He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, and the Royal Academy of Music in London and began his professional career as a flautist.
During his career he has performed as a flautist with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, with various ensembles and at several London theatres that include the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and National Theatre, where he would also act as music director.
Taking a major interest in music that spans the 200 years from 1550 to 1750 he became the founder of the Barlow Baroque Players followed by the Broadside Band, which performs works from this time on period instruments. With this ensemble he holds the position of music director and multi-instrumentalist and together they have been heard on many recordings that include the Edison Award winning The Beggar’s Opera, which featured Sarah Walker and Bob Hoskins.
Other recordings he can be heard on are Italian Dances Around 1600, Danses Populaires francaises et anglaises and Songs and Dances from Shakespeare with the Broadside Band and Songs of Chivalry with the Martin Best Consort .
As an author he has published the works The Enraged Musician: Hogarth’s Musical Imagery, Flute and Guitar Duets Vol. 1 and II and The Cat & The Fiddle: Images of Musical Humour from the Middle Ages to Modern Times.
From 1986 he was the Music Director for the London Contemporary Dance School where he stayed until 1999 using his vast knowledge in historical English dance. He has been heard broadcasting as well as producing for the BBC on the subject of English music from Shakespearean times and can also be heard in many lecture halls throughout the world.
In the movies his work has featured in The Beggar’s Opera, The Clandestine Marriage and also as a composer for The Life Story of Baal.