A pure feast for the eyes and for the ears
…the 22-member English Voices were fully its equal, beautifully tuned, balanced and sonorous.
English Voices sang with remarkable clarity
le choeur, English Voices, fait preuve d’une belle cohésion sans négliger une chorégraphie parfois complexe (ils réussissent à se mêler aux danseurs sans que l’on remarque leur différence)
In this performance under the direction of René Jacobs, English Voices made a vital contribution to its overall sonic richness…
…an outstanding young British choir, English Voices … a glorious mass of fine diction, snappy counterpoint and impressive weight at climaxes
Les choristes (excellents English Voices) ont parfaitement assimilé le travail d’un metteur en scène qui individualise la masse avec virtuosité
The richly textured effects of the divided choruses were wonderfully delivered by the high-calibre ensemble English Voices
The Ethos 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.
The History Of 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
Tim Brown - Founder
Tim Brown started his music career as alto choral scholar in the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, under the legendary Sir David Willcocks, and a layclerkin New College Choir, Oxford. This was followed by a number of years as a founder-member of The Scholars vocal ensemble. In 1979 he became Director of Music at Clare College, CambridgeUniversity, where he was an affiliated lecturer in the Faculty of Music. With the choir of Clare College he made regular overseas concert tours and many acclaimed radio broadcasts and CDs, including recordings of music by John Rutter, John Tavener, and Ralph Vaughan Williams, and collaborated with eminent international conductors, including Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Roger Norrington, Ivor Bolton and René Jacobs (with whom the choir recorded Handel’s Messiah). During his tenure at Clare College, Tim Brown also re-founded the Cambridge University Chamber Choir, with whom he gave many acclaimed concerts of Bach and Handel oratorios, and also recorded music by Christopher Tye and Samuel Barber.
His work with Clare College Choir, Cambridge University Chamber Choir and English Voices has brought Tim an international reputation as a choral trainer and conductor; he is much in demand as a guest conductor and as a choral clinician all over the world. In 2010 Tim stepped down as Director of Music of Clare College to pursue his wider conducting and choral clinician career, but remains involved in university music-makingas visiting Director of chapel music at Robinson College. In 2011 he was appointed founding artistic director of the Zürcher Sing-Akademie.
Tim Brown is a contributing editor to the complete edition of the Music of William Walton (Oxford University Press) and editor of a number of other choral editions.