Director: Peter Phillips
“Anyone familiar with Renaissance music knows that this group has attained superstardom among its ilk” — The Boston Globe
“The rock stars of Renaissance vocal music” — New York Times
The Tallis Scholars were founded in 1973 by their director, Peter Phillips. Through their recordings and concert performances, they have established themselves as the leading exponents of Renaissance sacred music throughout the world. Peter Phillips has worked with the ensemble to create, through good tuning and blend, the purity and clarity of sound which he feels best serve the Renaissance repertoire, allowing every detail of the musical lines to be heard. It is the resulting beauty of sound for which the Tallis Scholars have become so widely renowned.
The Tallis Scholars perform in both sacred and secular venues, giving around 70 concerts each year across the globe. In 2008-2009 the group will tour the USA twice including a visit to Mexico, tour Japan, and appear at festivals and venues across the UK and Europe including in their own Choral Series at Cadogan Hall. In July 2009 The Tallis Scholars will team up with the National Centre for Early Music and the BBC in a nation-wide composition competition, designed to encourage young people to write for unaccompanied voices. The winning entry will be part of the concert which will open the 2009 York Festival, alongside Taverner’s spectacular Missa Corona spinea.
The Tallis Scholars’ career highlights have included a tour of China in 1999, including two concerts in Beijing; and the privilege of performing in the Sistine Chapel in April 1994 to mark the final stage of the complete restoration of the Michelangelo frescoes, broadcast simultaneously on Italian and Japanese television. The ensemble have commissioned many contemporary composers during their history: in 1998 they celebrated their 25th Anniversary with a special concert in London’s National Gallery, premiering a Sir John Tavener work written for the group and narrated by Sting. A further performance was given with Sir Paul McCartney in New York in 2000. The Tallis Scholars are broadcast regularly on radio (including performances from the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in both 2007 and 2008) and have also been featured on the acclaimed ITV programme The Southbank Show.
Much of The Tallis Scholars reputation for their pioneering work has come from their association with Gimell Records, set up by Peter Phillips and Steve Smith in 1981 solely to record the Scholars. In February 1994 Peter Phillips and the Tallis Scholars performed on the 400th anniversary of the death of Palestrina in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, where Palestrina had trained as a choirboy and later worked as Maestro di Cappella. The concerts were recorded by Gimell and are available on both CD and DVD.
Recordings by the Tallis Scholars have attracted many awards throughout the world. In 1987 their recording of Josquin’s Missa La sol fa re mi and Missa Pange lingua received GRAMOPHONE magazines Record of the Year award, still the only recording of early music ever to win this coveted award. In 1989 the French magazine DIAPASON gave two of its coveted Diapason d’Or de l’Année awards for recordings of a mass and motets by Lassus and of Josquin’s two masses based on the chanson L’Homme armé. Their recording of Palestrina’s Missa Assumpta est Maria and Missa Sicut lilium was awarded GRAMOPHONE’s Early Music Award in 1991; they received the 1994 Early Music Award for their recording of music by Cipriano de Rore; and the same distinction again in 2005 for their disc of music by John Browne which was also nominated for a Grammy. Their most recent disc, featuring the music of Josquin, received exceptional reviews and was awarded a further Diapason d’Or.
These accolades are continuing evidence of the exceptionally high standard maintained by the Tallis Scholars, and of their dedication to one of the great repertoires in Western classical music. For the latest opportunities to hear the Tallis Scholars in concert, or for more information on how to purchase CDs or DVDs of the group, please visit the Gimell Records website. Here you will also find details of how to register for free e-newsletters, purchase gift vouchers for items available on the website, and news of forthcoming releases and occasional special offers.