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, Gabriel Jackson 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 concerts in the Bascule Chamber underneath London’s Tower Bridge for the Thames Festival; a debut performance in Estonia at the 24th Kuressaare Chamber Music Days; a residency at the Cambridge Early Music Festival; a collaborative concert of Handel, Dowland and Purcell with {oh!} Orkiestra Historyczna as part of the Misteria Paschalia Festival, broadcast on Polish National Radio; and an ongoing tour throughout the UK in celebration of the group’s tenth anniversary. The Marian Consort are due to make their inaugural tour to the United Stated of America in October 2018.

The Marian Consort has to date released nine 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 disc, ‘In Sorrow’s Footsteps,’ featuring the world premiere recording of a major new setting of the Stabat Mater by Gabriel Jackson, has received several five-star reviews, with Gramophone Magazine commenting that ‘carefully paced and shaped by the group’s director Rory McCleery, this feels like a modern classic in the making, sensitive and endlessly responsive to the text.’

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 2019 include revival performances of ‘Breaking the Rules’; concerts in Warsaw and Zamora; and a recital at the Holy Week Festival at St John’s Smith Square. The Marian Consort is directed by Rory McCleery, a freelance singer, choral conductor and academic.

News —

The Marian Consort to Make Their Estonian Debut

The Marian Consort will make their Estonian Debut in Kuressaare this Thursday, 02 August, as part of the 24th Kuressaare Chamber Music Days Festival. The programme, entitled ‘Pater Peccavi,’ explores music of mourning from Renaissance Portugal and includes works by Estêvão de Brito, Duarte Lobo, Estêvão Lopes Morago, Thomas Tallis, and more. 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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