About English Voices
English Voices originated as a professional choral outlet for the best of the singers leaving the pre-eminent Oxford and Cambridge college choirs. It rapidly established a reputation as an outstanding vocal ensemble of precision and passion, and has since expanded to incorporate graduates of the leading music conservatoires. English Voices embraces those who have soloist careers but still enjoy singing in ensemble.
English Voices has dedicated itself to historically-informed techniques, both in oratorio and opera; it has worked with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Freiburg Baroque, the Academie für Alte Musik Berlin, Concerto Vocale, the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées, the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, working with such conductors as Long Yu, Ivor Bolton, René Jacobs, and Gustav Leonhardt. It has performed in major international venues in Europe, America and Asia, including appearances at leading music festivals, such as Mostly Mozart in New York, the London Bach Festival, the Spitalfields Festival, and the Lufthansa Festival. English Voices has performed at the Aix-en-Provence Festival on several occasions, where performances have included Stravinsky’s Rake’s Progress and Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
English Voices was founded in 1986 by the conductor Tim Brown, then Director of Music at Clare College, Cambridge. In 2019 Richard Wilberforce, who recently succeeded Stephen Cleobury as conductor of Cambridge University Symphony Chorus, was appointed Artistic Director of English Voices
There is a theatrically at the heart of every English Voices performance, with each member telling their own story through their voices and bodies. Characterisation is paramount, and the opera and stage training of the choir’s members are employed as much in dramatising a contemporary opera, as in bringing vitality and vividness to a Mozart mass.
At the group’s core is the great British choral tradition, in which an effortless grasp of tuning, blend and ensemble are deeply ingrained in the psyches of its members. But what sets English Voices apart from its compatriot groups is a European quality, borne out of a profound respect for the other great continental choral traditions, and manifesting itself in a membership that is drawn not only from the UK but from Germany, France and Italy, as well as the Nordic and Baltic countries.
As such, English Voices can never be heard in monochrome, and whilst a performance might have moments of bright crystalline purity, these moments will be balanced in equal measure with those of rich and dark warmth. Within this unique palette there are shocking pinks and blinding vermilion, there are hazy lilacs and watery greys, and above all, there are vivid images in sound from start to finish.
English Voices wears its heart on its sleeve and puts its soul into every performance.