Monday, 1 January 2002
The Sixteen - choral projects
After thirty years of worldwide performance and recording, The Sixteen, a British group founded and conducted by Harry Christophers, is recognised as one of the world's leading ensembles in its field. Comprising both choir and period-instrument orchestra, The Sixteen has gained a particular reputation for performances of early English polyphony, Renaissance, Baroque, early Classical and 20th Century music.
An outline of the choral projects, past and present, being carried out by The Sixteen with the support of the Genesis Foundation is below:
Genesis Sixteen - Voices of the Future
Genesis Sixteen is The Sixteen's new training programme which aims to nurture the next generation of talented young voices and specifically to bridge the gap from student to professional practitioner.
This is the UK's first fully-funded choral programme for young singers and the idea is to identify and nurture students with exceptional musical ability and the potential to become professional ensemble singers, an area in which The Sixteen is internationally renowned. Routes into the world of professional choral singing are reducing in the UK, not least because Oxford and Cambridge choral scholarships are only available to those who obtain the very highest examination grades, and music conservatories still tend to tailor their training towards solo careers.
During the course of a year, a series of intensive weekend and week-long courses for singers will be led by key artists from The Sixteen, including founder and conductor Harry Christophers. A unique partnership between The Sixteen and the Genesis Foundation means that the participants will receive a bursary for UK travel, accommodation and board costs while participating on the scheme's four courses, around the UK.
"Our priority is to identify the next generation of ensemble choral singers and to give them the opportunity to train at the highest level. We are delighted that the generosity of the Genesis Foundation has made this possible." - Harry Christophers
London: 30 August - 5 September 2012
Manchester: 2 - 4 November 2012
London: 8 - 10 February 2013
Oxford: 15 - 21 July 2013
The courses offer participants comprehensive training in the fundamental principles of consort singing, with an emphasis on ensemble, tuning and vocal blend, as well as introducing them to a variety of styles and periods of music.
To help applicants to prepare for this training programme, they are recommended to attend choral courses such as the Eton Choral Course which provides vibrant vocal training and choral experience to enthusiastic young singers aged between 16-20. Many of these singers are invited to sing for the Rodolfus Choir and go on to have very successful careers as professional singers. For those aged between 8-15, there exists The Junior Choral Course.
To learn more about Genesis Sixteen, please visit The Sixteen's website.
Music for the Spanish Mystics
Composers Ruth Byrchmore, Tarik O'Regan and Roderick Williams were commissioned by the Genesis Foundation to write music to poetry of the Spanish Mystics St.Teresa of Ávila and St.John of the Cross. Harry Christophers and The Sixteen premiered their new works in a free concert at St James's Church on 14 June 2011 at 7.00pm. This concept built on the success of the Padre Pio concert in 2008 which featured setting of a Padre Pio prayer by James MacMillan, Roxanna Panufnik and Will Todd.
Photos from the event and the post-concert reception at the Spanish Ambassador's residence are available here.
Padre Pio Premieres
In June 2008 at Westminster Cathedral, one of the largest ecclesiastical buildings in the UK, The Sixteen gave premieres of three works commissioned by the Genesis Foundation, each a setting of Padre Pio's Prayer After Communion, Stay with Me Lord; the three composers were Roxanna Panufnik (whose Westminster Mass, commissioned by John Studzinski, was premiered in Westminster Cathedral in 1998), Will Todd and James Macmillan. Pope Benedict XVI has said that: "Sacred polyphony constitutes a heritage that should be preserved with care, kept alive and made better known, for the benefit not only of the scholars and specialists but of the ecclesiastical community as a whole. An authentic updating of sacred music can take place only in the lineage of the great tradition of the past, of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony."
Westminster Cathedral was full to capacity for the premieres of the three works and The Sixteen's CD of Padre Pio Premieres, on the group's own label, Coro, subsequently became a major success. Photos from the CD launch can be viewed here. In 2009 the ensemble was named Artist of the Year at the Classic FM Gramophone Awards.