The Marian Consort

Vocal Ensemble

At a glance

The Marian Consort

Vocal Ensemble

Exquisite...the ensemble sings with eloquence and expressive finesse
The Sunday Times

http://www.marianconsort.co.uk/

The Marian Consort is a Gramophone Award-nominated and internationally-renowned early music vocal ensemble. Under its founder and director, Rory McCleery, the ensemble has given concerts throughout the UK and Europe, features regularly on BBC Radio 3, and is a former ‘Young Artist’ of The Brighton Early Music Festival.

Biography —

Taking its name from the Blessed Virgin Mary, a focus of religious devotion in the sacred music of all ages, The Marian Consort is a Gramophone Award-nominated and internationally-renowned early music vocal ensemble, recognised for its dynamic freshness of approach and innovative presentation of a broad range of repertoire. Under its founder and director, Rory McCleery, this ‘astounding’ ensemble has given concerts throughout the UK and Europe, features regularly on BBC Radio 3, and is a former ‘Young Artist’ of The Brighton Early Music Festival.

Known for its engaging performances and imaginative programming, the group draws its members from amongst the very best young singers on the early music scene today. They normally sing one to a part (dependent on the repertoire), with smaller vocal forces allowing clarity of texture and subtlety and flexibility of interpretation that illuminate the music for performer and audience alike.

Their repertoire encompasses the music of the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries with a particular focus on the exploration of lesser-known works, often bringing these to the attention of the wider public for the first time. The Marian Consort is also a proud exponent of contemporary music, juxtaposing latter-day pieces and Renaissance works in concert in order to shed new light on both. As part of this commitment to new music, the group has commissioned works from several leading British choral composers, including Cecilia McDowall, Matthew Martin and Cheryl Frances-Hoad.

The Marian Consort is also committed to inspiring a love of singing in others, and has led participatory educational workshops for a wide range of ages and abilities.

The Marian Consort often collaborates in performance and recording with a variety of vocal and instrumental ensembles: recent project partners have included the Carducci Quartet; the Choir of Merton College, Oxford; the Berkeley Ensemble; the Rose Consort of Viols; the Monteverdi String Band; and Ludus Baroque in repertoire ranging from Byrd, Parsons, Bach and Monteverdi to Arvo Pärt and Michael Berkeley.

Together, the members of The Marian Consort perform across the UK and Europe: recent highlights have included recitals for Aldeburgh Music, the Tage Alter Musik Regensburg and the Festival de Música Antiga Valencia; concerts for the Leipzig A Cappella Festival and the St Magnus International Festival; and performances at the Festival Alte Musik Knechtsteden and the British Academy.

The Marian Consort has to date released eight CDs with Delphian Records, all of which have met with considerable critical acclaim. Their discs have been praised for ‘performances that glow with golden purity and soul’, ‘precision and pellucid textures’, ‘impeccable polish and blend’ and for ‘drawing the listener in by quiet persuasion and musical intelligence of the highest order’. Their latest recording, ‘Music for the Queen of Heaven’, a collection of contemporary Marian anthems including several commissions, was released in October 2017 and has been universally lauded, with reviewers describing it as ‘deliciously outstanding’, ‘a glorious vocal coup-de-theatre’ and ‘flawless throughout’.

The Marian Consort is also a pioneer of innovative and exciting projects which move beyond the confines of the traditional concert in order to bring the music of the past to today’s audiences. These have included several collaborations with musician and playwright Clare Norburn, whose concert drama ‘Breaking the Rules’ The Marian Consort has performed at Festivals across the UK, including Lichfield, Buxton, Cheltenham, Bath, and most recently ‘Baroque at the Edge’ at LSO St Lukes, where it garnered five-star reviews. This success has led to another joint project, ‘Galileo’ on the life of the great philosopher, musician and scientist, which this time also involves The Monteverdi String Band.

Plans for 2018 include performances and workshops centred on the music of Thomas Tallis, as part of a collaborative educational project in partnership with choirs throughout the UK; a residency at the Cambridge Early Music Festival; The Marian Consort’s inaugural tour to the United States of America; and a major UK concert tour in celebration of the ensemble’s tenth anniversary, featuring a brand new commission from composer Gabriel Jackson. The Marian Consort is directed by Rory McCleery, a freelance singer, choral conductor and academic.

News —

Ikon Artists attract praise in Gramophone Magazine

This month, three of Ikon Arts Management’s artists feature in Gramophone Magazine. Newly-released CDs by The Sacconi Quartet, Peter Donohoe and The Marian Consort all attract high praise, and The Sacconi Quartet feature again in ‘Critic’s Choice’. Read more

More news

Photos —

Credit Ben McKeeDownload - 7 MB
Credit Ben McKeeDownload - 8 MB

Reviews —

fluid, vivid and, crucially, daring

The Guardian (for Breaking the Rules)

performances that glow with golden purity and soul

The Scotsman

exquisite…the ensemble sings with eloquence and expressive finesse

Sunday Times

the performances are models of discretion and musical taste, every texture clear, every phrase beautifully shaped

The Guardian

the works are mellifluously performed by The Marian Consort, who shape the sinuous polyphony with winning pliability

BBC Music Magazine

sublime – sung with impeccable polish and blend

Sunday Times

drawing the listener in by quiet persuasion and musical intelligence of the highest order

The Sunday Observer

Selected Discography —

See full discography

Related Media —

Preview of ‘In Sorrow’s Footsteps’

The Marian Consort celebrates its tenth anniversary with a recording of music old and new. Allegri's Miserere and Palestrina's Stabat Mater are paired with contemporary re-imaginings of these texts by James MacMillan and Gabriel Jackson, the latter a world premiere recording. View on YouTube

Gramophone podcast - Music for the Queen of Heaven

In this Gramophone Podcast, the director of the Marian Consort Rory McCleery talks to Editor Martin Cullingford about the ensemble's latest recording, 'Music for the Queen of Heaven', an album of modern Marian motets, many of which were commissioned by the choir.

Downloads —

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Contact —

Name

  • Hannah Marsden

Telephone

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