Biography

Hailed as “one of the country’s most outstanding vocal ensembles” (Evening Standard), Tenebrae has established itself as the chamber choir of choice for critics and audiences in the UK and around the world. Founded and directed by Nigel Short, the group blends the passion of a large Cathedral choir with the precision of a chamber ensemble to create a unique and enchanting sound, one which is dazzlingly effective in mediaeval chant as it is in contemporary works. With every performance exploiting the unique acoustic and atmosphere of each venue in which they perform with movement and light, often using candlelight as the sole means of illumination, the carefully chosen team of singers enable the audience to experience the power and intimacy of the human voice at its very best.

Formed in 2001, the group was launched to critical acclaim with a performance of Nigel Short’s own composition, The Dream of Herod. Since then they have collaborated with Sir John Tavener, Karl Jenkins, Pierre Thilloy, Alexander Levine, Will todd and Joby Talbot. Their dedication to the music of today is complemented by a commitment to the music of the past; from medieval chant to Romantic masterworks, they respond to the demands inherent in whatever they sing with equal passion and musicality.

The group has toured all over the world, extensively throughout Europe, the USA and Bermuda, performing in many renowned festivals (BBC Proms, Montreux Choral Festival, Edinburgh Festival) and tailoring their distinctive performances to many venues (Royal Albert Hall, King’s College Chapel, Lausanne Cathedral). Working with the LSO under Sir Colin Davis, the English Concert, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The English Chamber Orchestra, the Scottish Ensemble, and the Endymion ensemble, the choir have proved themselves as adept at larger orchestral works as the a cappella repertoire for which they are so well known.

Recording on the Signum, LSO Live, Warner Classics, EMI Classics, Deutsche Grammophon and Decca labels, the group has so far released eighteen albums; from Christmas carols to solemn vespers, with their recent Victoria Requiem disc winning the ‘Choral’ category of the 2012 BBC Music Magazine Awards. These revelatory performances have thrilled listeners across the world and ensured their continued position as one of the world’s favourite choirs.

Recent projects for Tenebrae include a recording of Fauré Requiem with the London Symphony Orchestra, appearances at Mayfield and Sounds New Festival in Canterbury Cathedral, a concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, an appearance at the BBC Proms, and a seven concert tour of the USA. Forthcoming engagements include a concert with the English Chamber Orchestra at Cadogan Hall and a performance in Gloucester Cathedral featuring Sarah Connolly and Bryn Terfel.

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