"Voices immaculately balanced and sublimely paced"
Jeremy Pound, BBC Music Magazine
Representation: General Management
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. In September 2015 the ensemble gave its 2000th concert. The Tallis Scholars record exclusively for Gimell.
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, usually giving around 70 concerts each year across the globe. In 2013 the group celebrated their 40th anniversary with a World Tour performing 99 events in 80 venues in 16 countries and travelling sufficient air-miles to circumnavigate the globe four times. They kicked off the year with a spectacular concert in St Paul’s Cathedral, London, including a performance of Thomas Tallis’ 40-part motet Spem in alium and the world premieres of works written specially for them by Gabriel Jackson and Eric Whitacre. Their recording of the Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas by John Taverner, was released on the exact anniversary of their first concert in 1973 and enjoyed six weeks at number one in the UK Specialist Classical Album Chart. On 21st September 2015 the group gave their 2000th concert at St John’s Smith Square in London.
The 2016/2017 season will see the group travelling to Australia, China, USA, Russia, Japan, South Korea, as well as extensive touring around Europe and the UK.
The Tallis Scholars’ career highlights have included a tour of China in 1999 and 2014; 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 on Italian and Japanese television. The ensemble has 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. Composers they have worked with recently include Eric Whitacre, Nico Muhly, Gabriel Jackson and Matthew Martin and Owain Park. The Tallis Scholars are broadcast regularly on radio (including performances from the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013 and 2014) 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 1980 solely to record the group. 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 magazine’s Record of the Year award, the first recording of early music ever to win this coveted award. In 1989 the French magazine Diapason gave two of its Diapason d’Or de l’Année awards for the recordings of a mass and motets by Lassus and for 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. The Tallis Scholars were nominated for a Grammy Award in 2001, 2009 and 2010. In November 2012 their recording of Josquin’s Missa De beata virgine and Missa Ave maris stella received a Diapason d’Or de l’Année and in their 40th anniversary year they were welcomed into the Gramophone ‘Hall of Fame’ by public vote. In a departure for the group in Spring 2015 The Tallis Scholars released a disc of music by Arvo Pärt called Tintinnabuli which has received great praise. The latest recording of Josquin masses Missa Di dadi and Missa Une mousse de Biscaye was released in October 2016.
These accolades & achievements 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, Downloads or DVDs of the group, please visit their website.
Promoters please note: if you wish to include this biography in a concert programme etc, please contact Hazard Chase to ensure that you receive the most up to date version.
Email: Laura Baldwin
BBC Prom, August 2011 “Those who stayed on for the late-night Prom by the Tallis Scholars had the benefit of the evening’s most compelling experience…. Inspiring and deeply moving” The Telegraph, *****, August 2011
“One of the biggest audiences for a late-night prom I’ve ever seen… The 12 singers of the Tallis Scholars understand this musical world as well as anyone can today. They floated the long-limbed lines of the polyphony with unaffected directness, while Phillips shaped them in a perfectly understated way, with the Albert Hall’s resonance for once adding bloom rather than blur to the textures.” The Guardian, August 2011
“My most moving experience of this year’s Proms so far. Bar none.”
“It all went to show once again that Peter Phillips and his Scholars have perfected the art of Renaissance sacred music, and that smaller ensembles can take on the Albert Hall and leave us spellbound.” Bach Track, August 2011
The Tallis Scholars directed by Peter Phillips. The Missa Corona spinea is a kind of treble concerto, packed with mind-blowing sonorities. If ever there was music to exemplify Shakespeare’s ‘Music of the Spheres’, it is here, and especially in the two ecstatic treble gimells. The first performance, probably in front of Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey, must have been an astonishing occasion.
Pärt – TINTINNABULI
It is with great pleasure that Gimell present their tribute to Arvo Pärt in his 80th year. Tintinnabuli (from the Latin for ‘bell’) is the compositional style created by Arvo Pärt which informs every work on this recording. In all my searchings for inspiring contemporary music I have not come across anyone to rival him.
Tavener – IKON OF LIGHT
Ikon of Light comes steeped in the traditional soundscape of Orthodox worship and is timeless in its musical response to the idea of an icon opening a window on eternity. It was commissioned by The Tallis Scholars
Jean Mouton – MISSA DICTES MOY TOUTES VOZ PENSÉES
The Tallis Scholars directed by Peter Phillips. Mouton was routinely compared in his lifetime to Josquin on account of his astonishing compositional technique.