Often appears with
David Skinner has achieved equal renown as a choral conductor and a musicologist. He is a co-founder of The Cardinall's Musick and Alamire, both prominent groups in the early music field.
Skinner was born in 1964 in California and attended California State University, Fresno. He moved to Britain in 1987 to pursue a master's degree in music at Edinburgh University, and he has lived in the UK since. From Edinburgh he went on to Oxford, where he studied musicology, earning a doctorate in 1995 for a thesis on the music of composer Nicholas Ludford. He also sang in the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford and became interested in the performance of choral music. In 1989, he and a fellow Lay Clerk at Oxford, Andrew Carwood, founded the vocal ensemble The Cardinall's Musick. As the name suggested, the group specialized in English Catholic composers of the Renaissance. The pair were a productive team, with Carwood often conducting and Skinner doing research, teaching singers to perform from period notation (he continues to give classes in this subject), and making new editions of music by Ludford and others.
Skinner also served as producer for the more than 25 recordings made by The Cardinall's Musick, mostly on the ASV label. In 2005, Skinner formed a new group, Alamire, whose repertory extends back to the medieval era. That group has also recorded prolifically, for Obsidian, Hyperion, Resonus Classics, and other labels. In 2020, Skinner and Alamire released Media vita in morte sumus, an album devoted to the music of John Sheppard; the album was part of a projected 30-release series exploring English music between 1400 and 1700. Skinner has continued to teach and to practice musicology, issuing a new edition of the music of Thomas Tallis. His son, Robin Daniel Skinner, makes rock and pop music in Britain under the name Cavetown.