Manchester Renaissance Ensemble was formed in 2016 by students from the University of Manchester. We are a collection of musicians, both singers and instrumentalists, dedicated the accurate performance of Renaissance and early music. Based in the north west, the ensemble aims to perform four or five concerts every year, both lunchtime and evening. The concerts range from acapella choral and instrumental ensemble to solo performer in content.

The ensemble is project based and pools musicians from both the University of Manchester and Royal Northern College of Music. We are always keen to collaborate with other ensembles and performers.


Sarah Keirle is in her final year at the University of Manchester, focusing on electroacoustic composition, sound design and performance in both viola and voice. She is heavily involved in new music within and outside the University, singing and playing compositions by undergraduate and postgraduate students in a variety of venues. Sarah is also a member of this year’s Genesis Sixteen choir, learning ensemble singing under The Sixteen’s Harry Christophers and Eamonn Dougan.



Musical Director

RoryJohnstonHeadshot2Rory Wainwright Johnston (b.1993) is a conductor, composer, tenor and pianist from Bradford-on-Avon near Bath. Rory read Music at the University of Manchester, graduating in 2016 with a first class honours degree. He is staying on at the University to work towards a MusM Masters degree in Instrumental Composition with Camden Reeves.

During his time at as an undergraduate, Rory was heavily involved with the Music Society, conducting both the choirs (University Chorus, Cosmo Singers and Ad Solem) and the orchestras (Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Wind Orchestra and the New Music Ensemble) for his second and third years, culminating in a performance of Arvo Pärt’s Adam’s Lament for Choir and String Orchestra. In his final year he was appointed the Musical Director of the University’s Chamber Choir, Ad Solem, enjoying a successful year of concerts and recordings.

As a pianist and tenor, Rory has performed in many capacities. A treble in the Bath Abbey Choir from 2003-2008, his last two as head chorister, he re-joined the choir as a tenor in 2011, going on to sing in live broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and 4, as well as on the choirs CD recordings. Rory studied piano with internationally renowned harpsichordist Sophie Yates from 2003-2013, with whom he studied for his dipABRSM piano diploma. Under her tutelage Rory twice participated in piano masterclasses with Joanna MacGregor, one of which lead to a performance of Debussy on one of Rachmaninov’s pianos held at the Holburne Museum in Bath. Whilst at university, Rory studied piano for two years with Richard Casey, before focussing on conducting under the mentorship of Justin Doyle and Mark Heron.

Currently, Rory is the Musical Director of Cantores Olicanae, The Brixi Singers, The A Capella Singers and Wigan Choral Society, as well as continuing to support the University Music Society as a choral conductor whilst completing his Masters Degree. He is also the founder and Musical Director of the Manchester Renaissance Ensemble, a choir and pool of instrumentalists focused on the performance of early music.