissance violins to be heard in modern times. Its present nucleus of six musicians, Theresa Caudle (violin and viola), Judith Tarling (violin and viola), Lisa Cochrane (viola), Jane Compton (viola), Mark Caudle (bass viol, bass violin and cello) and Peter Holman (harpsichord and chamber organ) can be augmented by distinguished colleagues such as Crispian Steele-Perkins (natural trumpet) and Paul O'Dette (lute and theorbo). The group works regularly with many famous singers and choirs, and frequently expands to form a baroque orchestra.
The Parley of Instruments tours regularly in Britain and abroad, visiting many major festivals, and has appeared twice on the British Early Music Network. In recent years it has performed in Spain, France, Germany, Holland, Poland and Czechoslovakia, and in 1988 made its American debut.
'The Parley' has made over sixty broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, including a much-praised series on Restoration theatre music and a series devoted to exploring the early seventeenth-century Anglo-German consort repertory. It has also enjoyed a long and fruitful association with Hyperion Records.
Peter Holman is an acknowledged authority on early stringed instruments and his research is constantly used by the group in its programmes and performances. 'The Parley' has given hundreds of first modern performances of pieces edited by him.